Type: Trad, 6 pitches Fixed Hardware (10)
FA: Layton Kor, Dave Dornan, 1959. FFA: R. Robbins, P. Ament, 1960s
Page Views: 162,094 total · 569/month
Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

This is one of the most popular routes in Eldo, and for a good reason. It is long, not too sustained, and a beautiful direct line. The climbing is all pretty straight forward. The 5.10 variation on the second to last pitch is kinda stiff for .10a, but is really well protected on bolts. The last pitch is runout but easy. The direct start is not too bad, more of a high boulder problem than anything, although I had a friend who sprained his ankle on it once.

P1 direct. Scramble onto it and arrive shortly at some caked-on chalk and pin scars below a break in a long roof band. This was Kors original start; it is 5.10 and protects with tricky small stopper placements.

P1 standard. A much easier start ascends a short dihedral 20 feet to the right. Cut back left, then climb further up huge holds over the exciting roof, and head right to a tree belay-5.9 (about 30 feet of elevation gain).

P2. Go up left, then up a fantastic dihedral, with face moves at the end, to another tree, 5.8.

P3. Head up cracks and corners to a rotten band; continue over a scary bulge and another crack to a beautiful, exposed ledge, also 5.8.

P4. Fifteen feet right of the belay, ascend a large, moderate dihedral. Hand traverse right, avoiding a huge overhang, and climb another 5.8 corner up and then right to a small, exposed stance. You can also belay on a large ledge 10 feet lower with less exposure.

P5. Climb straight up, make a delicate step right into a thin crack (with several pitons) and ascend that (the crux) to a scary detached flake [now gone]. Make a beautiful ascending 5.7 traverse up left to lower angle terrain and a belay on the arete, or climb straight up past bolts at 5.10 and reach the same belay.

P6. Head up the spectacular 5.6 arete to the summit of Tower One.

Getting There Suggest change

Find the start to the route by approaching the Roof Routes area. You park at the lower parking lot, hike the trail around the West side of The Whale's Tail. Follow the trail across the concrete pad, take the switchbacks, take the left fork. Continue on the trail down and below the pretty, short wall with Pickpocket. Go left and up the Redgarden Trail. Follow the trail past the 2 railroad tie stepped sections, past the ladder. You continue on the trail until you get to the obvious huge chimney, West Chimney. Gear up around here below a beautiful, smooth face about 150 feet tall. Go down & R a very short distance. Pick an approach (about 20 feet) to the ledge where you start Yellow Spur. The direct start (below a pin) is left of the traditional start (at a shallow dihedral with an obvious traverse left).

Protection Suggest change

A standard rack up to 3".

Per Danny Gilbert: there's a lot more fixed pins on this route than (6). I know the route pretty well, and from memory:

P1 - 3 pins (2 now) (one before the traverse above your head, and (now one) at your feet before you pull the roof).

P2 - 2 pins (now one - the one just before the 5.8 dihedral is gone, and one right in the dihedral).

P3 - 1 pin (2 now, the 1st is old style, with the ring on it in the first open book). There is one more above a semi-rotten ledge.

P4 - 2 pins and a bong (now only 2, one pin in that easy low 5th section, one pin just before the hand traverse. The bong is at the top of the hand traverse is gone).

P5 - I think there's 5 pins? All of them in the 'Pin ladder'. Then you've got two finishes, the bolt ladder has 3, and the Robbin's Traverse has at least one pin before the belay.

I can't think of any on pitch 6 (depending on where you belay after the Robbins Travers, there is 1 more pin either high on P5 or low on P6).

If this is actually useful at all, I can get more exact info.

Eds. Some updated info from Todd Felix is in italics.

Descent Suggest change

From the tree 20 feet below the summit, rap straight down to the gully on the east side. Alternatively, downclimb to the gully and walk down it. Either way, continue to down gully to the east and south, to the base of some trees that are at the end of Ruper.

Now turn back to the west and scramble up a few hundred feet, aiming for a large notch on the south side of the tower.

Go through the notch, then down big stone steps about 30 feet, the left another 30 feet to reach two big rap bolts. A 100' rap will NOT quite reach the ground, but it's an easy downclimb. Be careful.

You're now on a nice grassy ledge. Scramble west, over a fin of rock (do not go up to the higher notch). Over the fin you'll find a nice ledge with rap chains. Rap 80' to another set of chains, then 90' to ground. A short walk up north up the ledge will take you to your packs.