Type: Trad, Aid, 4 pitches
FA: FA: Sibley and Roos 1969
Page Views: 142,700 total · 676/month
Shared By: Andrew Gram on Oct 18, 2001 with updates from Billy Simek
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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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 is by far the most popular route in the Fisher Towers, and a moderate classic. The route goes at 5.9 A0 if yarding on bolts, or can be free climbed at well protected 5.10.

P1. Climb easy 5.4 broken rock to a huge ledge. If you are free climbing the route, belay here to avoid rope drag. Climb a 4 bolt ladder to a big belay ledge at the base of a chimney. 5.10, 120 feet.

P2. Climb a really fun and well protected 5.8 mud chimney for about 90 feet to a belay on the right.

P3. Climb a short steep crack to a 3 bolt ladder. 5.7 A0 or 5.10, 40 feet.

P4. This is one of the coolest pitches in the desert. Walk 20 feet along the sidewalk(narrow extremely exposed ledge). Mantle awkwardly onto the diving board, and walk to the base of the corkscrew. Clip 4 bolts/drilled angles en route to the summit.

To descend, lower back to the diving board, and reverse the sidewalk.2 single rope raps lead to the top of pitch 1, and then make a double rope rap to the ground.


1 set of cams to 3 inches, 1 set of stoppers, first 5 tricams are nice, quickdraws. The first, third, and 4th pitches have old bolts and drilled angles.

Sam Sez

Ancient Art's Stolen Chimney is not a sport climb and should not be attempted by any climber who is not very comfortable climbing 5.10.

There are places on each pitch where if you fall you will likely die. At the very least you will be badly hurt.

The replaced bolts are nothing more than than a modern version of what the original ascent party had. They can be manipulated by people or damaged by the elements in such a way that they are not safe.

For this reason any climber attempting this route, or any other non-sport climb for that matter, should assume that their most trusted piece of protection is their ability to NOT fall. Climbing is dangerous. Its even more dangerous in the Fisher Towers. Do not approach this route with a sense that it is easy.

—Sam Lightner, Jr.


Amazing route, justifiably popular. The only real loose rock is on the 5.easy start of the first pitch and at places in the chimney (which is amazing, best chimney I've done, and more like 5.7-). I am pretty sure the chimney is longer than 90 feet, and it is definitely a double-rope rap to the top of the first pitch. Make sure to squeeze through the hole under the chockstone at the end of the chimney, it will remind your partner of all the beer he drank the night before. Nov 28, 2001
Great climb! One of the best. Be careful; last time I did this I cracked (loudly!) a rib while manouvering my fat carcass onto the diving board. Finished the route but could not climb again (or sneeze) for weeks. Descent tip: If you have two 60 meter ropes, you can rappel from the big ledge at the top of the chimney all the way to the ground, into an alcove left of the first pitch. This rappel is about 57-odd meters, so be careful! Jan 1, 2002
The best method for getting onto the diving board on the last pitch is the "jump 'n' hump" method (self explanatory). As in similar exercises, finess not force will bring about the most pleasing results. Feb 5, 2002
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
You can do this climb in 2 pitches if you use a 60 meter rope and scramble the ledgy initial section of P1. The first pitch would be a very long link-up of the chimney with both bolt ladders, however this does present a lot of rope drag if you're trying to free the second bolt ladder. After the ascent (the first time on it, we did the standard 5 pitches and 4 rappels), we were able to rap (2 60-M ropes) all the way from the "sidewalk" down to a stance left of the first pitch. From there it was an easy scramble back to the packs, making for a fast round-trip.

Yes, the rock is a bit crumbly, but the moves on every pitch were suprisingly, really fun and somewhat thought-provoking. I can't say that any of them really seemed to be 5.11, though, but erosion may have something to do with that. Feb 23, 2002
Hope I didn't sound too cavalier in the last comment. Just to clarify, the stance where the rappel ends and the ensuing scramble are low-5th class-ish; if you felt comfortable scrambling the first 5.4 section, they shouldn't be a problem. Feb 23, 2002
Casey Bernal
Wheat Ridge, CO
Casey Bernal   Wheat Ridge, CO
I would suggest to take a very light rack. The climbing is easy and the gear is only where you need it. Take a set of medium and large stoppers, and #1,#2,#3 cams. Maybe add a few hexes or tricams if you are timid. Take only 4 QDs and maybe 6 shoulder length runners. You can also just take runners and triple up 4 of them for the bolt ladders. Somewhat of a casual route with fun climbing. The crux sections are short and easy to pull through if need be. The drilled pins on the ladders are close together so a fall onto any of them should hold. The second bolt ladder has a newer second bolt which gives some confidence if you are trying to free it. Surely an unforgettable summit. Awesome.

