Adventure Projects is hiring an Android engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Your recommended first/best 5 tower routes for first-time visit to area?


Original Post
Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

What 5 or so routes would you seasoned tower veterans recommend for a first-time visitor to the area who is:

- Mainly a granite climber with maybe 30 pitches of sandstone experience at Red Rocks and no real clue about Moab climbing

- Comfortable up to Yosemite .11 on good day but again no clue or idea wrt desert climbing

Assume an abiding love for all types and sizes of cracks equally - thin, wide etc love it all. Will have a week.

So if you were putting together your first trip, but with all of the knowledge you've acquired, what would you be going for? 

Mike McKinnon · · Golden, CO · Joined Aug 2003 · Points: 65

I have two:


Fine Jade - Rectory

Lightening Bolt Crack - N Six Shooter Peak

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600
Mike McKinnon wrote:

I have two:


Fine Jade - Rectory

Lightening Bolt Crack - N Six Shooter Peak

Those plus maybe Jah Man and Primrose Dihedrals seem like the slam dunk choices based on reading. Sound about right?

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450

Jah Man

C Archibolt · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 871

Not a seasoned tower veteran... I've done North Chimney of Castleton, Kor-Ingalls, Lonely Vigil, and Jah Man. That last two were my favorites so far. 

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 8,760

Of the 70 or so tower routes I've climbed, I can honestly say even the worst ones have redeeming qualities. However, if you ONLY had five days and could ONLY climb 5.11 and under, and could ONLY climb in the Moab area, I would recommend the following:

Day 1 (River Road): Ancient Art then zip over and do Infrared.

Day 2 (Castle Valley): Fine Jade & The North Face of Castleton, and if you have time, Honeymoon Chimney

Day 3 (Indian Creek): Vision Quest, Easter Island, and Learning to Crawl

Day 4 (Canyonlands): Primrose Dihedrals, and if you have time, Zeus

Day 5 (Canyonlands): Standing Rock

Garrett R. · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 40

I'm not a desert wizard, but I'd structure my trip something like this:

Day one cragging at Indian Creek, cause it's fun and to get the feel for the rock.

Day 2: Lightning Bolt Crack on North Six Shooter.

Then, in no particular order, Jah Man, Fine Jade (and might as well do a route on Castleton since you walked all the way up there).

If you can access it, many amazing looking options on the White Rim trail.


Other options: Lots of cool routes in the Bridger Jacks of Indian Creek, maybe check out Vision Quest if you want a desert wide crack experience. I also really enjoyed Lonely Vigil on Lighthouse tower, and that's a pretty easy half day if you're feeling worked or have travel constraints.

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

Killer replies thanks all. Checking out the MP pages on these, if we pull off half of them I'll be above cloud nine

Day 1 (River Road): Ancient Art then zip over and do Infrared.

Day 2 (Castle Valley): Fine Jade & The North Face of Castleton, and if you have time, Honeymoon Chimney

Day 3 (Indian Creek): Vision Quest, Easter Island, and Learning to Crawl

Day 4 (Canyonlands): Primrose Dihedrals, and if you have time, Zeus

Day 5 (Canyonlands): Standing Rock

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 897

Ancient Art is amazing but is a complete junk show with inexperienced parties and parties of 3 or many more.  Getting up super Alpine is an option but I've also had some luck with showing up very late in the afternoon when everyone is rapping off.  The route only takes an hour or two, up and down, if you're modestly efficient.

Recommendations seem good above.  My list would be:

N. Face Castleton

Jah Man

Primrose

Fine Jade

Ancient Art

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Josh Janes wrote:

Of the 70 or so tower routes I've climbed, I can honestly say even the worst ones have redeeming qualities. However, if you ONLY had five days and could ONLY climb 5.11 and under, and could ONLY climb in the Moab area, I would recommend the following:

Day 1 (River Road): Ancient Art then zip over and do Infrared.

Day 2 (Castle Valley): Fine Jade & The North Face of Castleton, and if you have time, Honeymoon Chimney

Day 3 (Indian Creek): Vision Quest, Easter Island, and Learning to Crawl

Day 4 (Canyonlands): Primrose Dihedrals, and if you have time, Zeus

Day 5 (Canyonlands): Standing Rock

Reminder: assuming a motorized approach, the last two require 4x4 high clearance to access (NPS rule) and a day permit is required for the White Rim Road. There are only 50 availble per day, shared by 4x4 and mtn bikers.

Josh Janes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2001 · Points: 8,760
Marc801 C wrote:

Reminder: assuming a motorized approach, the last two require 4x4 high clearance to access (NPS rule) and a day permit is required for the White Rim Road. There are only 50 availble per day, shared by 4x4 and mtn bikers.

Neither of these routes *require* a motorized approach or 4WD. I've done Moses & Zeus in a day hiking in from Alcove Springs. If road conditions are good, you can make it in with 2WD. Standing Rock can be done from the rim (paved road) via the Gooseberry Trail - it is a long day, but it really only hurts on the way out. Alternatively, hitch hiking around the White Rim in prime season is pretty dang easy.

Rich Brereton · · Pownal, ME · Joined May 2009 · Points: 140

Check out Holier than Thou and Bad Habit. Both low-key as good as the better known classics in the Castleton group.

Scott E · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 20

+1 for Fine Jade and Lightning Bolt Cracks

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Josh Janes wrote:

Neither of these routes *require* a motorized approach or 4WD.

Correct, but if the OP intends the motorized approach it's good for him to know the regs....

 I've done Moses & Zeus in a day hiking in from Alcove Springs. If road conditions are good, you can make it in with 2WD. Standing Rock can be done from the rim (paved road) via the Gooseberry Trail - it is a long day, but it really only hurts on the way out. Alternatively, hitch hiking around the White Rim in prime season is pretty dang easy.

Yes, almost all of the White Rim can be done in 2WD (Murphy's Hogback and Hardscrabble Hill being the exceptions, along with possible mud/flooding in the stretch along the Green from Mineral Bottom), but as of last year, the NPS now requires 4WD on the WR. They do patrol, they do check for day permits, and they do ticket.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Your recommended first/best 5 tower routes for…"
in the Southern Utah Deserts

Log In to Reply