Trad, 810 ft, 6 pitches, Grade IV,
Avg: 3.9 from 258
FA: Van Betten, Harrison, Nordblom 1983
> Southern Nevada
> Red Rock
> 11-Juniper Canyon
> Cloud Tower
Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet.
Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm, the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN RED ROCKS during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby.
HUMAN WASTE Human waste is one of the major issues plaguing Red Rocks. The Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council and the AAC provides free "wag bags" in several locations (Black Velvet, First Pullout, Kraft Mtn/Bouldering, The Gallery, and The Black Corridor). These bags are designed so that you can pack your waste out - consider bringing one to be part of your kit (just like your rope and shoes and lunch) no matter where you go. Once used, please dispose of them properly (do not throw them in the toilets at the parking area).
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.
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.
Matt Kuehl cleaning up the last pitch on Cloud Tower.
Jake leads the crux Dihedral (12-) with Ben at the belay, photo cred: T. Melin.
Looking for nonexistent footholds at the start of the 5th pitch.
Getting worked at the top of the crux corner on Thanksgiving photo: Greg Jackson
Andrew Gomoll cranks the final crux bulge on the 7th pitch.
Climbers on the crux corner of the third pitch. Heavily chalked holds are visible across the canyon.
Beautiful thin hands splitter on pitch 3
A very cool perspective of the final pitch of Cloud Tower (11+ corner). Taken from the Rainbow Wall.
Andy Hansen, Cloud Tower. March 2012.
Hai Ngyugen on Cloud Tower P5.
Pitch 6, the tunnel/squeeze/chimney fun.