Also- Does anyone know how long the summit block has been loose? I was noticing that if the block was pulled off could possibly cut the summit anchors. yikes be careful May 30, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
When seconding the final pitch, be careful not to have the belay rope run directly to the summit anchors. During lowering, this puts considerable sideways force on the summit block. Perhaps it is solid but I had a frightening vision of the whole thing toppling. Clip the rope to the summit anchors to you when you head to the diving board, then clip it to the anchor near here so that the rope pulls straight down on the summit anchors (my recommendation anyway). Sep 3, 2002
Ben Mottinger

Ben Mottinger    
3 stars for the position and craziness but 1 for rock quality.

I felt the first BL and last were similar in grade and easy to clip up. Sep 30, 2002
Stan Pitcher
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
A really fun route! A single 60m rope will get down from the big ledge with 2 raps. Oct 21, 2002
For the first pitch, it is possible to move left of the popular line to reduce drag. If the leader moves left immediatly from the belay ledge (between a massive boulder and the rock - a bit of a squeez) to a second spacious ledge, the line is directly below the first bolt ladder. Just a thought. Also, after the diving board it is wise to clip the side-by-side pin and bolt with a generous sling to reduce rope drag and lessen the chance of pulling the hardware right out of the rock. Mar 17, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Great route! Seemed less grubby than my ascent 8 years ago, I think all the traffic is cleaning off the route.

I discovered you can avoid the diving board belly flop by climbing below it on the left. Perhaps, however, one should not avoid this classic thrutch move. The move off the diving board is the hardest on the final pitch, I think. It's a balancy stem and there are no positive downward hand holds.

We did both bolt ladders free and I agree, I don't think either of them are 5.11. I think they are both 10ish, with the second seeming a littler harder, although shorter. I'd recommend a screamer QD or two to ease the mind of falling on those bolts. Wow, scary image of Jimmy Dunn down free soloing the second ladder!

For good summit shots a wide angle lens is recommended, 28mm or even shorter (35mm equivalent). Apr 14, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I should mention that the diving board avoidance route is possibly more terrifying than the diving board belly flop. At least, there is no pro and potential for a monster swinging fall on lead if a foothold crumbles. However it is probably only 5.6. For the final pitch itself, the leader need only take a long sling or double (as mentioned above) plus a couple QD's and maybe one regular sling. Having no fear of heights also helps. Apr 15, 2003
Super fun route and super busy. Be prepared for lots of other parties and don't be a jerk when sharing the route. On the last pitch, the 2nd bolt you clip (ignoring the old belay at the base of the diving board)looked pretty manky too me, but with the advise of the party before us, I backed it up a #3 camalot. It inspired a little more confidence. There are lots of drilled angles and bolts at the last belay. Be advised to position yourself carefully when belaying the leader on the last pitch on the off chance that they take a ride off the diving board. Apr 21, 2003
Some Beta for Someone who has never climbed the route and is planning an ascent:

  • Very Sandy, Very Dirty = Serious*P1 Easy yet Sandy feet + R. If you are free climbing P2 5.10+ or 5.11- a belay can be set up 10 ft below the first bolt, 1"-2" Cams, Cordelette Handy.*P2 Stemming very well protected for free climbing, easy aiding.P3 I used a set of double cams, 3 hand size pieces, up to a 3.5" piece and did not sew it up, but hey Jimmy Dunn solos it so whatever you are comfortable with, I suggest 6-8 shoulder slings due to rope drag. I thought it felt like 5.8 range, typical desert funk. Descent Gear, dirty climbing.P4 - 3.5" or 3" piece getting to first bolt, first bolt old star bolt, 5.2 move to clip second bolt which is new. Felt like 5.10+ face climbing very well protected again easily aided. I left all my gear at the top of P3 except 3.5" piece, some long slings and 6-8 quicks (and camera of course!).P5 - Walk the plank, sling the Head (optional), clip the first bolt(drilled angle?) then do some 5.9 climbing to old bolt, probably would not hold a high impact fall, but simply protects you for an easy step across move, clip another drilled angle over the lip, mantel or high step over and climb a move or two to the slings, clip or thread the slings then head for the coolest/weirdest summit I have ever been on.

Slings wrapped around summit are two 1" pieces of webbing which seem old to me, and a piece of old 10MM rope. If you go up please bring another piece or two of webbing or rope, these should really be replaced, my partner cleaned the route then I lowered him off the slings and he could hear them creaking. There is alot of UV beating on those slings.

Looking under the summit plate is also an eye opener, there is a lot of air.

We did a short rap from the sidewalk belay to top of the chimney, then a 195ft rap to the base.

Be careful up there, It's an adventure climb that should not be missed! Oct 5, 2003
Last time I did this route, we did it in two pitches. We soled up to the first bolt ladder and set up a belay there. Then we blasted all the way to the sidewalk. The first set of bolts is 5.9 and the second set is 5.10ish.

