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Routes in Castle Rock - South Tower

Mrs. Robinson T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
North Face Route, The T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Type: Trad, 270 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,177 total · 34/month
Shared By: Matthew.Johnson91 on Apr 10, 2015
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

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Description

This is the easiest and safest route up the South Tower of Castle Rock. We did it in 4 pitches to reduce rope-drag as the 1st and 3rd pitches are meandering in nature. Pitch 1: rope up to climb a series of ledges that are mostly 4th and easy 5th class but with one crack requiring a 5.7 hand-jam - probably the most technically difficult move on the route. Traverse up and left, do the short 5.7 handjam crack, then traverse back right as high as you can go to the obvious ledge below Pitch 2. maybe 130 feet Pitch 2: Here you are faced with your choice of two off-width cracks separated by a blocky column. Take the right-most crack which has lots of great holds and features. Although there's some loose rock at the top of this pitch, there's also plenty of solid stuff. Take your time and test each hold. Belay at two-bolt anchor taking great care not to dislodge the many loose rocks on the sloping ledge. Great Pitch! maybe 70 feet, 5.6. Pitch 3: Traverse left, up a short crack then back right up to the biggest ledge just before things get steep. Anchor with cams in any of the many cracks available. 5.5, 50 feet. Pitch 4: This is the money pitch - great protection and awesome 5.5 climbing on chickenheads and cracks with the valley yawning away below. Move right from the belay ledge and follow the cracks and chickenheads to a classic summit. Sling the large juniper God put there just for climbers for your belay. 5.5, 60 feet. Note: If you're the kind of climber who doesn't mind running out 5.5 on loose rock over a yawning abyss, you could run pitches 3 and 4 together, placing gear only the at beginning of the 4th pitch to avoid rope-drag. I wouldn't recommend it though. Not a classic perhaps but a good route and an excellent moderate outing depositing you on a classic summit.

Location

See photos for orientation location. Two double-rope (60m) rappels will get you back to your your backpack. Be aware of the presence of a couple of prickly pear cacti which will want to interfere with your rope-retrieval efforts after the final rappel.

Protection

Trad. Full rack of cams and nuts will do nicely with some long slings. Bring some slings to leave, black or sandstone color please. There is a two-bolt anchor on the on the top of pitch 2, the right one looks dubious and the hanger spins easily, the left one is solid. Beta per 2015.
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
 
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
 
Loose, dangerous, chossy and not very relaxing route to climb;...but still fun in a sic/twisted way;.....we liked it. Another grand sandstone summit. Rope landed in a cacti on the last rap. One of the bolts at the last rap is sticking out a little bit;...it's still bomber. Apr 24, 2016
Easily rapped with a single 60 m rope. First rap is from tree at top, less that 30 m to the two bolt anchor. Rap from there takes you to the 4th class at the start. Downclimb or do third rap from tree. I was solo, and carried a lot more than I needed because this page said two ropes were required. Jul 19, 2017
Tyler Eglen  
 
Absolutely agree with Todd Gordon on this one. Pitch 2 was a fun off-width, but once you clear the section and scramble up to the belay the rock is VERY loose, and some of the rocks are quite large (50+ pounders). Made me nervous for myself and belayer.

Looking at the photo with yellow topo line we ended up veering right instead of left on the last pitch. At that point we were tired of cleaning off and inspecting every single hold and just got to the summit quickly.

Standard nuts and cams were fine. We used already installed accessory cord, and added some nylon(purple/red/black) as a backup for the rappel. If you're replacing you need at least 10 feet as the juniper tree is a bit far off the ledge.
Apr 17, 2017
Derek Field
Flagstaff, AZ
  5.7
Derek Field   Flagstaff, AZ
  5.7
Fair bit of loose rock. Short (10 ft) finger crack on pitch 1 is okay. Second pitch offwidth/squeeze is super dirty, makes you earn it. Watch out for loose blocks on upper ledges of this pitch. Fun traverse pitch followed by easy rambling to the summit. Double-rope rappel from juniper tree to bolts and then to ground, then probably spend half an hour picking microscopic prickly-pear spines out of your rope. Mar 2, 2016
Nick Rawcliffe
Flagstaff AZ
  5.7
Nick Rawcliffe   Flagstaff AZ
  5.7
This was a really fun route for a moderate trad leader, similar to Queen Victoria but with more climbing and more exposure. Rockfall has the potential to be very serious on this route, especially around the top of the second pitch. Pulling ropes is also an issue, we lost our ropes up there but fortunately a 60m double rope rappel just barley makes it to the bottom of the first pitch, safer as two raps though. This route is in need of some bolt replacement/addition. Nov 12, 2015

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