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Routes in Coal Wash

Joe and His Dog - His Dog Tower T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C2
Mirage Tower - Make Coal Wash Great Again T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C2
Mueller Tower - Hurry the F Up T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Twin Priest Tower - Act of Contrition T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1
Type: Trad, Aid, 250 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: Ben Folsom, Andrew Gram 9/18/2016
Page Views: 530 total · 31/month
Shared By: Andrew Gram on Sep 19, 2016
Admins: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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Make Coal Wash Great Again climbs a ground to summit splitter in the center of the side of Mirage Tower facing away from the road. The rock is soft Wingate typical in this part of the swell.

P1) Start right of some really neat tree roots that drape down the wall. Climb 25' of hard to protect 5.8 face climbing to a large ledge system. Wander to the end of the ledge system, go up a 5.4 ramp, and then back right to a 2 bolt belay at the base of the splitter. 70 feet of climbing to gain about 30 feet of vertical. 5.8 kinda Rish - falling on the opening moves is a bad idea.

P2) Start up a tips dihedral to a shallow chimney past 4 bolts until a lovely fingercrack is reached. Follow the fingercrack to a stance with a 2 bolt belay. 80 feet, C2. This would be an excellent free pitch in the 5.11/5.12 range - there are lots of face features in the bolted opening section.

P3) Climb past 2 bolts to a long handcrack that gets weird when it jogs to the left past 2 more bolts to the summit ridge of the tower. 110 feet C2. This will be an excellent free pitch in the 5.11 range.

P4) A drilled angle protects a boulder problem overhang on bad rock to an easy scramble to the summit. The summit is 20 feet of class 3 scrambling past the anchor. 25 feet, and probably 5.9 or 5.10 on bad rock to free, but an aider on the drilled angle makes it easy.

To descend, do a short rap to the top of P3. We rapped to the ground with 2 70 meter ropes. Future parties could rap the route with a single 70 meter line if they bring some webbing/rings for the intermediate anchors.

Pitches 2 and 3 could be easily combined into a very long pitch - they take completely different gear so the rack size wouldn't change, and the stance at the top of P2 is fairly uncomfortable.

This would be an excellent free climb now that the bolts are in - the gear is good and there are lots of face features.


The impressive narrow aspect of Mirage Tower is briefly visible a mile or two before the Devils Racetrack turnoff on North Coal Wash Road, and also from Joe and His Dog. It disappears into the cliffside as you drive past it unless you know exactly where it is even though there is a 500' gap between the tower and the wall, which lead to the name. It is a 250' high narrow fin, and has a few other appealing lines for the adventurous.

To approach, look for a wooden fence on the north side of the road where the road temporarily splits into two tracks shortly before the Devils Racetrack turnoff. Begin on a marked trail for a short distance, but stay in the wash when the trail goes right up a hill. Follow the wash moving up onto its left shoulder when necessary until below the base of the tower. Head up to the right side of the tower, and then keep traversing high along the base of the north face of the tower until reaching the route. This is much easier than going left around the tower and trudging up a soft dirt and talus slope.. The hike is pleasant and takes about 20 minutes from the car.


5-6 sets of .4 through 2 camalots. 2-3 sets of smaller cams down to green alien, and 2-3 sets of 3 camalots. 1 set of old style 3.5, 4, and 4.5 camalots.
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Ha! I'm only good for about one of these new routes a year - it takes me that long to forget what an ordeal it is and get psyched for another. I have no idea how you and Paul were able to do so many of them. Sep 20, 2016
Frosty Weller
Frosty Weller   Colorado
Congrats guys! I too love that wild & woolly Coal Wash area... I only wish I was living/working closer, in my older age I just can't seem to stomach the LONG weekend drive from Boulder into the inner depths of The Swell. And so, there goes another one I had on my tick list. Now, please refocus your impressive efforts on more worthy endeavours, like Indian Creek or Potash. ;-) Sep 20, 2016
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Thanks Paul! I love Coal Wash, and may never have found it without the beta on the Twin Priests. Lots more stuff left to do out there. Sep 19, 2016
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
Good lads ... Cleaning up the area...Give us some pics for us lost desert souls in the UK Sep 19, 2016

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