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Gargoyle

5.10, Trad, 210 ft, 2 pitches,  Avg: 2.5 from 4 votes
FA: Derek Field & Dave Spies (2017)
Arizona > Northern Arizona > Sedona Area > Village of Oak… > Castle Towers > S Castle Tower

Description

The first pitch is a tall, varied crack with hilarious patina holds in the upper section. It's equipped for rappel. The summit pitch is nothing to write home about but it gets ya there if that's the desire. All-day shade in winter; late-afternoon sun in summer.

Pitch 1 (5.10, 110 feet): A big natural X-shaped streak marks the start with wicked cool pods in an angular, right-facing corner. A 25-ft layback brings you to a big ledge (this is the base of the rappel). Look out right for the lone bolt, and edge out past it on a thrilling rail traverse. Turn the mini-arête and now you're in the main crack system which has some marginal rock initially. Higher up, above the squeeze chimney sections, the crack sports abundant face holds and has a slight leftward lean to it. Follow it all the way up to the Gargoyle ledge with two-bolt anchor. --- Note: Some of the patina trophies are flexible - user discretion is advised.

The good climbing ends here, and a two-bolt chain anchor allows you to rap 90 feet to safe ground. The summit pitch 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 [Hide ALL Photos]

Phototopo for Gargoyle.
[Hide Photo] Phototopo for Gargoyle.
Dave's stoked on the patina splitter scenic highway!
[Hide Photo] Dave's stoked on the patina splitter scenic highway!
Dave Spies follows the upper half of Gargoyle on FA day.
[Hide Photo] Dave Spies follows the upper half of Gargoyle on FA day.
X marks the start!! (it's natural)
[Hide Photo] X marks the start!! (it's natural)