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Routes in South Castle Tower

Excalibur T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Gargoyle T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Henchman T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Jester T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Mid-Evil Times T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
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
Royalty T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Tweaker S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
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Type: Trad, 210 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Derek Field & Dave Spies (2017)
Page Views: 174 total · 43/month
Shared By: Derek Field on Apr 21, 2018
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

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Description

Gargoyle might be my favourite route on South Castle Tower. Well, the first pitch anyway: a tall, Vegas-style fingercrack with hilarious patina holds all over the place. The summit pitch is nothing to write home about but it gets ya there. All-day shade in winter; late-afternoon sun in summer.

Pitch 1 (5.10, 110 feet): A big natural X markes the start with wicked cool pods in an angular, right-facing corner. A solid 25 feet of laybacking lands you on a big ledge (you can also scramble directly to this ledge, but you'd be missing out). Look out right for the lone bolt, and edge out past it on a thrilling rail traverse. Turn the arête and now you're in the main crack system. Climb through a juggy overhang and layback a slabby dihedral to get inside a large alcove. Work through a fun bombay slot to another ledge. Launch up the gorgeous, tiered fingercrack with outrageous patina face holds (some of the trophies are big and flexy - user discretion advised). Clip the chains and belay from the Gargoyle Ledge.

The good climbing ends here, and a two-bolt chain anchor allows you to rap 90 feet to safe ground. The summit pitch is mediocre (read: detracts from overall route quality) but it is a pretty spectacular summit (worth a visit if you haven't had the pleasure) so here are the instructions for that mission:

Pitch 2 (5.6, 100 feet): Walk left, squeeze through the varnished chimney, stroll into the upper amphitheatre, and bee-line it for the summit on broken cracks. This pitch is "alpine style" so runner all yer gear.

If you go all the way to the summit, then you'll want to rappel the North Face route. The raps kinda suck on that one. More reason to rap after the first pitch...

Location

See phototopo. From the saddle between North and South Castle Towers, head due south up the ridge toward the big clean face. About 25 feet below the wall, traverse right and slightly downward on narrow ledges to the true start of the climb: a 25-ft right-facing corner marked by a large X-shaped streak on the left wall. You could bypass this starting corner, but besides being part of the intended route it's good clean climbing and gets you warmed up for the committing step off the ledge to the first bolt.
(Total approach time: 25-30 minutes)

Protection

Double set of cams to 3" + nuts
+ extra finger-size gear optional
+ many long runners!
+ one 60m rope

Photos

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