It's possible to rap with a single 60-meter rope. Rap from the big ledge about two thirds down the chimney to an anchor and from there rap to the ground, just barely. Dec 19, 2003
Vince Romney
Vince Romney  
Killer tower route in range for most competent trad leaders. Definitely think 5.11 is a bit over-the-top. Maybe hard 5.10, and only a couple of moves while freeing the bolt ladders. Someone commented on using a screamer or two if freeing the bolt ladders... no doubt that would have made it less sphincter constricting, they're pretty manky. Otherwise, not a bad day out even in hideous winds which drove sand into every crevice of my body. Oct 11, 2004
Rob Dillon  
FFA: Keith Reynolds & Burton Moomaw, North Carolina water-groove specialists. If these guys had put it up there'd be one bolt on each of those A0 gutters... Mar 5, 2005
Bo Johnston
Bo Johnston  
Just climbed this last weekend. 1.5 hours from rope-up to coiling the rope after the rappel. There is no climbing harder than 5.9+ on this route and the bolt ladders are really not scary at all! The crux, for me was the first move up the spire after clipping the first piton. Why is there a belay at the base of the spire?? Apr 7, 2005
John Peterson
  5.10 C0
John Peterson  
  5.10 C0
I'd say that the rating is very dependent on height, particularly the second bolt ladder. I found it easy (being tall) and my partner had a much harder time. The initial bolt ladder was similar in difficulty but both of us climbed it very differently.

We were a bit worried to hear that the first of the 3 bolts in the second ladder was an old one but it turns out you don't really make any hard moves before clipping the 2nd bolt (the new one).

The scary part is the final spire - I'd take both a #2 and #3 camalot - they both go about the same place but in this rock I'm of the "two nuts are better than one" theory.

All of the cruxes were very clean. A bit of mud in the chimney but not insecure at all.

[Hey - I can't seem to get the A0 to go away in the rating when I submit my rating! Call technical support!!! Oh - and tell your spell checker that camalot is a real word ...] Feb 19, 2006
How's this route for the second? Namely coming off the summit back to the belay.. Isn't there the opportunity for a huge swing? :-) Apr 26, 2006
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.10 A0
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
  5.10 A0
The second lowers to the sidewalk and creeps back across. You wouldn't want to fall off the sidewalk in either direction, but you would have to actively try to come off.

Its not a good route to take a rank beginner up, but any climber who is OK with exposure should be fine following it. Apr 26, 2006
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
When lowering the second off of the top back to the sidewalk, have the second clip a draw to the rope (the belayers side of the rope) and back to their harness. The belayer can keep the rope tight until the second reaches the sidewalk. As the second begins to traverse back, the belayer feeds out slack allowing the second to walk across the sidewalk while hanging onto the belayer side of the rope, without being pulled but still being somewhat supported. If they are at all nervous about swinging, I found this to be the best method.

Next time I'm up there, I need to have more jump and less hump on that diving board move. :-) The route was fast and fantastic. I don't get why anyone would want to count the sidewalk as a pitch. It seems like belaying from the diving board would be awkward and slightly unnerving while the second comes up with feet flailing. Not to mention the photo ops wouldn't be as good. May 22, 2006
George wrote ""Perhaps it is solid but I had a frightening vision of the whole thing toppling""

Gosh it sure looks like it could fall over in a few places. I remember seeing a pic in an old climbing magazine of some female climber on the top of this bizarre formation. May 23, 2006
Legs Magillicutty   Durango
Before I climbed the route, I actually had a dream that I broke Ancient Art. In my dream the last pitch was only about 10'. I wrapped my arms around it, crushed it and watched it fall to the floor below. I giggled a bit about that dream when I saw how solid that last pitch really was. May 26, 2006
Salt Lake City, UT
RoadTripRyan   Salt Lake City, UT
We did this route September 17-2007. Wild exposure on the last pitch. If you have a 70M rope, you can rap the route with that instead of taking 2-60M's. 1 set of cams, 1 set of nuts, and some trad draws is the rack we used. My more detailed trip report is here Sep 18, 2007
Aeon Aki

