Black Tower Rock Climbing
|GPS:||38.653, -122.623 Google Map · Climbing Map|
|Shared By:||Jerry Dodrill on Jan 20, 2017|
|Admins:||Aron Quiter, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes|
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DescriptionBlack Tower is a secluded 130’ spire of featured rhyolite rock that stands high on the slope of Kimball Canyon, deep on the West side of Mt. St. Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Its first known ascent was in 1995 when Jared Chaney, Kurt Jensen and I (Jerry Dodrill) bushwhacked to the base and made a ground up traditional ascent up the middle of the main South face. The cracks were scary, hollow and dirty so we named the route “Never Again” and didn’t return for a couple decades. At that point Eric Berghorn and I had already realized that the steep faces of Kimball Canyon Crag made for fun sport climbing and decided to give Black Tower another look. We were surprised to find that its highly featured faces offered fun moderate climbing on grippy solid rock. Darren Wiemeyer and I came back for further reconnaissance and established several new bolt-protected routes. Wingman and Sky Raider ascend the tallest part of the face, starting on the right side of the tower and ending on a true summit spire. Corkscrew and Barrel Roll climb the steeper, shorter West face.
Gear: Bring a 60M or 70M rope and 12 draws/slings. A 70M rope will let you rappel back to the base of Wingman, but a 60 will come up short. It is possible to rappel farther to the right and reach the ground, or scramble off the top to the right.
Getting ThereFollow detailed directions for the Kimball Canyon approach on overview page. In short: Gain the lower service road and follow it about 1.5 miles to the Kimball Canyon water crossing. Ascend the steep trail up left side of the creek for half a mile until you come to the main Kimball Crag. Go to the LEFT/South side of Kimball Crag. From here a trail cuts up and left, Southwest across slope through the woods for a hundred yards, bringing you to the base of "Wingman."
Total approach time is at least an hour for a good hiker, up to 1.5 hrs. Because of the up/down nature of the approach, the hike out can feel as strenuous as the hike in. Bring plenty of water. This is a remote back-country crag with an alpine vibe. It can be frigid in the winter wind and bake in the summer sun. Black Tower receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Neighboring Kimball Crag's North Face has shade nearly all day.
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