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Routes in Leaning Tower

Blinded by the Light S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Craggy Crack T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Lichen Attack Crack T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Mainliner S 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
Original Route (aka Mean Leaner) T 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Sausage Candles S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Second Thought S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Tiny Propeller S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Tupelo Chain Sex S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Unknown S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Will of the Wasp S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Type: Trad, 100 ft
FA: Cammo Burns, belayed by Mike Schillaci, October, 1989. FFA: Luke Laeser, May 1997
Page Views: 1,612 total, 14/month
Shared By: Camster (Rhymes with Hamster) on Apr 18, 2008
Admins: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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The Leaning Tower is just like it sounds. A big leaning tower. In the center of it is a prominent crack system that starts out fairly thin and widens as it goes up. The crack was first climbed to about halfway up (on aid) by Chris Foster and George Rinker in 1978. They left a bundle of pitons and anchor material when they bailed off. Cam Burns (with help from Mike Schillaci and Paul Fehlau) then climbed the entire crack in late 1989 (A2). It was later free-climbed by Luke Laeser who I think renamed it Mean Leaner.


A mixture of gear from thin stuff to wide cams. [If aiding, a shitload of gear from 000C3 to #4 Camelot, and camhooks]


I think fixed nut is from a mike freeborne attempt. he only tried it once, seemed like he needed to go left at crux Aug 29, 2013
The Mean Leaner is the proudest, most sustained, bad ass, pure hard crack climb in the state of New Mexico.

In the early 90s Mike Lyons and I hiked back to the Leaning Tower (encouraged by Cam Burns) with the idea of aiding the route to the left of the Original Route only to discover it had been completely bolted (Chattanoogan Chris Chesnutt is rumored to have bolted this route while passing through the area. Unrelated, you may remember the mohawked guy featured on a Climbing Mag cover in the early 90s climbing at Tennessee's Buzzard Point).

Slightly confused but still psyched we decided to repeat Cam's route. What we experienced was an almost entirely overhanging 100ft splitter without any breaks or rests. It took the better part of a day to repeat the route, placing a half dozen pins on our yo-yo style ascent, so we could each lead some of it. At the time free climbing it seemed impossible.

In 1997 I returned to LA after a stint in Grand Junction and rediscovered how awesome this crack is. After serveral lichen scrubbing/TR sessions I confirmed that it was something that I could eventually free climb. After about two months of attemps and a couple pretty big whippers, in May of 97, belayed by Mike Lyons, I finally finished the route (pink pointing it) with pre-placed gear. For my ascent there was only one fixed pin, a knifeblade, in the middle of the crux. This piece amazingly held half a dozen 20-30 ft. falls while attempting the route.

Jon Dela repeated the route about a month later, in a similar pink point style, making a much speedier ascent than mine and confirmed the route's greatness. Looking back now, this is one of my favorite routes anywhere. The climbing is amazing and the setting is gorgeous! Any crack climber looking for hard splitters should definitely check this one out!

A recent observation of the route shows 3 fixed pins at the beginning of the route and some kind of fixed nut near the crux. Mar 26, 2013
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
Aided this using a shitload of gear from 000C3 to #4 Camelot. Also used camhooks for the start (probably easier just to free this section) and one thin section up high.

We did it on a 60m rope which was just long enough, so length is around 100 feet. Aug 22, 2008