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Routes in Neptune Tower

Stormy Petrel T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c A0
Type: Trad, Aid, Alpine, 1000 ft, 7 pitches
FA: Fred Beckey, Bryce Simon, John Feder May 1982
Page Views: 325 total, 13/month
Shared By: Richard Shore on Oct 28, 2015
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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The route follows the most prominent feature on the East face of Neptune Tower - a giant left-leaning ramp/dihedral leading to a large pedestal below the headwall. Various guidebooks have this route listed as IV 5.8 based on Fred's writeup in the AAJ, where he fails to mention that they aided off the bolts to overcome the blank face section on P2. A honed slab-master with no fear of bad 1/4"ers could likely free the short ladder at .11+/.12, but otherwise the route is mostly classic moderate crack climbing on pristine golden granite.

P1) Up the right-facing lieback corner on slick rock to a belay atop broken blocks. 5.8

P2) Up a steep slab with a short bolt ladder, tension traverse 15' left and climb up a shallow groove & face to better cracks above. Belay at a stance beneath the steep wall w/ splitters. 5.8R A0

P3) Up the steep cracks and into the gut of the mountain. FA party likely continued up the chimney/gully here for a few pitches to the notch (loose & uninviting); we opted to take a variation following cracks and lieback flakes out on the left wall to a stance with a large block. 5.9+

P4) Up a shallow left-facing dihedral, face traverse left around the arete, up cracks and face to a large ledge beneath the monolithic pedestal/pillar. 5.9

P5) Pick a crack and choose a left or right traverse around the pedestal. Belay at a huge chockstone in the notch behind the pillar. 5.8

P6) From the notch, head straight up the headwall on thin cracks and spectacular face climbing. Belay at a good stance. 5.8

P7) Continue up hand cracks to the easy summit ridge. 5.8


Located right of center on Neptune Tower's east face, starting in a large left-leaning ramp/dihedral. To descend, scramble up to Neptune's true summit, then head west across a short knife-edge ridge, downclimbing or rappelling into the loose gullies on either the North or South side of the peak (I think south is the better & easier option; we went north). Hike down and around and back up to the base. Allow 1 hour or more to descend.


Doubles to 3", single 4". Three bad 1/4" bolts on P2. No other fixed gear.
From the AAJ:

"Quite prominent among the line of granitic walls and towers between the desert floor and the top of Wheeler Crest is a pink-toned cliff on the left flank, above Wells Peak. Mike Warburton and I had tried a line near the center of the cliff one winter, but fresh snow in the cracks became unduly frustrating. On a cold May weekend in 1982, Bryce Simon, John Feder and I hiked the scarp to the base of the dihedral that begins the route and reclimbed the first pitches. Our several old bolts on the second pitch made a blank leftward traverse possible. Thin face-climbing led to a crack system, the logical route on the wall. We retired to our sleeping bags for the night, then did the climb the following day. A tiring squeeze chimney, a pitch of layback cracks and an airy traverse led to the top of a pedestal. The final headwall was marvellous face-climbing up various thin cracks. Two cold pitches during snow flurries brought us to the top. The climb would be a classic in Yosemite. III or IV, 5.8."
Fred Beckey Oct 29, 2015