Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Kingfisher

Colorado Northeast Ridge 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C2
Death Of American Democracy 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A3-4 X
Return of Mudzilla, The T A3
Weird Science T A4 R
Whipping Pussy Riot T A3+
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Aid, Grade V
FA: Jim Beyer
Page Views: 11,161 total · 54/month
Shared By: Ben Folsom on Oct 23, 2001
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

3 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek Details


This route is an excellent nailing line which climbs the center of the south face of King Fisher for 5 pitches. Pitch one has some thin nailing and heading right off the ground passing a couple of bolts, and then nails a good leftward arching corner. Pitch two climbs left then up into a nice right facing corner. After the corner climb up a scary mud curtain to a bad bolt and then into a tricky wide crack to the belay. The third pitch climbs 5.10 and some nailing up to a pendulum point. Pendulum right to a ledge and then nail a thin crack to the belay. There is ledge fall potential on this pitch. Pitch four climbs difficult thin cracks with thin pins and heads up to a roof which is steep and awkward. Climb the caprock for about 30 feet to a ledge. The last pitch is 5.9 wide crack climbing to the top. This route is a great, hard nailing route on one of the best lines in the Fishers. To descend, rappel the Colorado Northeast ridge route. Jim Beyer did the first ascent, solo in the late '80s.


Heavy nailing rack including aluminum heads. Pins from beaks to 4" bongs. 2 sets of cams from tiny to #3 camalot. 1 #4 camalot. Micro Stoppers and stoppers. Bring some hooks also.


Solid effort climbing tis route. I'm curious, as one who is trying to learn a trade(aid climbing) on how you go about using aluminum heads in the Fishers. It was mentioned in the gear list. I've only placed a few heads before in Yosemite and one of the key considerations was making sure the placement was as clean as possible, so the head would stick to the rock, rather than the grit. To me it seems like this wouldn't work well in the fisher towers, or on sandstone at all. Please enlighten me on the techniques and considerations. Thanks!! - Andy Wellman Oct 24, 2001
Ben Folsom
  5.10 A4
Ben Folsom  
  5.10 A4

Placing heads in the Fishers is scary. But, Cutler Sandstone what the fishers formation is, is the only kind of sandstone that I have ever gotten heads to stick in. On the fourth pitch of this route, there are like 5 or 6 head moves in a row. There are a few on the first pitch right off the ground also. Small heads don't really work, and the placement has to be a pretty good seam to get them to stick. Underneath all the dirt and mud there, the rock is pretty solid. Death of American Democracy is for the most part a clean route on really good rock, and where the head placements are, are really good grooves and the rock is clean. It takes a while to get them to initially stick, and you have to be really careful with them because it is easy to knock them loose while trying to paste them. The key is to hit them in the middle a lot to get the middle of the head to stick well before you work on the top and the bottom of them. A few years ago I climbed Worlds End on the Titan and placed 9 heads in a row. On that route there were around 20 head moves in all. Putting up a new route in Zion I tried to place some heads, and I just couldn't get them to work in the Navajo Sandstone. I'm not really sure about Wingate sandstone, I don't think I've ever tried to place them in Wingate.


Oct 26, 2001
Ben Folsom
  5.10 A4
Ben Folsom  
  5.10 A4
When I say that Death of American Democracy is a clean route on really good rock, I mean that the rock is clean. The route is mostly nailing. There aren't very many clean placements on it at all. Oct 26, 2001
3 stars? Classic? A route that has seen maybe a half-dozen ascents? I've noticed the 3-star rating given to a couple other seldom-climbed Fisher testpieces. Somehow that doesn't sound like the intention of the 3-star rating as described on this webpage. Go ahead and look up the definition of a 1-star route and it might be closer to the experience had by those who have ventured onto these routes. Nov 22, 2002
I disagree, stars are just as much a measure of asthetics, they do not account for difficulty. One man's horror show may be anothers reasonable challenge. a route like thisone follows long natural features in an asthetic position. The difficulty is apparent toeven a neophyte climber. "Classic" does not mean "easy" may be suprised at the number of ascnets routes like these actually do see. Nov 26, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I've stood at the base of this route, looking up at the curtains of mud and gently overhanging sand, trying to think of why anyone would want to climb it. Thing is, I've had pretty much the same reaction at the base of every Fischer Tower route! Face it, Fischer Tower climbers are a special breed who actually enjoy climbing what appears to be dried mud (after climbing it, you know that harder stuff lives just below the surface). The leader is continually in search of a solid placement, and the belayer continually pelted with sand and gravel (unless they are out of line or sporting an umbrella).

I have only climbed a few of the Fischer Towers, and am in no rush to return for more. It is fun to think that you have actually stood on the top of them, but the process of climbing them is actually pretty unpleasant and frightening. But for a small class of weirdos (myself included) the occasional Fisher Tower is a challenge of a different order, worth undertaking for the satisfaction of gaining a wild and exposed summit. Dec 5, 2002
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Interesting comments George, though I'd have to say that Ancient Art gets so much traffic now that I would not be suprised if it has become the most popular multi-pitch desert tower, topping even Castleton and Otto's Route. At the risk of adding to that traffic I'll opine that the route has cleaned up so much (and perhaps some bolts have been replaced?) that not only is looseness at a minimum, but the climbing has gotten easier, and what's more, the climbing moves on all the pitches are incredibly fun. I enjoyed virtually every second of the route. The rounded grooves, bulges and pebbles in the Fishers make for some very unusually free climbing (when it is possible).

p.s. While I realize that the taller aid towers are a totally different ballgame, I have designs on them too... Dec 5, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
It does seem like climbing in the Fischer Towers has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 10 years. I remember hiking around the towers in the late 80's or early 90's without seeing any climbers. I actually haven't climbed there since 1996, but even then we had to race another party to the base of the Kingfischer.

I suppose that in general the rock is much better than it appears, which is good as it appears to be dried mud. There actually isn't that much loose rock around if you mean big blocks the size of bricks or larger. It's just the surface of the rock is invariable coated with dirt and mud. I'm still amazed that Ancient Art is so popular, it would seem totally unlike anything a climber raised in gyms and sport climbing would have seen (but maybe that is why!). Also it would seem most of the reason for doing the climb is the wild corkscrew summit, and I thought sport climbers these days weren't interested in reaching the top of anything. Dec 5, 2002
Maybe your seeing more cliimbers because guys just like you have been spraying trip reports, and topo updates, and all the other crap the internet breeds. When someone can read a piece by piece, pitch by pitch description of the route, well hell...of course it seems resonable! Just more climbers everywhere! Feb 25, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Agreed, this route is probably getting climbed at least once a year now! Mar 1, 2004
if this route has only seen 6 ascents then i was probably 3 or 4. climbed in 98 99ish. the best route ive ever done if fischers. exceptional quality and line. the first pitch is one of the best aid pitches ive ever seen. was very thin and difficult. beaks off the ground then, not heads.

climb before you spray, this route is rad and hard Mar 4, 2004
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
Damn this route looks awesome, it was on my list before but I really want to climb it now that I can see what the route actually looks like. Wicked! Thanks for adding the pics and updated rack beta. Mar 7, 2009
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
Make sure you climb flawlessly and all will go well. Mar 9, 2009
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
I have a feeling it will be a while. The sundevil humbled the crap out of me this weekend. Mar 16, 2009
Hard aid route repeated in August 2015 Dec 22, 2015

More About Death Of American Democracy