Aeon Aki    
Descent Beta: 2 60m ropes tied together will get you to the ground from the spacious ledge above the chimney. Oct 14, 2007
Jake Entin
Boulder, CO
Jake Entin   Boulder, CO
I submitted a picture about a two years ago that shows how the do the rap with two 60m ropes. From the big ledge above the chimney at the top of Pitch 2 it is possible to rap with 2 ropes outside the chimney. However, it's important that you rap outside the chimney otherwise your ropes will get stuck. This brings you to the ground just left of the start. (SEE BETA PICTURE ABOVE) Oct 23, 2007
Not sure this was really 5.10; ok maybe 5.10 minus. Felt worlds easier than the Easter Island bolt pitch (Bridger Jacks), which I consider real desert 5.10 face. The people I encountered on route did not even consider free climbing the bolt ladders, which is odd because the ladders are gym style bolt protected (maybe even tighter) and not hard. They are comprised of a really neat mix of cobbles and sandy little slopers and pockets. The technique was to reach up, brush, brush, brush with the fingers, then pull. By the time your second comes up, they will need to brush too. The summit is beyond words. A competent party with no crowd can summit in an hour. A competent party with 2 parties ahead can count on 6 hours and lots of trundled chimney matter to dodge. Dec 21, 2008
mtoensing   Boulder
one 70 meter will get you to the ground May 16, 2009
Mike   Phoenix
Although most of this route is marginal at best, the last pitch makes up for it and then some. The next-to-last pitch is pretty decent also. Jul 9, 2009
Amos Patrick
Estes Park
Amos Patrick   Estes Park
There is a pretty nasty death block at the top of the chimney pitch on the climbers left. It looks like a perfect flake to throw a runner over to protect the last move onto the belay ledge (I did it the first time). However, upon closer inspection you are able to wiggle the whole thing like a loose tooth. Be careful with it! If it goes, it will probably tumble down the chimney right onto the belay. I chalked a giant X on it. I am also going to add a pic of the block in the gallery with Brent happily yarding on it before we discovered it was loose. Nov 24, 2009
Green River, WY
Paully   Green River, WY
after a storm last week, a large block that used to be part of pitch 3 fell over and is looming over the chimney. It was the block that formed a crack along the arete that you could plug a cam in. It is not the block that was mentioned in the previous post. It is about 2ft by 2ft by 8ft boulder. There is now a 20ft run-out from the belay ledge to the first bolt. You are looking at probably a factor 2 fall with your rope dragging over the ridge and the new chock-stone if you pull off any of the freshly exposed cutler.
Half of the block is chocked between the arete and the boulder that was already chocked in the chimney. It looks fairly stuck there, but if it comes down there will be carnage in the chimney.
A new bolt hopefully will end up lower on the arete and maybe that boulder could be secured somehow. The climb is still a mild fisher towers experience, though. Mar 20, 2010
David A
Boulder, CO
David A   Boulder, CO
Has anybody been up the route since the block has come off? Apr 5, 2010
bheller   SL UT
Yes and it is totally casual. The boulder should be respected, but will very unlikely depart from its position, and the addition of a new bolt would be ridiculous.

If you solo the first 5.6 scramble, you can get to the sidewalk in 1 pitch with a 70m rope. Nuts, many 24" slings, 8 draws, and a single set of cams from fingers to a #3 camalot is enough gear for
anyone on this climb, even a total beginning leader. 1 70 meter rope gets you down, but one needs to use care to downclimb to the anchor at the top of the 1st bolt ladder about 10 feet- it is dirty, but not exposed nor difficult. Apr 5, 2010
Daniel Max Christiansen
Cincinnati, OH
Daniel Max Christiansen   Cincinnati, OH
getting on to the diving board was the freakiest part for me Jun 18, 2010
Laramie, WY
  5.9 PG13
Petsfed   Laramie, WY
  5.9 PG13
If you're bringing two ropes, you should rappel outside of the chimney (basically straight down the exterior of the tower) rather than down the route. Otherwise, the process of pulling the ropes risks kicking a lot of crap down onto people below. Personally, I've always done the route as two parties of two, then just hung out on the belay ledge while the second party did their summit. Then the descent is pretty well idiot proof. Just one REALLY long rappel. Aug 2, 2010
Portland, OR
NickP   Portland, OR
I found a camera at the base of the first pitch a couple weeks ago. PM if its yours.

On a different note, the climb is amazing. It's probably the best climb in the universe for the 5.10 sport leader who is getting into trad. Enjoy! Aug 19, 2010
Josh Cameron
Josh Cameron   M.O.A.B.
A wild desert adventure. Had so much fun that since noone was behind us, we climbed the summit twice. On the second pitch, whenever things get hard, think stemming. Jun 12, 2011
John Martin
Kearns, UT
John Martin   Kearns, UT
This is where they filmed a Citi commercial, the video looks great: cnn.com/video/?/video/us/20… Jan 7, 2012
Ryan Strong
Golden, CO
Ryan Strong   Golden, CO
We were able to rap the sheer face straight to the ground with two 70M ropes. I am not sure if this is recommended due to the crumbliness of the face , but it was a good way to avoid jamming up other parties had we rapped the route. Mar 29, 2012
Topher M.
moab, ut
Topher M.   moab, ut
After rapping down from the sidewalk belay, you can rap all the way to the base (from the top of the chimney) with two 60m ropes! Mar 31, 2012
Topher M.
moab, ut
Topher M.   moab, ut
Thank you to all who helped in rescuing a fallen leader yesterday. Great inter-agency cooperation. Thanks to GCSAR, NPS Tech Rescue, Life Flight, Grand County EMS, and everyone else that chipped in. Hope our patient makes a full and speedy recovery.

