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Routes in Castleton Tower

Arrowhead, The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Bjornstad Traverse ( The Girdle of Castleton Tower), The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C1
Black Sun T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Burning Inside T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Discrete Start to Black Sun T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Hollowpoint T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Ivory Tower, The T 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Kor-Ingalls Route T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
No Other Options V1 5
North Chimney T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
North Face T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
North Face Original Pitch 1 T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Sacred Ground T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Stardust Cowboy T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
West Face T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
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Type: Trad, 350 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: webster, hopkins, coyne
Page Views: 10,730 total · 55/month
Shared By: david goldstein on Oct 28, 2002
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
Access Issue: Registration required for camping starting 01 Oct 2010. Details


This climb can be viewed as a major variation to Kor-Ingalls and features lots of wide climbing and a crux reminiscent of Poseiden Adventure on Lighthouse tower.

Start as for Kor-Ingalls.

P1. Climb about 150' up KI. At this point, 20-30' of easy scrambling past a major rap anchor, KI continues to angle rightwards up the corner while Black Sun go straight up a wide crack system. From the point where the routes diverge, you will see a ledge about 80' upon the left side of the BS crack system.

P2. 5.8ish, 80'. Wide crack climbing with some face holds and a variety of gear. Belay on the ledge.

P3. 5.10, ~90'. Continue up the crack system. About 20' up you hit a difficult section that can eat up your big gear.This quicly turns into hands ands gets you to a stance at the base of the business, a 30' flare chimney with an offwidth crack in the back. If you've squandered your 4.5 Camalot already, go back down and get it, because it's the essential piece through this entire section. This section succumbs to left side in "can opener technique" -- squeeze chimney technique with the inside part of the body, knee/heel with the outside leg. A couple of face holds facilliate the process. The 4.5 can be easily walked along to maintain peace of mind. The crack widens and gets easier in the last ten feet. A 5 Camalot might protect this section which is too wide for the 4.5 and too flared for a decent Big Bro placement. At the top of the flare, tunnel behind a chockstone and stand up on a good belay ledge. The last few feet of the flare and the tunnel move can be avoided by going over the chockstone; this alternative looked harder and a lot hairier to me.

P4. 5.8 ~80'. Head up a fist crack for 15'. Squirm throughsome blocks and arrive at a stance (optional belay). BS continues straight up through more 5.8 wide or you can traverse right to the standard KI face finish.


We had1 each #1-#7 Rock.1 green and 1 yellow alienDouble set of cams from 1 to 4 Friend.1 each #4, 4.5 and 5 Camalot1 #3 Big BroThis rack was pretty good. However, you could get by without the 5 Camalot and the Big Bro and a 2nd 4.5 Camalot would be nice.
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
How tight is, #1, "tunneling" on P3, and #2, "squirming" on P4? I weigh around 180-190 and got rather stuck in the last pitch of Lightning Bolt Cracks, so I am afraid of death by starvation on some more obscure desert route. Oct 31, 2002
david goldstein
david goldstein  
Reply to Charles Vernon:Pitch 4 squirming is one size fits all.Pitch 3 tunneling is fairly tight. I removed the rack and deposited it on the other side of the hole before easily worming through with plenty of room to spare. This move reminded me of the exit move on Supersqueeze on Dome Rock in Boulder Canyon, but easier and less tight. I'm 5'7", 140 lbs; my partner on this climb is a couple of inches taller and a little beefier and he had no problem with this move either. Oct 31, 2002
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
Just climbed this route and I thought it was a very high quality route and alot of fun to climb.
Couple of things though......
I thought both pitch #2 and #4 were more like 5.9. They had short defined crux's @ 5.9 with the rest of the climbing checking in around 5.8.
I Found the crux pitch to be more like 5.9+ and I thought the crux was with in the first 20 ft of the belay. The slot was not 5.10.

An excellent option if KI is packed.

josh Apr 26, 2009
Pitch 2 was very easy for me (5.7) I found very few hand or fist jams on the entire rout. Mostly it uses chimney technique on the outside of crack systems. Pitch 3 was fairly easy (5.8) until the off width section. Holly cow! Momma! A BD #5 for the lower off width and a #6 for the upper off width would be nice. Get ready to shuffle gear out of the way or you won't make it through the squeeze chimney. retrieve your biggest cam for above the chock stone if you go left. don't even think about shorts or short sleeves for the off width. A worth wile route. Oct 4, 2009
e Dixon
Durango, Colorado
e Dixon   Durango, Colorado
Thought this was a fun route. Never really hard...yet never really easy...and kinda physical throughout. Brought gear to a #5 Camalot (new), nothing bigger is needed. Easy to rap KI with a single 70m rope from nice ASCA bolts. Thanks! Feb 9, 2012
Wally   Denver
Black Sun is a great route - three very memorable pitches once you break free from Kor Ingalls. Climbed it on a cold Saturday two days ago. Good weather for the route - wouldn't want to do that offwidth chimney grunt in 80 degree sun.

