Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Aces High

5.9, Trad, Alpine, 800 ft, 5 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2.9 from 16 votes
FA: Tyler Phillips, Nate Brown P1&P2, Tyler Phillips, Mike Tea P3&P4 FA of Sub Summit TP & PC crew 2008
Utah > Uinta Mountains > Hayden Peak > Aces High Tower
Access Issue: Located in a National Forest Fee Area Details


P1- Climb the north facing short corner moving right into an open book. Shuffle right again to gain a good ledge and two bolt belay. 5.9 100ft.

P2- Climb up and right in the shallow dihedral, the rock becomes a bit loose but the climbing is easy. Jump the gap if continuing up or belay from 2 bolt anchor. 5.8 90ft.

P3- On the right side of the "step" climb up crack features on vertical rock passing a fixed pin. Belay at two bolts or walk back and make a belay 5.7+ 60ft.

P4- Find the fixed pin on the left side of the "Step", ramble up the arete making some fun moves. Belay at the 2 bolts or walk back and make a belay. 5.7+ 40ft

P5- 3rd class slope 400ft

P6- This is the southern sub summit of Hayden. Find the right facing corner, climb up this to a small ledge clip the pin and pad to the summit. 5.6 45ft.

Walking off P3-P6 is an option, take the gully to the south. Alternatively you can rap each section, except the sub summit, which is a downclimb on the north east corner.


Located 200ft south from the main Iron Hayden Wall. Look for the obvious tower. Approach from the base of the Iron Hayden Wall hike to the right and up aiming for the right side of the tower formation in the gully to the south of Iron Hayden Wall. Some scrambling will be required to gain the large ledge below the tower.


Rack to #3 camalot, slings

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Alternate 4th pitch goes straight up face.
[Hide Photo] Alternate 4th pitch goes straight up face.
Pitch 6 (final pitch). Original line is red (I think), variation is in yellow. Fixed pin and anchors are marked.
[Hide Photo] Pitch 6 (final pitch). Original line is red (I think), variation is in yellow. Fixed pin and anchors are marked.
Pitch 3. Left (yellow) line is the variation. Right (red) line is the FA line. Fixed piton and anchors are marked.
[Hide Photo] Pitch 3. Left (yellow) line is the variation. Right (red) line is the FA line. Fixed piton and anchors are marked.
Fixed? piton on alternate 4th pitch.
[Hide Photo] Fixed? piton on alternate 4th pitch.
3rd pitch variation.
[Hide Photo] 3rd pitch variation.
Start of Aces High.
[Hide Photo] Start of Aces High.
The Might Mike Tea on the 4th pitch FA.
[Hide Photo] The Might Mike Tea on the 4th pitch FA.
3rd pitch FA
[Hide Photo] 3rd pitch FA
The start of Aces High. The route takes the obvious open book in the middle.
[Hide Photo] The start of Aces High. The route takes the obvious open book in the middle.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Fun Route. Fun Position. Go have some fun. Sep 26, 2014
Craig Martin
[Hide Comment] A good approach to Aces High Tower is to climb Killers and traverse south. Sep 30, 2015
Tristan Higbee
Ogden, UT
[Hide Comment] I really enjoyed this route. The first two pitches were the best, and then I felt like each subsequent pitch was less good than the one before it. All were fun, though. Three stars for the climbing and one extra star for the location and overall adventure. Why not?

The pitch ratings seemed about right to me. We moved the belay 50 feet back from the top of pitch 2 to the base of pitch 3. We climbed up the middle of the pitch 3 block instead of up the right side. And we went straight up on pitch 4 (to the piton) instead of up the left arete. This was harder than it looked, but still 5.7+ish I guess. Both of these variations to what's described in the beta above just looked more natural and seemed to make more sense.

We weren't quite sure which of the several crack systems on the little sub-summit of the final pitch was the one described in the description. We went up the slot-like one on the left side. This arched right and met up with the ledge/piton as described. In hindsight, I think that the FA team probably climbed the crack system that starts just left of a large roof and goes straight up?

From the top of the little sub-summit, we downclimbed the northeast side and then went to the main summit of Hayden, bypassing the large cliffs by finding a short 4th/5th class chimney on the right/east. Great views from the top. We could see the entire Wasatch crest from Willard and Ben Lomond in the north to Nebo in the south. Then we walked back down to the top of pitch 4 and rapped the route. The anchors all looked good, and the rappelling was quick and straightforward.

If you don't want to climb Killers, the best (IMO) way to approach the base of the route is to scramble up the gully (3rd/4th class) on the right side of the formation. See this photo for the approach options.

For reference, here's how long it took us:

0:00 – Left parking lot
1:00 – At base of Iron Hayden
1:15 – Started climbing
4:45 – Topped out on sub-summit
5:24 – Topped out on main Hayden Peak summit

And then it took us 2.5 more hours to get back to the parking lot from the main summit. Jul 14, 2016
[Hide Comment] Tristan, thanks for adding the photos! Thought that P3 needed clarification.

Killers was the way to go. Quality pitch.

P3 Per your pic, started on yellow and finished on red. Two pins fixed on upper half.

P4 Obvious center crack w/pin 5.8

Encountered wildlife near the top of the climb.
Wonderful outing! Jul 17, 2016
Brock Jones
Provo, UT
[Hide Comment] Didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Basically you climb a short face, walk a short distance to another really short face and climb that, walk another short distance to another short face, then put your shoes on and walk for 10-20 minutes up scree to reach the last really short face. With the exception of the first 2 pitches the climbing wasn't very interesting and having to stop and unrope after only 50 ft of climbing several times during the route just kinda killed the experience. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I went into it thinking of it more as a means to summit rather than a rock climb (the summit was cool and had some stellar views for sure). Also, I would suggest just walking around the final summit pitch to get on top rather than roping up for about 40ft of 5.4 climbing. Jul 29, 2018
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
[Hide Comment] Hum... Did you skip the first 2 pitches? They certainly feel harder than 7+ and climb a lot better than what you seem to have experienced. The top is a bit weird but I remember some short yet fun section on P2 and P4. I walked off after that. No way it's a one-star route only. Jul 29, 2018