Be careful up there! This is a desert tower after all. Apr 24, 2012
Climbed it on May 2 right after ALL THE BOLTS WERE REPLACED! Big thank you to the guys that were out there and making a fun classic safe for people to climb again. May 6, 2012
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
Don't worry... you can still fall and get hurt or killed... easily. May 7, 2012
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
Hey Jeremy
OK, here is the history as I have it... its all in the beholder of course.

A few years ago Josh Gross and I went out there and redid much of the route with stainless rawls where there were banged in angles and star drives. Nothing added, just replaced. Since then one of those rawls, sorry Powers 5 pieces, looked as if it had unscrewed on its own (perhaps) and come out.... another, on pitch 3, looked to have been removed. Again, these were just replacements of what had been in there... nothing added. So, people talked worriedly about the bolts unscrewing and I hate the thought that this is happening, especially with the cost of the bolts. Then that big block that you used to get cams behind on the approach to the arete of pitch 3 collapsed. Then that girl tumbled a few weeks ago trying to get to the first bolt past said broken block.

So Larry Harpe and i went out and redid those bolts that Josh and I redid a few years ago plus put one in where the collapsed flake once was. We also redid the two angles on the last pitch. One of these gets pulled down and across in a fall and then straight up on when you lower off from the summit block... not a good place for an angle, especially since its generally everyones only piece of pro to get on the corkscrew. Anyway, we replaced the already replaced bolts with glue ins and the replaced two that protected the actual cork screw of the last pitch. We also added a bolt where the big flake used to be and where you have to crawl across the blocks to reach the arete.

And thats that. As most will point out, I am a steady supporter of the "Bolt it like the first Ascentionists did" approach to replacement. The added bolt in this case is because the placements the FA guys had are gone now.... the whole flake fell away. The only other option there is to place it in a flake roughly the size of a suitcase that is just a rock resting on some mud. This is the spot the girl fell.... I'm sure, considering the way the bolt ladders originally were, that the FA guys would have done this as well.

Have at it... May 7, 2012
Hartford, SD
TREEfool   Hartford, SD
Good to hear they put in some new protection!!! I was part of the group with the fallen climber. Here is the story:

Me and three friends (I will refer to them as friend 1, 2, and 3) set off on April 23 to climb Stolen Chimney. Friend 1 and 2 were climbing together and Friend 1 was supposed to lead all of the pitches because friend 2 only sport leads. Me and friend 3 were climbing behind them with me leading all of the pitches. Friend 1 and 2 were both on the third belay ledge as I started leading up the dirty chimney of pitch two. When I was half way up the pitch I heard this really loud scream. All of the other partys on the ground went into emergency mode and I finished the pitch to find climber 2 laying on her back with a cracked helmet.

Climber 1 told me that he suggested to climber 2 that they should rap down since pitch 3 was so run out and exposed but climber 2 begged to lead it since there was no trad gear needed. She peeled off while trying to clip the bolt and pushed off backwards landing on the belay ledge. She was in too much pain for us to lower her to the ground so Search and Rescue was called. We told friend 3 to pull the rope and rap to the base. First EMT jugged up our fixed line, second EMT led up the route using my gear placements, first park rescue jugged up the fixed line, second park rescue jugged up the fixed line, third EMT jugged up the fixed line. That means there were 8 freaking people on the belay ledge! After five hours of crazyness a heli medic from Salt Lake City was lowered onto the belay ledge. He had no problem hanging under a flying helicopter but as soon as he was dropped off on the ledge he was terrified! We were all amused by that. He flew away with her in this netting thing and the rest of us rapped down. She had 4 broken ribs and a brain bleed but is expected to be out climbing hard soon!

Everyone agreed that she would likely not be here if she had not been wearing her helmet. Be careful guys and thank you again to all of the Rescue crew who helped save her life! May 11, 2012
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
I feel compelled to say this:
Ancient Art's Stolen Chimney is NOT a sport climb and should not be attempted by any climber who is not very comfortable climbing 5.10. There are places on each pitch where if you fall you will likely die. At the very least you will be badly hurt. The replaced bolts are nothing more than than a modern version of what the original ascent party had. They can be manipulated with by people, or damaged by the elements, in such a way that they are not safe. For this reason any climber attempting this route, or any other non-sport climb for that matter, should assume that their most trusted piece of protection is their ability to NOT fall. Climbing is dangerous. Its even more dangerous in the Fisher Towers. Do not approach this route with a sense that it is easy. May 12, 2012

i feel compelled to say 'ditto'. i've been somewhat horrified by some of the folks i have seen on this thing. i think one of the problems is that it has become a bit of a circus with guides and unprepared/incompetent clients, which has given it kind of an 'anybody can do it' sort of reputation. as sam has said, there are several places on this route where you absolutely don't want to fall. May 12, 2012
Topher M.
moab, ut
Topher M.   moab, ut
Well said Larry. Besides the rescue, I've helped prevent several serious accidents by private parties while I was guiding clients. I haven't seen any issues with any professionaly guided parties.

