Type: Trad, Aid, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Paul Ross and Paul Gardner: Oct. 1999
Page Views: 2,979 total · 36/month
Shared By: Mike McMahon on Mar 17, 2012
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: 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


First... Bjornstad's description is backwards in Desert Rock IV regarding the north and south towers. This route is listed as "Kachina Tower North," in his guide.

This seemingly minor detail cost me many hours of route finding! I also made the mistake of thinking the topo for "Beyond the 80th Meridian" belonged to this route. After aiding half-way up a loose crack right of the 80th Meridian route... the epiphany came! - this route does not start at the base of the tower!

From the descent into Hell Roaring Canyon, walk downstream past the obvious Kachina Towers above. A major wash leads up and left into a basin below the towers. After following this wash you will be forced to hike left (south) on slickrock toward the notch between the towers (80th Meridian), or right and up toward weaknesses in the cliff above (this route).

P1: 200' 5.5. Climb an angling ramp / crack that provides easy access to a bench 20' above you. Once on the bench, look for a tree to belay from. Nearly every tree has rap-tat on it.

P2: 60' 5.7. Climb a short hand crack leading to yet another bench above. Again, belay at a tree.

P3: 500'? 4th class - 5.7. Traverse on the ledge you have gained toward the towers. After one rope length, you will find yourself in a huge bowl. Continue toward the towers. (We unroped in this bowl and hiked the obvious ridge toward the South Tower.)

P4: 50' 5.7 Climb an obvious off-width crack (4" - 7"). Belay at the top of the crack.

P5: 100' 5.8 A0. Climb the bolt ladder to the summit. This requires a few free moves onto ledges. There is a single bolt and slung blocks to belay from at the summit.


One single rap to the north leads to the opposite side of the tower (you may wonder how the tower is even standing after viewing this side).

An additional single rap from a slung boulder leads to the notch between the towers.

A double rap from bolts leads to the ground. There are additional anchors about half-way down. Maybe this could be done with one rope? I didn't try.


Single Rack: 0.4" - 4", stoppers, etriers, a few tie-offs and double ropes for rappels. A 5"-7" piece would be useful on the fourth pitch, but is not necessary. Cordellete/webbing to back-up rappels.
Ian Pierce
  5.7 C0 PG13
Ian Pierce  
  5.7 C0 PG13
Fun route, the approach was exciting (although scorching hot on the return in July)
We used 2 #1, 1 #2, and 1 #4 camalot for the 2nd pitch.
The first pitch wasn't protectable, same with third pitch,
The fourth pitch is also hard/unprotectable, only piece we got on this was a #2 TCU half way up(although not sure we did the right OW crack, there are several.)
I believe there are 7 or 8 pitons/bolts on the final pitch, I recommend not clipping the final one to avoid rope drag. Jul 3, 2012
Another fun tower tick. The downclimb to the basin is tricky to find, but once found goes fairly easy. The climb is the basin at the very end where all the trees and ledges are. Mostly scrambling with 5th class climbing. I was able to tunnel in the ow and exit out the backside- I had to remove rack and helmet. The aid pitch was interesting. Apr 2, 2013
Dana Prosser
Dana Prosser   Boulder
Descent into canyon: from where you park look directly across arm of canyon to north side. This series of ledges (looks improbable) leads you down to valley floor. The picture on route description shows a ledge that is crawled on to get there..
Route location: this route is located on the west side of the formation.
Route starts about 500ft to the right of beyond the 80th meridian. Climb several hundred feet up to the start of this route on slabby low angle rock.
Fun mellow adventure! Apr 4, 2013
paul bucher
moab, utah
  5.9+ A0+ PG13
paul bucher   moab, utah
  5.9+ A0+ PG13
crazy good stuff. a bit of a sandbag. the directions sound a bit vague but work well enough if your there and follow them. although, from the other comments it sounds like we pulled it a little differently. we pulled the left side of the wash from the tree and talus high point. angled up and right on a crack/ramp like it said. poor pro and harder than 5.5. more like 5.7. pitch #2 was easy enough (5.6) and the best 15 feet of crack on the thing. pretty much a scramble to the base of the off width from there. we agree with the 5.7 for the O/W. bondo placed a 4, 5, and 6 camalot on that one. bring a least one fattie or your going solo. the money pitch had the usual pins hanging 1/2 way out. i felt the first bit of mandatory free climbing was about 5.8. however i thought the move off the last pin was a lot closer to 5.10 than 5.8. perhaps i pulled it wrong. we rapped off the south side to the base of the O/W with a single 70. then walked back above the route and made 2 easy raps from trees to the deck. cleaned and replaced webbing and added rap hardware. if your rapping the north side, bring 5 miles of webbing. it's a mess from the top down. sic little bag. big adventure. fun. good air and great location with stellar views. May 7, 2013
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
Aside from the last 2 pitches, the route is more of a hike plus a few boulder problems. The setting and varied topology help offset the lack of sustained climbing. Mar 10, 2014
Wally   Denver
Best rope system for this route is a single 70 meter rope. A single 60 meter rope may be sufficient, not sure.

Ian's beta I have a few disagreements with. The first and third pitches are protectable. The third pitch is tough to protect the opening moves for the leader, but a couple of small cams protect the second. Also, if you don't clip the last piton on the final pitch and you blow the tricky move past that, you would fall a long way, possibly decking on the ledge below. Clip the last piton!, and deal with the slight rope drag that ensues.

To protect the OW pitch 4, a #6 camalot is nice. A #5 is probably sufficient.

To descend, a single rap from the summit to the base of the OW pitch 4. Then coil the rope and walk back to the saddle (top of pitch 3). From the saddle, do a short rap to the first ledge. From this ledge, walk skiers left to the end of the ledge and to the biggest tree. This ledge has some exposed spots - might want to stay roped up. From the big tree, one long rap gets you off the technical terrain.

Cool tower, cool summit! Apr 22, 2014
moab, utah
jakobi   moab, utah
It's possible to rappel through the notch between the towers with one 70m rope. I would recommend bringing along some extra webbing to beef up some of the anchors however. It's possible to avoid the first two "pitches" by hiking up the right talus field (see Paul Bucher's photo of the first pitches) and doing an easy 5th class move to reach the right side of the ledge that leads into the hand crack pitch. This will save some time on a somewhat lengthy approach to reach the actual climbing, but then again the clever approach is kind of the meat of the whole experience aside from the excellent summit of course. Better yet disregard the convoluted beta and just go have an adventure! Nov 6, 2014
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
A little bit of history of the first ascent.Half way up the final bolt ladder the piton hammer head fell off ! (Forest) We only had one hammer so had to retreat back to the hardware store in Moab buying a $8 claw hammer... returning the following day to place the final points of aid. Nov 8, 2015
Mickey Guziak
Grand Junction
Mickey Guziak   Grand Junction
Didn't realize the condition report jumps the comment to the top and skipping over it, we went for this tower unknowing of the missing last bolt. I will confirm that it goes free still though. Crawl to the right on the mud ledge after pulling the mantle move after the 5th bolt. I placed the absolute worst horizontal #4 and #3 cams I've ever seen, and traversed out using feet on the face. Stand up and equalize a .3 and whatever else you can manage to shove in. From here just make a few more easy free moves (5.7ish) and you are there! The key is to not fall. Mar 26, 2017
Trevor Bowman
Flagstaff, AZ
Trevor Bowman   Flagstaff, AZ
The final drilled angle, which had pulled out last year, has been replaced with a good 1/2" bolt by some kind soul. It restores the route to its original status, and negates the sketchy free finish Mickey describes. Apr 13, 2018