Beta here is mostly good. The last pitch is not 5.8, more like 5.9. Calling the crux pitch 9+ is sandbag. The gear beta here is good. On the slot, both an old style #4 camalot (bigger than the current version) and a #5 Camalot are useful. So yes, a #4.5 camalot would be great for the slot.

Rapping Kor Ingalls with a single 70 meter cord is sweet and straightforward. Feb 13, 2012
Cindy Mitchell
Cindy Mitchell  
Off width on pitch 3 is brutal. Amazing summit. Feb 13, 2012
Jesse Morehouse   CO
For what its worth, here is the perspective of an average 5.10 climber (a caveat that I think is important for routes like this- hint: look at the grades the folks calling this "easy" climb...).

P2 (after leaving KI) was a fun and slightly strenuous 5.8 that I liked better than its next door neighbor equivalent on KI. You need to build an anchor in the cracks above the ledge. Resist the urge to use your #2 camalots!

P3 (crux) was a great pitch and very physical. The "5.10 fists" crack down low was actually mostly small OW for me with some constrictions- I used up doubles of 3 and 3.5 camalots in it. Then the crack angle decreases and you get a few thin hand moves to hands which was strenuous (#1 camalot) but short. This gets you on a nice flat stance at the base of the business which, as mentioned above, is well protected with an old #4 and a new #5 (or old 4.5) camalot. I totally got shut down by this section so Im guessing that to climb it at a low to mid 5.10 level of difficulty you have to have the correct technique dialed which I just didn't. It was still very cool and I cant wait to go back and try again!

After your #5 C4 tips out under the roof/massive chockstone the difficulty backs off as you maneuver the last few feet above your #5 to the roof and the tunnel move. There is pro in the roof either large nuts or a #2 or larger C4. It makes sense to belay on top of the chockstone/roof but to do it you need 2 #2 and 1 #3 C4 or vice versa and a #1. If you dont, the best option I found was slinging the big boulder right on top of the chockstone with the ropes (everything back in the chimney is loose). This is a bit awkward but works.

P4 (if you are re-joining KI) didnt seem well described here. We fount that it goes up the 3 to 3.5 camalot crack your belay is set in to a ledge on the left of the chimney where you traverse to the right side of the chimney tiptoeing over some big, loose blocks that threaten to chop your belayer. Follow the easy crack up right to a traverse past an old but solid bolt rejoining KI on the ledge just above the P3 belay. The 5.9ish direct finish reduces rope drag or with good rope management you can do the 5.7 standard finish. Either way you belay from the final KI anchors below the summit.

Above the initial crack on P4 the route is pretty unimpressive but gets you to the top which is your only option as there are no fixed anchors. Overall, this is a great route even if you end up not having the prerequisite mastery of flaring OW chimney technique. I can only imagine the fun meter pegs even higher if you do!

For a rack, I think the recommendations above are great but I would have been happier to have had a third #2 C4. Oct 26, 2012
Gregger Man
Broomfield, CO
Gregger Man   Broomfield, CO
I lost a good chunk of ankle meat on this. My size 13 boats don't heel/toe very well against the calcite. Apr 24, 2017
Wally   Denver
A great and better finish for Black Sun for those up for a bit more excitement than the so so normal last pitch of Black Sun is the last pitch of Burning Inside. Pretty exciting and a really cool pitch. Awesome position. Tricky and perhaps some dubious pro. The upgraded bolts help take some of the nerve out of the pitch. Apr 24, 2017
Kat A
Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Kat A   Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
5.10 OW on pitch 3. Less sustained and a bit easier than P1 of Honeymoon Chimney, but anything less than 5.10 I'll argue is sandbagging (I've lead both, and damn... you will earn your beer on this...)

OW on P3 protects well with a new #5 and new #6, or two new #5's. OW aficionados and/or desert rats might be fine with walking just one new #5. I was happy to have two #4's (new #4 preferable) for linking P2 & P3.

We did this in 3 pitches by setting the belay right where Black Sun breaks away from Kor Ingalls (above the chain anchors). If you link P2 & P3, back-clean and/or save that new #5 for up high. Ideally save a #2 and #3 camalot (or 2 of each) for the belay after the crux OW as mentioned in earlier comment. Not much else for gear except slinging the bird-poo slathered boulder that you're standing on. Careful for the loose blocks when emerging from the tunnel (yep, the ones you standing near while belaying...). Adventurous climbing - enjoy. Nov 5, 2017
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
I liked this climb. Apparently, so do the birds. Yes, there is bird crap on many desert climbs. There is more on this one than some others. Perhaps a lack of traffic. Still a great route though, with surprisingly little traffic given the potential traffic jams on K-I. We passed several parties using this option.. Nov 6, 2017
abe r
Boise, ID
abe r   Boise, ID
We had (2) #4 and (1) #5. I was able to walk the #5 up the entire chockstone pitch as I slowly progressed. (2) #5 and (2) #4 would sew this climb up.

Do the 10d finish off to the left after P3 (finish to burning inside). Mixed, face climb with a wicked position and modern bolts. So good! Apr 25, 2018

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