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Tower Rock, NE Face (Brittle Power)

5.9+ A1 PG13, Trad, Aid, 400 ft (121 m), 3 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 2 from 1 vote
FA: James Garrett and Cameron Burns, 21 June 2008
Utah > Northeast Utah > Flaming Gorge > Sheep Creek

Description

This is the largest free standing desert tower in Sheep Creek and the Flaming Gorge area. Extensive recon and research into the climbing history on this tower proved useless, as obscure drilled sandstone threaded anchors were discovered only after arriving on the top!!

"Just saw your post on MP. That's a cool line you picked. The line we did was all free (~5.10R) and approached via the gully on the backside. I think 5 short pitches due to rope drag (lots of drag when the rope is slicing through every bulge). Good ledges, sketchy gear, some wild passages. The fixed gear is a mix of drilled army rings and v-threads all drilled free on the lead. I though we left a register on top but maybe it blew off. We gave our line a typically vulgar name, certainly something to do with sheep, but I can't remember what it is. Maybe Hank knows, he's less senile than me."

A Note we received from the legendary Verm himself after our climb....John Sherman writing about the FA with Hank Jones

Paul Tusting deserves the credit for showing us this one and he brilliantly led the first pitch during the first attempt in May 2008.
We left a summit register on top. I would suspect that this tower, for many reasons which will soon become apparent, could become quite a bit more popular than the San Rafael Swell's Lightbulb??

Pitch #1: A mixed pitch of free and aid climbing up the black and brittle steep slab of rock that leads to the NE shoulder and a two-bolt belay ledge. 5.9++, A1+, 45m.

Pitch #2: The way is obvious up the steep, mostly blank overhanging NE headwall, nailing where you can to a great ledge and two-bolt bomber belay (reassuring for the second!!!!). A1+, 55m.

Pitch #3: Scramble up the ridge past a rusted, fixed drilled ring angle (placed by Sherman's FA party....strong work, btw) to a unique and elaborate sandstone thread anchor and a beautiful desert tower summit. 5.7, 20m.

Location

Park beneath it on the paved road about 50m down canyon from a road sign that says, " Tower Rock Viewpoint" with a camera on it. Wade across the creek and ascend a steep narrow gully on the north side about 10 minutes to a ramp /ledge system that traverses right... towards a shelf system that takes the climber to the base of the NE shoulder.

Rappel the route.

Protection

All drilled holes left filled. QDs, many carabiners, slings, beaks, Camalots to #4, Toucans, KBs, long big Z-pitons, misc. piton assortment.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

James rapping off.
[Hide Photo] James rapping off.
Tower Rock from another perspective
[Hide Photo] Tower Rock from another perspective
"James, he's a RINO."<br>
<br>
("Republican In Name Only.")
[Hide Photo] "James, he's a RINO." ("Republican In Name Only.")
Tower Rock from the road.
[Hide Photo] Tower Rock from the road.
Making friends in the campground. ("Vote for Obamba").
[Hide Photo] Making friends in the campground. ("Vote for Obamba").
V-thread anchors on the summit.
[Hide Photo] V-thread anchors on the summit.
James G. signing the summit register he brought up for the climb.
[Hide Photo] James G. signing the summit register he brought up for the climb.
James on pitch 2.
[Hide Photo] James on pitch 2.
Line topo of Brittle Power
[Hide Photo] Line topo of Brittle Power
The Black Brittle slab down low coming out of the trees to the NE headwall.
[Hide Photo] The Black Brittle slab down low coming out of the trees to the NE headwall.
Tower Rock from the road with the route on the left skyline.
[Hide Photo] Tower Rock from the road with the route on the left skyline.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Way to finish it up James, particularly in the heat. Also, kudos to The Verm and Hank as I did a ton of recon to scope for signs of previous ascents. That fact that they did it all free and minimized signs of passage is pretty bad ass. I think that rock is straight up sketchy.

While leading the first pitch of Brittle Power, I popped a 1/2" removable bolt high-steppin’ and the 1/2" X 3” bolt that held the fall almost pulled (I could peer into the hole and removed it with a nut tool). I replaced both these with new bolts, so there are two open holes on the first pitch (I think there are about 5-6 bolts on the first pitch).

Also, the exposure at the notch is a surprising Mind F*ck. Going from a protected slab to a windy notch and a very steep pitch on a 500’ tower is dramatic.

If you go visit this place, please watch the erosion in the approach gully. I could see my footprints from a recon last fall, when James and I went up this summer. For photos from our first attempt and another (little) tower near by, check out:
facebook.com/album.php?aid=… Jul 1, 2008
[Hide Comment] The V-thread at the top was left by Albert Harris most likely. A few WY climbers have been in and around the Flaming Gorge and Sheep Creek areas for some years. Dec 12, 2013
[Hide Comment] The V-thread was placed by John Sherman and Hank Jones in 2008. Dec 13, 2013
[Hide Comment] Oh I didn't realize that it was that recent (2008) of a placement. Thanks Dec 19, 2013