Type: Trad, 810 ft, 6 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Van Betten, Harrison, Nordblom 1983
Page Views: 60,808 total · 268/month
Shared By: Chris Archer on Dec 31, 2000 with improvements by Wylie
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen

You & This Route


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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details

Description

One of the best long free climbs of its grade in the country. On a par with The Naked Edge, the Prow, and Astroman. This route should not be missed. If you climb at this level, you will not have lead a full life without experiencing The Cloud Tower!

Approach: Same as Crimson Chrysalis. Average approach time about an hour, unless you're an old geezer like me. Cloud Tower begins about 100-130 feet right and downhill of CC, at an obvious chimney that leads to a left facing dihedral. N.B. some pitches are described differently than as suggested by the guides. Aspect: North facing until the last pitch which faces west and soaks up the afternoon sun. The initial pitches can be chilly.

P1. Climb the squeeze chimney and up the hand crack in the left facing corner (5.8). Rather than stopping at the ledge (135'), we kept climbing up the corner above for another 100 feet or so (5.8) and stopped on the next obvious ledge. (5.8, 225')

P2. Traverse up and way left, past a tree, to the base of a beautiful splitter handcrack, climb it (5.10) and then trend up and left to the base of an awesome right facing, right angling corner. Another rope stretcher. (5.10, 210+')

P3. IMO, the crux pitch. Face climb discontinuous cracks up and left past a bolt into the corner, ascend the corner with Eldorado-like face climbing and stemming and then tips laybacking for what seems like an eternity. (5.12-, 115'; Rack: 1.5F, nuts, blue/black aliens, green aliens, 1F, 1.5-2.5F)

P4. A long "easy" pitch (120', 5.10) that will be exciting if your rack is short on larger sizes or if your wide flaring crack technique is wanting. (Rack: I am embarrassed to confess having 3 each of 2.5-3.5 F, 2 4Fs and a 4 Camalot and using them all.)

P5. The Harding Slot of Red Rocks. The guide describes climbing a scary offwidth to the top of the tower at 5.10+. We climbed a short wide section (5.7) and then tunneled through the tower. The crux was squeezing through a taper for about 3 feet onto the west face. Not recommended for the bulbous or the claustrophobic. Some friends have climbed to the top of the tower as the guide suggests, while others traversed the tower (climbed right from the belay around the tower). No one has expressed great joy at the thought of repeating any of these options. (5.?, 45-50')

P6. After emerging from the birth canal, you are suddenly transplanted onto the west face of the tower at the base of a stellar Indian Creekish hand crack. Climb the flaring hand crack through several awkward bulges (5.11), while shedding as much clothing as you can remove. Potential radical temperature difference after the north face experience. Save a 1 camalot and some energy for the final hard moves to the belay. (5.11+, 110', Rack: (2) 1 camalots, (2-3 each) 2.5-3.5Fs)

I understand that this brilliant route has been extended but do not yet know further details.

Protection

RPs 2-5; wires-WC Rocks (2 each) 1-5, (1 each) 6-7; Aliens: (2) black, (3 each) blue and green, (1) yellow; Friends (1) 1, (2) 1.5, (2) 2, (2) green camalot jrs, (2) 2.5, (2) 1 camalots, (2) gold camalots,(3) 3.5, (2) 4, (1) 4.5. A 70m rope is handy for running pitches together, but you'll need another rope or some ingenuity to complete the first rappel from the top of the route. After that a 70m will work fine for the remainder of the descent.

Photos