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Routes in The Academy

Alternative Education T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Diploma T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
Hot For Teacher T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Trad, 200 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Sam Lightner Jr., April 29, 2008
Page Views: 1,797 total, 15/month
Shared By: Sam Lightner, Jr. on Apr 30, 2008
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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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


Unexpectedly, I might have found the best beginner-tower route in the desert. Its not long, its not difficult, and its easy to find. I give it three stars but I do so stating ITS A BEGINNERS CLIMB. If you are looking for long, endurance pumping splitters on your tower, this is not it. INstead, this climb is marked by short pitches of pleasant climbing, a little slot canyon, and an untramelled valley. The finish is great and there is no questioning it is a tower. It has great rock, unique features, and then some soft rock and some lose blocks... All stuff you will need to negotiate when tower climbing

Find the start, and a plaque, beneath a corner on the far right side of the formation.
P1 Climb the corner on hands and finger gear. ITs only about 30 feet to a fixed anchor on a ledge. 30 feet5.9

Proceed back in the slot about 80 feet to a crack that runs up through some huecos and a chimney on the right.

P2 Climb the crack on fingers and hand gear. Its easy, but a little soft. The huecos are cool. Create a belay on the ledge above in the hanging valley. 45 feet, 5.4

That pitch put you in the hanging valley. There may be an easy 5th class way down into this valley from the rim, but you would spend a while trying to find it. Really, the only way in is to climb.
However, its not a private place. The Jeep Trail from Monitor and Merrimac Buttes that reaches Uranium Arch comes right to the rim above the valley. Anyway, facing south in the little valley, you are looking at The Seminary and the back side of The Academy. Walk about 100 feet towards the gap between the two to find the base of pitch 3

P3 Climb the hands and fingers corner to the summit ridge. The flaring pod near the base is good training, as these come up on every tower. If you aren't comfortable with arm barring, you might want a #5. The rap anchor is on the ledge above. 60 ft, 5.9

To summit, you have to climb the last 10 feet of 5.6 sans bolts... and then you have to reverse it. Also something common on towers, but often with a harder grade attached. I spaced the summit register... hope to send one up with someone.

The descent means climbing back down to the ledge, then rapping to the base. Its a big, airy, rappel. Fun.


The start is on the right side (north end) of the tower, but the route climbs up behind the entire formation.


I did the climb with two complete sets from .5 to #5. The emphasis is on finger sizes, like 1's, and hand sizes, like 2.5's. If you are comfortable on those sizes you don't' need much. A #5 is useful on pitch 3 if you are uncomfortable with that size.
You need two 60 meter ropes to reach the ground safely. Its a full 192 foot rappel.
John Braun
Hendersonville, NC
John Braun   Hendersonville, NC
Lots of loose rock. The third pitch, in particular, had a bunch of that sugar-cube like rock in the crack. I'm not sure if any of the gear on the last pitch would have held a fall. This is not a route to forget your helmet. Dec 14, 2011
Travis P  
I'm pretty sure it was on the ledge. We had some chunks come off when we first tried to pull the ropes. The ropes finally came when we tied slings and cord together to extend our ropes and get further from the cliff. Jul 14, 2011
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
Huh.... I wonder how your rope got stuck. I"ve done it three times and had no problems. The rope is away from the main crack. Maybe knot on the ledge? Apr 17, 2011
Travis P  
The rap was the best part (great view), until the ropes wouldn't pull. Probably would be easier to bring a 46m or 50m rope and rap/down solo the climb. Summit was cool too. Second pitch should just be soloed if you do the climb. The hanging valley was really cool. This route is more of an adventure than a climb. If I were a hermit in the Moab area, I would inhabit the hanging valley. The loose block on the third pitch, is more of a loose dirt clod... Apr 16, 2011
Kelly C.
Moab, UT
Kelly C.   Moab, UT
This is a great climb! My first tower in the desert, and it was fantastic. The rappel was amazing. The 3rd pitch is full value. Not having a lot of desert tower experience, I feel like this route lets you get a good "feel", ie offwidth, loose block, and most importantly VIEW! Jul 8, 2008
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
I actually went up on this tower hoping to find some hidden slot with a few cool cracks... the mirrors of the cracks that are on its front side. What I found was what I think will be a great route for aspiring tower climbers. ITs got short pitchs, its relatively solid, and the climbing is pretty easy. It definately gets you to a summit. Apr 30, 2008