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Routes in San Rafael Knob

Karma's Castle in the Air T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Phantom Spire T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Unknown Fat Tower T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Unknown Skinny Tower T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: Frosty Weller, Keen Butterworth: 1992
Page Views: 219 total · 2/month
Shared By: John J. Glime on Mar 18, 2007
Admins: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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This is a beautiful looking tower as seen from I-70. It is also a beautiful looking tower as seen from the south. However, looks can be deceiving, and the western view is not as impressive. However, the climbing is very engaging, the upper section very runout, and by the time you get back to terra firma, you will have a good sense of accomplishment.

Start up a dusty dihedral on the northwest side of the formation. Climb through crumbly rock to a great crack. This leads to the formation's shoulder. Oddly, there is a two bolt, glued-in anchor at this point (with one of the biggest quicklinks I have ever seen.) Climb to the drilled angle above, traverse right to the upper shoulder, and climb unprotected 5.4 to the summit (this is the R section.) A fall at this point would be terrible, the climbing is easy, but the rock is suspect in places. Use your mountaineering judgment and gentle technique on this final section.

Descent: Rap from two drilled angles.

Of note: The summit register had four names in it (two ascents?!) in 15 years. I find this hard to believe, but anyway, after I added my name and comments, as I attempted to screw the lid back in place, it cracked and broke in my hands. I have it now, but will return it either to the summit block or leave it hanging somewhere on the beginning of the route, so that a future ascent party can re-establish it. I will do this the next time I pass that way.


Drive on the Copper Globe Road heading south from the I-70, 114 exit. Drive along this road for approximately 5 miles (from the interstate) and the spire will be on your left right next to the road (100 yards.) High clearance 4WD recommended.


Red aliens to 3.5 camalots help. Multiple finger sizes (.75 camalots) make the nice crack more enjoyable.
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.9 R
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
  5.9 R
The road out to this has deteriorated quite a bit. It is not totally terrible out to Phantom Spire, but a capable high clearance 4WD is definitely required. A Subaru or light duty 4WD will not make it. Oct 10, 2016
Ben Folsom
  5.8 R
Ben Folsom  
  5.8 R
Whoever placed that two bolt anchor on the shoulder chose a really weird place to put the anchor. No idea why it is there. Maura Hahnenberger and I climbed this on Sept. 30th 2007, and there was still no sign of a summit register (I looked all around). Anyway, this is a nice tower with a bit of soft rock near the top. Oct 1, 2007
I just read the forum on the rusting problem of old drilled pins. If anyone would like to replace the drilled pin on this route, with a fatty bolt (in the same spot of course), please feel free. It sounds like Layne Potter repeated this route a couple of times between 2000 and 2003 but he never saw the summit register. He said the new halfway anchor showed up between those ascents. Mar 20, 2007
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.9 R
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
  5.9 R
Too funny John. I couldn't believe it when I opened the register and found no names other than the first ascent in 1992, and its even stranger that you hopped on this most obscure of towers a day later. Another bolt and some better webbing would be a welcme addition to the summit on the next barrage of ascents in 2022.

Anyway, I felt the climbing was solid 5.9 in 2 spots in the dihedral. I also thought the face moves above the drilled angle were very wild for the grade - you don't want to be a 5.8 leader on this. The climbing isn't very good, but the summit is great and the location is even better. The only downside is the rednecks on ATVs and dirt bikes on a road that isn't particularly hard for an ancient jeep cherokee(though i wouldn't want to do it with a subaru). Mar 19, 2007
John J. Glime
Salt Lake City, UT
John J. Glime   Salt Lake City, UT
Ha, ha, ha Andrew! I nearly shit my pants when I opened the summit register and saw your name and the date! I had to yell to Sara and ask her what the date was today, I couldn't believe it. I raced home to beat you to the post! Cheers. Lol. Mar 18, 2007