Be careful out there everyone! May 14, 2012

you both make good points, and i definitely shouldn't point all or even most of the blame at guides. i apologize. my comment was based on climbing in the area several times when there were multiple groups on AA that had (or appeared to have) 1 guide and 2 -4 clients. one day in particular i counted 9(!) people at a single belay. and the people that i saw in the group were obvious beginners (ie needed very close instruction on all aspects of the climbing, including rapping, etc).

anyway, all that aside - thanks to the guides who helped the young lady with the rescue, and hopefully people will be careful up there. May 14, 2012
Ryan Barber
Rumney, NH
Ryan Barber   Rumney, NH
Redpointed it the other week. The 5.10 technical faces took me a few moments to figure out the right sequences and pressure points. Also, it looks like there are a few retrobolted sections including the crux move getting onto the corkscrew making the climb feel much safer than last year. Sep 20, 2012
Dwight Jugornot
Arvada, Co.
Dwight Jugornot   Arvada, Co.
4 stars, 3 of which are garnered by the summit. No need to aid the bolt ladders, the moves are all there and well protected. There is now another bolt where the female climber whipped and helicoptered , thus it is quite well protected now.
If you hear a buzzing/crackling sound near the top bail immediately as you are about to get struck by lightning. I felt sparks arcing off of my shoulders and forearms. This thing is an antenna. Never saw any lightning, but it musta been close. Only very light sprinkles.
Yes, this seems obvious to me now. I just didn't realize you would ever hear any noise before you exploded like a gnat in a bug light. Sep 20, 2012
Geir www.ToofastTopos.com
Tucson, AZ
Geir www.ToofastTopos.com   Tucson, AZ
A classic route with a spectacular summit. One I will never forget! Oct 31, 2012
I climbed this in late 2000 at age 62/63 (as a 2nd) and found to be a great climb if rather a different sort of rock for me. The next year I had a mild MI and a stent. My blocked artery no doubt affected my climbing at the time I am okay now with the stent, Meds, etc; and still climb at 75. The climb appeared to be 5.8, A0 for me. The exposure was great fun I sat on the top rather stand on it which did not occur to me then J. Dunn who I spoke to at the bottom watched me climb and said I was fine but forgot to take a photo as he said he would. No big deal the compliment was enough wish I could climb cottontail. Apr 7, 2013
Climbed this past Saturday. All bolts are in good condtion.

In regards to the final pitch, I had been told it was not a good idea to top rope the section after the sidewalk and am not sure why this is. The majority of this section puts you directly under the anchor. The final move does require you to move around the side and feed some slack but would still be a relatively minor swing should a fall occur. A quick draw can be left on the bolt just below the anchor should there be a timid climber in the group that can be utilized to make this a relatively simple move. Regardless crossing the sidewalk is still the most dangerous part as a top rope doesn't really provide any more protection then leading it. May 28, 2013
Jordan Hirro
Colorado Springs/Carbondale
Jordan Hirro   Colorado Springs/Carbondale
Absolute must. In my opinion, the chimney and .10 face climbing really isn't the greatest...but the topout is undoubtedly the best around. I'll do the chimney over and over just for the topout. It's that good. Single rack from .4-2 or 3 with about 8 draws. We got lucky and were alone so we only brought 1 70 and did the whole thing in 1 pitch from the scramble. Then jut make 3 raps from the sidewalk and you're set to jet! Oct 2, 2013
Kevin Bradford
Kevin Bradford  
This thing is worth the crowds and mud, super unique experience. The free climbing through the first bolt ladder felt like 10+, using shallow pockets and pinching pebbles embedded in the mud to move through a slight bulge. The 5.8 mud chimney was surprisingly fun by all accounts. We actually waited for over an hour at the top of this pitch for 3 base jumpers to finally leap from the sidewalk. It was cool to watch and we had planned on being stuck in lines, so no worries. Second bolt ladder felt easier, maybe 10- Oct 9, 2013
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
The Fisher Towers is a fantastic place. Well worth a visit on it's own. To go there and get to stand on top of Ancient Art is really cool. Yes, the towers are made of mud. It is a bit unnerving climbing on this type of rock. I used a point or two of aid. Mar 12, 2014
Bishop, CA
DennisL   Bishop, CA
Absolutely must-do!! Accept the fact that sharing the route with others is part of the experience, make friends with them, and have a great time chilling at the belays watching others summit and rap!

