Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Trilobite Tower

Original Route T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C1
Type: Trad, Aid, 350 ft, 3 pitches, Grade III
FA: Mike Swanicke, Peter Gram, Andrew Gram 9/29/2012. FFA P1 Mason Earle and Neils Tietze March 2013
Page Views: 2,788 total, 44/month
Shared By: Andrew Gram on Oct 10, 2012
Admins: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

5 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


P1 - Climb the beautiful splitter .5/.75 camalot crack. There is not much size variation on this pitch. 140' 5.12+/13- or C1. Belay at two bolts on a small ledge.

P2 - Climb the chimney to a great ledge with two bolts. A chockstone is slung at the start, and some gear can be placed in cracks within the chimney. 80' 5.9

P3 - Climb a 3 bolt ladder to some free climbing, and then another 10 bolt or so ladder to the summit. The bolt ladder has a lot of face features and should also go free, though some bolts may need to be repositioned(oops). 130' 5.9 C1.

Descent - Rap to the top of P2 with a single 70m rope, and then rap to the ground with a 70m double rope rap. Without 70m ropes, make a double rope rap to the top of P2 and maybe even P1(don't know for sure), single rope rap to the top of P1, and then double rope rap to the ground.


Start up the obvious splitter .5 camalot crack.


Every .5 camalot you can get - at least 6. 4 .75 camalots, 2-3 sets of yellow and red aliens. 1-2 sets of everything else. Big cams optional but potentially useful to sew up the free climbing on P3.

To free climb P1, the suggested rack is:
2 x .4 camalots
11x .5 camalots
10x .75 camalots
1x 1 camalot

Some webbing would be good to extend the summit anchors. They are currently Metolius rap hangers, but it wasn't an easy pull. If you don't have a 70m line you will absolutely have to extend the anchor since a knot surely won't pull.
Cadiz 102
  5.9 C1
Cadiz 102  
  5.9 C1
Great route! Nice work. For pitch 3 use runners.. rope drag! Also pitch 3 after you leave the first 4 bolts a BD .3 and BD .4 was nice to have. Last pitch is awesome! Jun 2, 2017
Paul S
Fruita, CO
Paul S   Fruita, CO
I really enjoyed this tower. The hike in and setting of the tower are beautiful. Each pitch has its own character too.

I feel like I used more .75's than .5's on the 1st pitch, either way, you need a lot of both!

The last pitch you only really need a .3 and a number 4 camalot, along with some slings to extend those pieces and some of the bolts. I really enjoyed this pitch, there were a lot of spots where you have to get out of the aiders, or, like Andrew is saying, it'll probably make a pretty amazing free pitch.

We extended the summit anchor, so the rope pulls fine now.

Thanks for putting in the work to equip this route! Apr 1, 2013
m-earle   USA
Andrew, we hiked in from lower wedge road, north of the canyon. We didn't leave the car until after 2pm and had no idea where we were going, so we unfortunately only had time to climb the first pitch- really awesome pitch, and no gimme either. Mar 5, 2013
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Awesome! Congratulations - I am delighted to see that pitch get freed so quickly.

Which rim did you hike in from? Cane Wash somewhere? The trail approach is really easy.

Did you try the upper pitches? Mar 4, 2013
m-earle   USA
Freed the first pitch with Neils Tietze- high quality crack climbing. Probably 12+ ish if the last 20' of sugary green camalots get cleaned up (imagine placing cams in graham crackers) As it is, probably more like 13-. Gear...

2 x .4 camalots
11x .5 camalots
10x .75 camalots
1x 1 camalot

We hiked down from the rim to get to the tower, instead of taking the trail up the river. Fun, but not reccomended. Cheers to the FA'ers for putting this gem on the map. m Mar 2, 2013
Frosty Weller
Frosty Weller   Colorado
Holy smokes... nice job guys, it looks great. I need to get back out to The Swell and do this! Nov 1, 2012
Greg Gavin
Greg Gavin   SLC, UT
Very cool find Andrew and company. A good candidate for a new free tower in the desert it would seem! Oct 20, 2012
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
The bolt ladder wasn't as long as we feared - there were quite a few features so we were able to do a fair bit of free climbing mixed in with it. There are a lot of face features up there - it'll be a very cool free pitch eventually.

You can see all the way through the tower in the chimney. It is a really cool feature. Oct 11, 2012
Congratulations on your climb. I've been to the base of this in the past and wondered how the top would go? Lots of hand drilling it looks like. Did you do the flake a couple meters to the right of the tower? Oct 11, 2012