Type: Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: John Auld, John Kuglin, Gary Ziegley, 1961.
Page Views: 2,724 total · 13/month
Shared By: Ben Mottinger on Nov 9, 2001
Admins: Jesse Zacher, Jared LaVacque, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

11 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


This is an adventurous and interesting route that has seen very few ascents -- the original summit register is still there after 40 years. Only a handful of ascents had been made until the '90s, and now it seems only about 20-30 (at least by who signed the register). Anyway, if you do plan on climbing this route, a new register is in order, since the old one has nearly fallen apart.

Find the route per the description on the rock page. This route can be climbed in 5 pitches, but the last two-three are easy to get to and of better quality. Fix a rope on two trees near the edge of the rim, just above the notch to the spire below. A 50m rope will reach all the way to the notch bottom.

P1: Start on the left side of the notch up an easy ramp to a small crack. Look for two old bolts (relics of the FA I'm guessing) and a bolt with a missing hanger. This section can be easily aided or free climbed at 5.9, but you wouldn't want to fall on these bolts--they've really seen their better days. Move up to the top of a small block under a large, R-facing dihedral. Aid up this thin crack using the micro cams, TCUs, and small stoppers (down to #2). This goes clean thanks to the old pin scars, but the rock is a little soft. After aiding up the corner, it is not too bad to free-climb the rest of the pitch at about 5.8, but it is a little spicy since the rock is a little crumbly in spots. Belay on top of a pedestal where there are two drilled angles for protection.

P2: Move up the ramp to a large flake using some large stoppers and med-lrg Friends for pro. Clip an old drilled angle, then move around the corner to the right. Belay at the base of a short offwidth crack.

P3: Tackle the nice OW (5.8) and use a large piece like a #5 Camalot or similar. If you don't have one, a medium stopper and a small Alien can be used in a thin seam on the left. Top out and enjoy the view!

Descent: There are two possibilities for making it back to the canyon rim. 1: Rap back to the notch with TWO 50m ropes, then jug back up your fixed line 150ft. The anchor on top is two drilled angles and some old webbing--bring a knife and a new piece of cord with you to replace some old stuff and inspire a little more confidence. 2: From the start of the route, attach your fixed line from the canyon rim to yourself and bring it up to the summit. A tyrolian can be set up here with this line and your additional lead line. We did not do this method, but on second thought, it seems like more fun and less work than bringing a 3rd rope and jugging back up 150ft. One other thing about the tyrolean logistics is the 50m fixed line will not reach the start of the route, so you'll have to attach it on the lead line and pull it up when you're about 1/2 way up the pitch.


Some Aliens or small TCUs, RPs, Friends #0.5-2, 4, and a #5 Camalot or similar if you have one. At least two 50m ropes are required--three if you don't tyrolean back across.
Fun route Follow Mr. Mottingers beta, it's quite correct. Except for the concern over a new register. I took care of that. H.b. offsets would have kicked butt. I tyroleaned out, but wished I would have opted for the less "holloywood" descent. I was by myself, so I had to go back and forth. I don't see how the A0 bolts on the 1st pitch could rate 5.9. It looked much harder than that, with a wafer flake to boot. I would recommend this route to anyone. -tda Feb 11, 2003
Troy- of course you left the old register on top, right? Feb 12, 2003
Of course, I appreciate the history in those things. This one is especially cool, because it's not like Castleton, where it's frustrating to navigate between the graffitti and actual history. Apr 22, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Bummer, I did this climb with Bill Wright some years ago and didn't see the register. I remember the second pitch is somewhat loose. Also, the OW on pitch 3 looked harder than 5.8 - this can be aided if you're feeling weak.

This is better than a 1 star route! Apr 22, 2003
Southwest Defile goes free now. This one is good for a quickie if you have the jugs and a rope to fix. Avoid the three aid bolts and traverse right out of the notch for forty feet (5.7s) to the base of a nice, overhanging, thin-hands corner. Belay here. Fire up this thirty-forty foot section into an easy choss band and on to the crux, which is very thin and loose but pulls up through an nice splitter next to a corner. Pin scars for pro, so bring the HB offsets. Belay at the anchors and then off around the corner (looks much worse than it really is). Good for the Momument but not on par with Sundial or the Medicne Man. Apr 14, 2005
Frosty Weller
Frosty Weller   Colorado
Excellent solo on clean aid 03/17/07. Careful of those bolts on pitch 1! It would be wacky to try and free past these... even if it was only 5.9. And 5.8 for the last pitch?! Glad I had the #5 Camalot. Whoever does this tower next, please bring a register book and some pencils/pens. The summit register ammo box is great. But the 1 pencil and 1 pen are fried and there are only a couple of blank sheets of paper as the register. Note that the original register is still there but VERY VERY fragile. Be careful with it. Very historic with some great names... It needs to be put into it's own zip lock for preservation and left in place. Mar 19, 2007
These bolts are definitely not that inspiring, but they're a pretty cool relic of the original ascent... 50+ year old star dryvins with homemade angle iron hangers. Perhaps someone could replace the rivet/hangerless bolt below the two star dryvins with a solid bolt and leave the others in place for character. Just a thought. This is a cool route that's definitely worth doing, although not quite as good (or hard) as its neighboring route Relics. Mar 22, 2012
Code Whittaker
Annapolis, MD
Code Whittaker   Annapolis, MD
I climbed this today and did the traverse back to the rim. We started pretty early and made the full climb in about two hours. All that is said about beta here is really spot on, (the flake on the first pitch is suuuper loose). The only thing I'd add on is to make sure you rappel down and to the left when approaching the tower, otherwise you won't have enough rope to reach the ground and you'll have to do some Mission Impossible beta to get over to the ledge. Also, bring up some new webbing for the second anchor. Super fun though! Jul 23, 2017
Matt Castelli
  5.8 C2
Matt Castelli  
  5.8 C2
You can use the permanent rap anchor to get into the notch. It's a bolt, a stud, and a drilled piton that can be backed up with half decent number twos 25 feet back. If using this anchor, rap HARD to the climber's right! Or face a bad tension traverse. A 60m rap rope makes it to the base of the climb. First pitch just had one/two tricky aid placements over 4 bomber small cams, and the tricky placements were bomber once you found them. Offset brassies help. Rivet hanger let you skip a total shit placement to start the 3 bolt ladder. The exploding flake left of bolts will explode if you place cams in it. Learned first hand. P2 is cruiser and fun, if a bit sandy. P3 takes two pieces, BD 5 and 6. Or small gear on the left crack. New anchors on tower for the Tyrol. Two pair of ascenders are useful for the Tyrol but not essential. Oct 15, 2017