Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Argon Tower

North Northeast T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
West Face T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Type: Trad, 250 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: John Pease and Steve Cheyney ‘72
Page Views: 6,008 total, 45/month
Shared By: Brad Brandewie on Feb 5, 2007
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

16 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Raptor Closures 2017: Check status and details at:… -Read about Anchor Replacement and Restrictions… in Arches National Park Details
RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek Details


If you free this route, you are a true desert free climber.

Pitch 1 – Climb a thin crack in a right facing corner to a ledge. There used to be an anchor here but it has been stripped of it’s hangers. Continue up the crack as it widens from #3 to #4.5 Camalot over the next 50 feet and belay at a fixed anchor in the alcove. (5.11 or C1)

Pitch Two – Wiggle out the bombay chimney and continue up the crack passing some less than stellar rock along the way. Belay at the fixed anchor on the shoulder. (5.10- or 5.9 C1)

Pitch Three – This pitch is shared with the North Northeast route. Climb past the lone pin to a small ledge and then make a couple easy but serious free moves to the summit. (5.8 C0)

Rappel the Route


Approach using a wash on the north side of the tower. Look at the summit shot below to see where this wash leaves the main drainage.


Two sets of Camalots up to #4.5. 1 set of nuts (mostly medium to large). 1 set of small tri-cams. Extras in the #4-#5 range might not be a bad call if you’re going to be aiding or if you don’t love offwidths. 1 screamer.
20 kN

20 kN    
West face, AKA Darude Sandstorm, is like a beach—literally. I am pretty sure this route has more sand on it than the entire Sahara Desert has in it. The route starts out in some really dirty, sandy, overly soft rock and then continues into a #4 wide fists. Clip the 1st belay, which of course is some old drilled angles, and then pull the chimney move. My partner couldent squeeze through with his helmet on, so he left it in the chimney. By the time we got down his helmet was filled with a pool of sand. The entire time I was belaying him I felt like I was on the bottom end of an hourglass. If this route is a classic, I cant possibly fathom what the locals consider to be choss. Even by North Dakota standards, calling this thing a classic is a stretch. On the upside, if you need some sand for a housing project, just attach some 5-gallon buckets to your gear loops and by the time you reach the 1st belay they will be entirely full. Apr 10, 2015
Climbed this with Cameron Tague, 2000. He led the first pitch all free, no hesitation, no falls, no hangs. I understand Bret Ruckman (or was it Marco?) freed it much earlier. Mar 9, 2013
Ben Folsom  
I just found a stack of pictures that Erica sent me before she was killed climbing in Pakistan. She was a great and talented climbing partner. This is nearing the top of what is now considered pitch 1. I think we split it into two and I belayed on the ledge at the top of the thin section. I remember her cruising this fist/offwidth crack. Judging by my ridiculous expression, I didn't handle it nearly as well as she.

Dec 24, 2011
clay meier
clay meier  
This route is very hard. The crux for me was the second pitch above the offwidth squeeze chimmney. I aided a lot of this section. Offset cams might have helped with the flaring sandyness. I can lead 5.11 clean in the desert and this was not even close to what I could free... It is an amazing summit though. we rapped the route on one 70 meter (I dont think a 60 would have done it) Sep 17, 2009
Mike, glad to hear you "enjoyed" yourself on the quality Arches entrada. Thanks for the info on my missing 3.5 camalot. -Matt May 15, 2008
Mike   Phoenix
I found this climb quite scary and struggled on it. The cracks are full of sand and dirt. After thrashing & whining a bit I decided to rest on a seemingly well-placed nut, which then pulled through the rock (mud?) in the crack.

If you do this route I would recommend bringing 3 #4 Camalots.

EDIT: Matt I didn't see your cam anywhere. May 11, 2008
I climbed this route on 4-12-08. Once I got home and reracked, I realized I was missing a BD 3.5 camalot. It most likely has a small strip of orange tape on the stem nearest the lobes. If anyone climbs the West face and happens to find it either on the climb or the approach, please let me. Thanks Apr 22, 2008
S. Green book gives drastically different ratings than C. Burns' (kind of think Green was right on and Burns is way off). Nov 12, 2007
Ben Folsom  
I meant the first pitch only was pretty hard. Above those anchors (which were stripped) where the crack is wider I was thinking of as the second pitch. The section above those anchors is rated 5.9 in Cameron Burns desert book. It was pretty damn hard I thought. Nov 9, 2007
Ben Folsom  
Erica Kutcher and I climbed this route on Oct. 9th 2004. We swapped leads and both of us climbed the route entirely free. I remember the first and second pitches being harder than expected. Nov 9, 2007
Eric Bjornstad's book rates the first pitch as 5.11+, A1.
Has anyone done this as a free climb on the lead and not on toprope?
It seemed light years away from any 5.11 grade to me. The rest of the pitches seemed rated correctly. It's quite soft rock and I'm wondering if it has been freed by anyone in the last few years at the grade of 5.11. Nov 3, 2007