Pull the rope and re-lead the summit pitch - definitely safer and good for bragging rights! Apr 23, 2014
Justin Skaare   CO
Because of the popularity of this climb I'd suggest a double rope rappel instead of a 70m just to be courteous of other groups in queue. Apr 30, 2014
Ian Colquhoun
New Jersey
Ian Colquhoun   New Jersey
My first multi-pitch climb and wow! amazing exposure and some awesome climbing! I found the first bolt ladder at the end of P1 to be slightly more difficult than the second on P3, but thats only due to it being a lot longer.
I personally found the chimney to be an awesome pitch, and at the top of it when the "back" goes away and the wind picks up you have a major pucker moment!
Wide high right foot stem on the way up off the diving board and one last hardish 5.9 move on the back of the corkscrew and poof: best summit for me yet! Jun 24, 2014
Jim Fox
Westminster, CO
  5.9+ PG13
Jim Fox   Westminster, CO
  5.9+ PG13
Great summit in an awesome setting.
Yes, it's dirty and the rock is basically dried mud but it's a fun climb from the start and has a couple 5.9+ or 5.10 sections. Mostly easy climbing but pro is a little sparse. The mud chimney was mostly fun- I stayed on the outside and stemmed mostly. Was forced deeper into the chimney near the top and scraped my way up the last 10 feet. The summit is the real reason to do this climb and it was as exposed and crazy as it looks, FUN! Mar 25, 2015
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Does anybody know why this chimney is called "stolen"? Did Sibley and Roos steal the FA from under Harvey Carter's nose, or what? Apr 21, 2015
Climbed it this last Wednesday (6/3) with my 15 year old son. He couldn't get out a #2 cam, so I was going to get it on rappel. There were 2 guided parties on the route and I informed everyone that we had left the gear behind. Now, I understand that booty is booty, but I was very surprised that someone took the cam and didn't say a word. Given the circumstances and my sons age, that's just bad form!!!! Jun 8, 2015
Apparently Carter thought so. He named the route. Jul 23, 2015
Michael Dom
Michael Dom  
Mega busy route. The prize is the top of the pitch when you summit that spindly spire. I think this is a must do climb if you are in the desert and can wake up early enough to beat the crowds. Dec 22, 2015
Kevin Dahlstrom
Fort Worth, TX
Kevin Dahlstrom   Fort Worth, TX
Incredible route. Obviously the summit is amazing, but the climbing itself is surprisingly fun and engaging the whole way. The lower bolted crux is 10a and the upper is 10c (but only one move). Be prepared for crowds of climbers of questionable competence and long waits at each belay - but this is one route that is worth it. Mar 18, 2016
Haley Young
Boulder, CO
Haley Young   Boulder, CO
I would recommend coming VERY early if you do not want to wait in line all day to climb this amazing route. It gets VERY backed up. Very heady and exposed climb especially on the cork screw. Second pitch and top out are AWESOME! The hike in is beautiful as well. My partner and I arrived just about sunrise on a weekday and were the first to ascent that morning. Mar 28, 2016
Nick Black
Arcata, CA
Nick Black   Arcata, CA
Rock is way better than the average desert tower, don't worry about it! Apr 18, 2016
John Binger
Moab, UT
John Binger   Moab, UT
Did this route today. The anchors at the beginning of the "sidewalk" have 2 loose bolts. Take a wrench and tighten them up if you have one! Jun 7, 2016
Mike A. Lewis
Estes Park, CO
Mike A. Lewis   Estes Park, CO
This climb has become very popular - so we need to be considerate of other climbers and how long we take to climb this route and make space for others to do the same. On any popular, moderate routes, I believe climbers should generally be climbing in parties of two, unless they are very experienced climbers who have the skills to manage a group of three quickly and efficiently. Parties of four - no way (unless there is no one else around)! When you get to the Sidewalk and the Tower, please climb, get your photos, and get down... so other people can get up there and have their fun too. By the way, the slab of stone on the summit heavily vibrates on testing - it's not going to be there forever! Oct 15, 2016
Scott E
Scott E  
Are two ropes required for the rappels? Mar 10, 2017
Hobo Greg
My Van
Hobo Greg   My Van
In response to the comment in the route description "there are places on each pitch where if you fall you will likely die"; OH CMON! Both face pitches are French freeable, let alone well protected for lead. As for the chimney, there's so much pro, in decent enough rock, that only a fool would be able to get killed there. Perhaps the only spot where you can truly get messed up is the sidewalk and diving board mantel, but those are both really easy. I don't consider myself a solid 5.10 leader (look at my ticks), but I had no problems at all with this climb. Maybe the person who submitted the route just wants to keep the crowds away ;) If you show up a few hours before sunset, most of the crowds have come and gone, and you can top out with stellar lighting to accompany the stellar view. Gear: nuts, cams .5-2 Camalot, draws. Mar 28, 2017
Derek Michael
  5.8 A0
Derek Michael  
  5.8 A0
Bit of a zoo. My girlfriend literally stepped on the hand of some asshole who started leading the chimney pitch as she was still following and cleaning it. Otherwise an amazing climb. It's possible to rap with a single 70m rope, but people will hate you less if you bring a second rope and stay outta the chimney. May 9, 2017
Brock Jones
Provo, UT
Brock Jones   Provo, UT
Probably wouldn't do it again because the climbing is just okay and the crowds are terrible, but it's the incredibly unique last pitch (I don't know if another route exists with better exposure) that make it absolutely worth doing at least once. Gear: Medium-large nuts, .4-2 camalots (extra .75 is nice to have), draws, several long slings to reduce drag in the chimney. Nov 12, 2017
Boulder, CO
Branty   Boulder, CO
Extremely fun climb! Don't get too stressed about the 5.10 pitches -- they're tricky and take some thought to work out, but the first bolt on each pitch is reachable from a ledge, and the bolts are very closely spaced. Don't miss the final summit pitch -- it's a wild ride!!

