Type: Trad, 180 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Steve Johnson, Charlie Fowler, Kevin Dunkak, 1996
Page Views: 11,717 total · 100/month
Shared By: John Peterson on Sep 8, 2009
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

48 Opinions

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Utah has Castleton, Arizona has the Mace, Oregon has Monkey Face, and Colorado has Psycho Tower. This is a fine route on a fine tower - a must do for those who appreciate a good summit.

Although generously bolted, this isn't a sport climb. Trad gear and skills are needed!

Pitch 1: start from a bolted anchor at the saddle on the north side. Follow two bolts up and step right (big air!!) into a crack / corner. Climb this to a ledge, up a step to another ledge (fixed nut), past the rap anchor on the left up a short corner to yet another ledge up and right.

Pitch 2: follow bolts to the right. It seems a little airy at the start, but you haven't seen anything yet! You arrive at an amazing stance at the left of the huge beak. Three more bolts take you right and up to a large ledge. The topo says "exposed" and Charlie's not kidding. The pucker factor is at max here. Your feet are just inches above the void - a fall would leave you hanging in space. I'd suggest leaving a long sling on the middle bolt to pull up on if you blow the move - lowering out is NOT an option! This has just as much air as Rosy Crucifixion except you're even more in space than that. Fortunately this spot isn't long and the bolts are close together. It is easily aided by pulling on biners (I should know ...).

This pitch gains little elevation and takes you almost 180 degrees around the tower.

Pitch 3: follow 4 bolts and a short crack to the top. This has a few hard moves (9+) but is well protected.

Many of the hard moves were height-dependent - shorter climbers found the crux easier but other parts harder.


Start from the "crow's nest" like saddle on the north side of the tower. A double bolt anchor marks the belay stance. A short but exposed section of 4th class leads to the start.

Rap in one 150' or two 75' drops. If you have a single rope, be careful to look for the mid-height anchor as you go up.


The first pitch takes a variety of cams from #3 or 4 down to small ones. A couple of hand-size cams are needed on the last pitch.
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
I witnessed Czech climbing legends, Peter and Zorka Prachtel free solo this thing. At the time, Peter was 68 and Zorka 60. I regret not telling Charlie about their feat. Check out the topo Peter drew of his traverse of Long's Peak the same summer in my profile. Sep 9, 2009
PTZ   Chicago/Colorado
Not your average desert tower. Good, little outing. Sep 14, 2010
Kevin Sainio
Durango, CO
Kevin Sainio   Durango, CO
Sweet tower. I would have to say that 5.9+ seems a bit steep. If you are a confident 5.9 climber, you shouldn't have a problem. The only problem is you will wish it were longer. Jun 13, 2011
Aaron Ihinger
Aaron Ihinger   Ridgway,CO
This would have been a really sweet tower climb if my 12 y.o. son's 14 y.o. buddy hadn't stolen my truck and driven it to Phoenix while I was circling around to its back side for the final pitch! Oct 15, 2011
Alexander Nees
Grand Junction, CO
Alexander Nees   Grand Junction, CO
Good rock, good bolts, fun climbing, an incredible but well-protected traverse pitch, beautiful views and no people! What else could you want? ...maybe a little more length, but if you do the direct start it feels like a substantial route. Stellar climb all around, and well worth the drive down there just for this one route. Nov 6, 2011
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
This route on Psycho Tower is super fun. Never scary nor difficult but with some wild exposure and great summit. Extremely well-protected too. One doesn't need much of a rack other than ~10 slings/draws. We only used two pieces of gear on the entire route (on pitch 2); a red C3 and a #2 Camalot.

Psycho Tower makes for a great introduction to desert tower climbing.

vimeo.com/37109890 Feb 23, 2012
The second pitch of the original Pyscho-Path (inspired by Talking Heads song Psycho Killer) was protected with a well-hammered large bong and our only big, horizontal Friend among other tricks.

Some traverse bolts were later added, lowering the rated difficulty on the second pitch.

My hand-drilled 3/8ths x 3" anchor below the summit pitch could use replacement if not already updated.

I strongly recommend leader and second carry 2 prussiks each. Never heard they were needed, but neither Charlie nor I wanted to be stuck flailing 'round in that psycho-space.

Steve Johnson
Telluride, CO Nov 12, 2013
Mickey Guziak
Grand Junction
Mickey Guziak   Grand Junction
Bring a pen for the summit register. The last people that climbed this thing on 4/20/2015 somehow lost the pen. I'm guessing they were a bit stoned and dropped it, or they got carried away by raptors. Either way, I wrote my name with a piece of grass. May 4, 2015
double delay
4 Corners
double delay   4 Corners
This thing is awesome! Well-protected, the length is not super committing, really fun smash and grab afternoon. Nov 25, 2018