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The Tower

5.7, Sport, 50 ft,  Avg: 2.4 from 197 votes
FA: unknown
California > San Diego > S SD > Mission Gorge > Limbo Area
Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details


This is a must do for the new leader. The route has 4 bolts. There is a horizontal crack 15 feet from the ground that will take a .75 cam if you feel uncomfortable climbing to the first bolt. The crux comes on the top half of the climb. Once you hit a large ledge you clip the third bolt and do a side pull on to a large foot hold. The climbing is good and straight forward. This is a fun quality climb. To get to The Tower from the ramp walk south on the loop trail for 125 yards you will see the tower with four bolts.


4 quick draws medium size cam optional. Bolt anchor and rap station at top of tower.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

My girlfriend Nicole Marcos TR'ing The Tower. 5.7+.
[Hide Photo] My girlfriend Nicole Marcos TR'ing The Tower. 5.7+.
The Tower (5.7)
[Hide Photo] The Tower (5.7)
Dave on the Tower. Jan 2019.
[Hide Photo] Dave on the Tower. Jan 2019.
Awesome cactus mid way up... fantastic route
[Hide Photo] Awesome cactus mid way up... fantastic route
A hot afternoon on the tower.
[Hide Photo] A hot afternoon on the tower.
Dave LaSorte at the crux section.
[Hide Photo] Dave LaSorte at the crux section.
The move
[Hide Photo] The move
Moving closer to the bolt.
[Hide Photo] Moving closer to the bolt.
Mixed Lead for the Tower
[Hide Photo] Mixed Lead for the Tower
John Tyhonas on "The Tower", 5.7 at Mission Gorge, San Diego, CA
[Hide Photo] John Tyhonas on "The Tower", 5.7 at Mission Gorge, San Diego, CA
Chi leading The Tower
[Hide Photo] Chi leading The Tower