A tip about the rap: Two 60m ropes will NOT get you to the ground from the anchor below the summit pitch. Rap from the anchor at the top of the chimney instead, or else you'll have to re-ascend the rappel lines and wait on muddy no-man's land ledges for your pals to toss the rope over you, like I did. Whoops! Dec 11, 2017
Steve Spaar and I did the first free ascent and second overall ascent of this route in 1979 or 1980 after Paul Sibley encouraged me to do so. He raved about it. On our ascent we added the drilled angles on the route. It's still one of my favorite routes anywhere. So unique. On our ascent a scorpion was sitting in the "bucket" hold at the top of the 5.10 bolt ladder. I was able to climb around it without disturbing it. (Without it stinging me.) Steve was so freaked or disgusted by it that he took a hammer to it. I've often wondered how it got there in the first place. I've since climbed that route perhaps four other times and I've loved it each time. And now there are crowds waiting in line to climb this route. At the time I never imagined this would be the case. Climbing in the Fishers in the 70s and early 80s was a wilderness experience. How can one argue: quality attracts attention. I look forward to the next time I get a chance to climb this amazing formation. Feb 10, 2018
ATTENTION CLIMBERS: Filming for a news program will be occurring on Ancient Art on March 12, 2018. The climb/corkscrew is still open to the public, however, there may be delays while filming is occurring on the climb. Rigging will commence before sunrise and filming will be occurring throughout the morning. Wrap up is planned for 1PM. Mar 9, 2018
Jeremy Bauman
Lakewood, CO
Jeremy Bauman   Lakewood, CO
This is a fantastic route that draws fantastic crowds. If your an experienced climber with proficient rope skills, this linked google doc has some logistic beta you may find helpful to keep yourself and the teams around you moving safely and efficiently.

Biggest time saver: Borrow a locker from the team behind you to leave for the lower-off of the summit so you don't have to clean: saving both parties time! Oct 30, 2018
Pavel P
Portland, OR
Pavel P   Portland, OR
Pitch 4 is fun, and topping out is a reward for approach pitches 1-3, which are substandard, both from the rock quality and technical climbing standpoint. Nov 2, 2018
Pat Light
Charlottesville, VA
  5.10 A0
Pat Light   Charlottesville, VA
  5.10 A0
The summit pitch is from a different planet entirely. Crazy and absurd. Go do it.

Also gonna echo Sam's comments. The hard moves (honest, tenuous 5.10) are all protected by bolts that you can easily pull past, but a 5.7 trad leader is gonna have a spook-tacular time on the mud chimney, with regard to both the movement and the gear. On top of that, the final pitch has a mandatory, entirely unprotectable walkway that terminates in a dicey, unconventional, and unprotected move onto a fragile beak of rock.

A bad lead head, an iffy gear placement, or even just an unlucky break could all VERY SERIOUSLY ruin your day on this tower. Nov 5, 2018
11/23/18 (day after Thanksgiving holiday), party of 2.
8:40am Arrived to parking lot.
9:00am Arrived to base of climb. 3 teams ahead of us, each consisting of one leader and one climber. All were competent. At least 2 of these teams were led by professional guides. Team 1 started climbing prior to 9am. Team 2 started ~9:20am. We waited at base until ~10:20am to avoid crowding Teams 1 and 2 on the party ledge.
10:20am Started P1 (scramble and first bolt ladder) in full sun. Waited at top of bolt ladder for Team 3 to finish P2
10:40am Started P2 (chimney).
11:30am Waited at party ledge (top of P2) with team 3 in full sun between ~11:30am and ~1pm while team 2 and then team 3 completed P3 and P4. Teams 5 and 6 joined us on party ledge and they advised other teams to wait on the ground.
1:00pm Started P3
1:45pm Leader hit summit
2:00pm follower hit summit
2:30pm Arrived to big crowd (4 teams) at party ledge
2:45pm rapped to base

Total duration base to base was 5 hours 45 minutes (9am - 2:45pm). Nov 24, 2018
Bill Mustard
Silt, CO
Bill Mustard   Silt, CO