Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Lotus Flower Tower

Southeast Face T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 2000 ft, 18 pitches, Grade V
FA: A: James P. McCarthy, Tom Frost, Harthon (Sandy) Bill, 1968. FFA Steve Levin, Mark Robinson, Sandy Stewart, 1977.
Page Views: 39,393 total, 297/month
Shared By: Jay Knower on Jan 7, 2007 with updates
Admins:

You & This Route


19 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:


     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:


-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
    -none-

Description

The best rock climb in the world? Most routes to which this moniker is added may seem insignificant compared to the SE Face of Lotus Flower Tower. The route climbs perfect alpine granite for 18 pitches to an amazing summit.

The climb is all about uniformity. The first three pitches climb a well-defined left facing corner. The next five or six pitches climb a long chimney. Then, the fun starts. After a short left facing corner, the last ten pitches or so climb cracks and knobs on the exposed and narrowing face.

Pitch 1: Climb a left-facing corner to a fixed belay. 5.8

Pitch 2: Continue up this corner to a fixed belay 5.9

Pitch 3: Follow the corner until it's end and exit right, skirting below a large roof. This pitch is often wet, but when dry, the exit moves feel about 5.10a.

Pitch 4: Since you are on the face now, wander up the face to the base of a long chimney. 5.7

Pitches 5-9: Climb up the 5.7 chimney. The chimney is long but secure. It's possible and advisable to simul-climb this section, especially if you're doing the route in a day.

Pitch 10: Wander up and right to a large ledge. This ledge is big enough to park a school bus on, well, probably a short bus. 5.8 This ledge is an excellent bivy, as it's totally flat.

Pitch 11: Climb a big left facing corner, 5.9+, to an amazing small ledge at the very edge of the face.

Pitches 12-15: Follow parallel cracks up the face of the tower. Though you protect in the cracks, the preponderance of strange diorite knobs encourages face climbing. There are many ways to ascend this section. Just follow knobs to the base of an unmistakable roof. 5.9

Pitch 16: Climb past the obvious three-foot roof. This move is easily aided, making the route 5.10 C1. Otherwise, expect a 5.11- pull past the route. This move is much more difficult than any other move on the route. It is possible to traverse right and climb a splitter hand crack through the roof, but this may present its own set of problems. Sustained 5.9 cracks lead up to the belay.

Pitches 17 and 18: Gradually widening cracks lead to the summit. The last pitch contains some 5.8 offwidth climbing, but it's really not too bad.

Descent: Rap the route. The upper part of the route has fixed belay stations, so rapping is straightforward (just be careful about snagging your rope on the knobs). Once you reach the ledge, the rap route diverges from the climbing route and heads down the face. There is a serious epic potential here as the stations are tough to find on the big face. Stay out of the chimney at all costs. I know. If you end up rapping back into the chimney, you're in for a long and slow descent as your rope gets hung up on every possible feature.

George Bell's website has a great topo and tips for climbing this route in a day: http://gibell.net/cirque/

Protection

Standard rack, heavy on the stoppers for the upper pitches. Two 60 meter ropes.
This is one of the coolest routes I've ever done. The knob climbing on the middle pitches was the closest I've ever come to gym style climbing in the alpine realm. You plug gear into the thin seams and pull and stand on these super cool chicken heads. Camping in Fairy Meadows is awesome, but the area is very sensitive - please tread lightly. Dec 5, 2007
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
 
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
 
Just climbed this a few weeks ago and it definitely lived up to all the hype.
Just FYI to anyone that wants to do an ultra good deed and replace some stuff, every anchor, including on the rappel route bypassing the chimney, is a huge nest of tat. There's generally at least one decent bolt at each anchor but there's also a lot of not amazing stuff. Jul 26, 2017
Jaddles  
Link to my trip report jadelittlewood.wordpress.co… Nov 17, 2016
Spencer Weiler
Salt Lake city
Spencer Weiler   Salt Lake city
Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
Brian Prince   morro bay, ca
new link for video

youtu.be/hVkgSZUwn3k May 2, 2012
Camilla  
@ Brad; Me too. I'm have a loooong distance to The Cirques. I think I'll go there in 2009 or 2010 Jul 19, 2008
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
The video above is excellent. It is great to see such elite climbers having a blast on this route. I was expecting to hear Caldwell or Rodden complaining about how easy the climbing was, but there is none of this. There is a great sequence of Beth climbing in a snowstorm near the end. Dec 12, 2007
Brad Gobright
1994 Honda Civic
Brad Gobright   1994 Honda Civic
I want to do this climb soooo bad. If only it were closer to home Dec 2, 2007
jtwalter
Orem, UT
jtwalter   Orem, UT
Great video of Beth Rodden, Tommy Caldwell, Arnaud Petit and Stephanie Bodet climbing Lotus Flower Tower.

dailymotion.com/video/xh15m… Nov 8, 2007