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
[Hide Comment] real fun climb. Jan 27, 2008
David Haughton
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] Fun climb! My guide book calls this on a 5.8 but I'm too new to judge if that's accurate. Note that if you don't want to lead it there is a scramble up the right side of the tower and you can drop a toprope. Don't fall on the scramble though, you'll end up sliding down a fairly slippery slab. Jun 2, 2008
steve richert
Taunton MA
[Hide Comment] This is a fun route but I would say for the new leader, the crux move is a bit committing since blowing this move could cause you to ledge out with one or both feet. My wife had an easier time though and she is short...I am 6'3 and it was a real stumper for me. Oct 17, 2009
Caleb Cerling
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Fun Climb, great for new leaders. If your uncomfortable with the crux note that you can cheat to the left and climb up a small slab to access the fourth bolt. May 15, 2010
[Hide Comment] New Leaders Please Take Note:
This is NOT a Sport Climb.
This is a mixed (bolt & gear) climb for 5.7-8 leaders.
New leaders, especially sport leaders, should think twice before running this climb out on only bolts.
If you're an experienced 5.9 leader, go for it.
The 4 bolts were placed in typical Mission Gorge style so that up to 4 gear placements could also be made, depending on your comfort level.
1. 1st piece - low down in first 10 ft, optional.
2. 2nd piece - in horizontal just before first bolt, strongly recommended.
3. 3rd piece - under small overhang just before third bolt, optional large cam. clipping bolt is easy, but serious fall if you slip.
4. 4th piece - after last bolt and before exit (slightly right) for those concerned about running out the finish. May 17, 2010
Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
[Hide Comment] In the online guide by Mr Messier, he mentions climbing the crack to the right of the tower as an equally interesting varition. The climbing to the ledge before the upper half of tower is basically 4th class, but theres is about 9 feet of 5.4 climbing and then a really fun (mission gorge standards) 5.7/5.8 crack section involving pulling over a bulge with a couple food fist jams. For those who have done the tower a million times and are looking for something different this is a good option. Sep 13, 2010
Encinitas, CA
[Hide Comment] 2.22.11 - first lead! I used to put gear before the first bolt and after the last bolt. This is where I started gear placement. Great way to practice. It is a fun route! Aug 12, 2011
[Hide Comment] An easy way to make this a purely sport route is to climb the sloped section to the right of the route, hook the first draw, and get lowered down to the start. This way you have some protection for the first 15 ft of the route and it isn't quite as sketchy. Enjoy Oct 17, 2012
el cajon, CA
[Hide Comment] I rated this 5.8 because of the boulder-esk move near the top. Oct 28, 2012
Josh C
Somewhere out West
  5.7+ PG13
[Hide Comment] Not sure why everyone loves this climb. Its an ok climb especially considering that it is right next to the far superior "As the Crow Flies." Dec 23, 2012
San Diego CA
[Hide Comment] The move off the ledge to the last bolt is scary. Unless you are tall enough to get a quickdraw into the bolt before you make the move. Falling at this point would do some body damage if your not on that last bolt it feels like. Feb 17, 2013
Chase Leoncini
San Diego, California
[Hide Comment] ^^There are four bolts on the tower. The first bolt is like 25' up, if you do the face i recommend getting a piece in, someone said theres a spot.. Bolt 2 is fine and Bolt 3 is the bolt at the ledge, falling before clipping this is most likely and i think most dangerous. Bolt 4 is pretty close to bolt 3 and after the crux move your pretty much standing normal. To help theres a really good hold on the left for lie-backing and clipping bolt 3. :) Feb 28, 2013
Jason Kim
Encinitas, CA
[Hide Comment] Fun route, IMO a sandbag at 5.7, considering the crux move. Mar 31, 2013
BJ Cook
San Diego, California
  5.8- PG13
[Hide Comment] I agree with Jason Kim. The 1st bolt is like 25 feet up and the crux move is harder than 5.7. I watch folks pause at that transfer move for like 5 minutes trying to figure it out all the time. Apr 6, 2015
[Hide Comment] Found a quickdraw yesterday, third bolt up. email me with a description and i can try and get it back to you. May 12, 2015
[Hide Comment] This climb was quite fun and felt safe to me. The climb came down to one move with good holds and a little friction. here are some long arm pics of me solo leading this gem..
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Jul 28, 2015
Micah McAllaster
San Diego, California
  5.9- PG13
[Hide Comment] Easy climb other than the move before the third bolt. You can reach out and up and get yourself clipped before the crux. My first lead without help. I didn't use any extra gear just 4 bolts and an anchor. Jan 2, 2016
Joshua Dee
San Diego, CA
  5.8- PG13
[Hide Comment] Easy until the last clip/ boulder move at the top. Not a big deal either except you risk a deck fall from footholds which are smooth as glass, so be mindful but stay confident. Jan 18, 2016
Will H.
[Hide Comment] If you feel comfortable at the grade, one piece before the first bolt should suffice (in the horizontal). Fun and somewhat committing crux move (5.8-). Feb 6, 2016
Begmar Rabadan
San Diego, CA
[Hide Comment] Hi, can anybody gave me directions on how to get this spot? Please Mar 29, 2016
Scotty Dusek
San Diego
[Hide Comment] I have brought two friends here for their first lead. It a good lead for anyone climbing comfortably at the grade. While one could place gear I don't see any need to so, the first 3/4 of the climb is only 5.5 or 5.6 and is not runout IMO. The crux move is above a ledge, so it's not ideal territory for a fall. If 5.7 is near your limit this isn't the route for you (but if 5.7 is near your limit you should top rope more before you worry about leading anyway).

If you send someone up on their first lead and then follow them up (rather than top roping) be sure to tell them not to put the rope in the dirt around the anchor. There is ample flat clean rock available but new leaders may not realize the importance of keeping the rope clean and just flake it out in the dirt where they arrive. Jul 8, 2016