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Routes in The Royal Tower

Blade, The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Mod. Snow
Boomerang Buttress T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Chase, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A2
Di's Surprise T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A2
East Ridge T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Gargoyle Buttress T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Mod. Snow
Got Lucky T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Jester, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Mod. Snow
Royal Flush T M4
Southeast Face T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Spam and Legs T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c WI4 M5 A2
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Type: Trad, Snow, Alpine, 2000 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: John Mattson, Josh Zimmerman, John Burchey 1999(?)
Page Views: 1,375 total · 21/month
Shared By: Richard Shore on May 20, 2013
Admins: Jared LaVacque, L. Von Dommelheimer

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Access Issue: Register with the NP Mountaineering Headquarters in Talkeetna, AK before climbing in the park! Details


Towards the left margin of the East face of the Royal Tower is a narrow buttress that starts in a toe of clean, white rock. The obvious feature to look for is the "V-shaped" cracks in the clean rock. The Jester takes the left branch of the "V" (crux) before climbing more moderate and wandering pitches up the ridge and finally a ton of 3rd class to the summit. Many parties will probably opt to do just the technical portion of the climb (7 pitches) and rappel from fixed anchors/slings.

Climb moderate snow slopes (40 deg) and cross a bergschrund to access the rock. Scramble easy 5th class up to a small ledge with a single 3/8" bolt (rappel equipped). Anchor in here, ditch the snow gear and switch into rock shoes (bring snow gear if continuing to summit). Tackle the left branch of the "V", up a splitter hands-to-fists crack in a left-facing corner to fixed nut anchor (95'). Up and right from here, following obvious weaknesses and utilizing some fixed gear anchors as you wind up the buttress.


On the left side of the East face of the Royal Tower is a narrow rock buttress that starts in clean white rock. Rappel from fixed slings/anchors with a single 60m rope and downclimb where necessary. A second 60M rope could be left at the single-bolt anchor below P1, allowing for a rappel over the bergschrund.


Standard rack to 4". Doubles in 2-3" sizes are helpful for P1. Extra webbing/cord for rappels, maybe some extra leaver nuts.


Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
Brian Prince   morro bay, ca
Here's some more info... Apparently this was renamed Arizona Highways after the first ascensionists took it to the summit. Climbed 7 pitches in 1999 and named it The Jester. returned the next year and renamed it Arizona Highways, from what I've read in the AAJ

I'm pretty confused. It seems that there are three cracks at the base. The Blade (what Richard describes as the flake/splitter in the orange rock) and the two cracks that make up the obvious "tooth" or "V". Maybe the right crack of the "V" hasn't been climbed and/or named? Above this right crack and The Blade, is a sweet looking corner...

At any rate, here's some beta. We took the left hand crack which is described here; a long, big hands/fists sppppllliiiiiiter in very clean white rock. Later in the season, we had to climb a ~40 foot, fun 5.9 corner before and to the right of the lone bolt and main crack. One could have climbed directly to the bolt/splitter but it looked easy/lame/dirty.

On the 3rd pitch, one has the choice of an overhanging offwidth feature or a sweet 5.10 corner to the right. This corner is probably the crux of the route. And it's got an insane death block at the top fwiw. It seems like this is the way people go though as there was slingage, even though the wide crack is the more obvious line. Some more sweet cracks take you to the end of the hard climbing. I guess it was around 7 pitches altogether. You may or may not have to pull the rope back out depending on comfort/route finding. We encountered no snow until the actual summit (well, south, smaller summit) in late July. We were able to find water in multiple places though.

A #4 c4 is highly recommended and can be used/is the only pro in many places (not just the first pitch).

We went to the summit and decided to rappel the Gargoyle Buttress since we had been up it before and seemed way more attractive than downclimbing endless, loose 3rd class. If you decide to go back down the route, consider going down the ridge to the Munchkin. The route is most certainly a grade IV if you go to the summit

Very worthwhile with a lot of quality 5.10 on clean rock. I'd definitely recommend just going to the top of the hard climbing for one of the best routes in the area. Oct 4, 2013

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