REI Community
Long Dong Silver Area
Select Route:
Angel of Death 
Darren's Dong 
Long Dong Silver T 
Sugar Daddy, The T 

Angel of Death 

A3

   
Type:  Aid, 80'
Original: A3 [details]
FA: Kory Kowallis, Cole Bradburn, Collin Wogenstahl, Emilee Sudweeks
New Route: Yes
Season: Fall, winter, spring
Page Views: 6,689
Submitted By: Kory Kowallis on Nov 25, 2016

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]
Hoping the tower won't break.

Description 

Crux #1 - approach the tower from the south.
Crux #2 - walk around it a couple of times to find a seam to nail up. The north east side seemed to be the best.
Crux #3 - hammer in the first or 4 pieces and hope you don't deck when the rock around the 4th piece explodes due to the pressure of your tomahawk pushing against the rock.
Crux #4 - finding a good piece as you come to what you think would be a flat ledge but instead is a ledge of dirt and so-called rock underneath.
Crux #5 - going from the ledge to the top, pulling on seemingly solid cap rock when it suddenly pops off with you hand clenched around it.
Crux #6 - standing on the top, realizing that the block you are standing on has a nice 45 degree break through it which might make a great sliding plane for it to coming sliding off with any extra pressure from above.
Crux #7 - downclimbing to the webbing tied around the neck of the tower and lowering off while the tower continues to crumble.

Location 

Follow the directions to Long Dong Silver. Angel of Death is the thin tower you can see a ways out there on the north side of the highway.

Protection 

Toucans, Tomahawks, Peckers, spectre, Pika crud hook and a handful of smaller angles. But mostly toucans. Maybe a shovel to dig out a nice belay spot and a chair.


Photos of Angel of Death Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking east.
Looking east.
Rock Climbing Photo: Good gear will hold a fall. This thing caught Cole...
Good gear will hold a fall. This thing caught Cole...
Rock Climbing Photo: One hour later.
One hour later.
Rock Climbing Photo: Angel of Death, 2003. Can clearly see the extra se...
Angel of Death, 2003. Can clearly see the extra se...
Rock Climbing Photo: Angel of Death, 2003. A few feet taller back then!
Angel of Death, 2003. A few feet taller back then!
Rock Climbing Photo: Kory trying to get up to the dirt.
Kory trying to get up to the dirt.
Rock Climbing Photo: Cole starting up the route.
Cole starting up the route.

Comments on Angel of Death Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 12, 2017
By Perin Blanchard
Administrator
From: Orem, UT
Nov 25, 2016

I'm glad someone is crazy enough to do this stuff.
By Nate Sydnor
From: Moab
Dec 6, 2016

I made the same comment about Long Dong. Is climbing this thing not just a slow motion version of what those Boy Scouts did up the road in Goblin Valley? Of course the intentions are different, but the result could be the same given enough ascents. Could a case be made for leaving it alone since it's so fragile? Seems like climbing it is a form of excavating/destroying the tower.
By Cole Bradburn
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 6, 2016

Nate

Bring this up when there are a lot of ascents of this tower or after you climb it. There is a reason Long Dong only has a handful of ascents. Comparing our ascents to something that some boy scouts did is both degrading and unrelated. As climbers we strive to preserve and enjoy climbing. If you climb either of these towers you will understand that and understand why we climbed them. Also, why haven't you already commented on things in the Caineville area like the Mudstrosity or Temple of the Moon/Sun?

Also a quote to help open your eyes to why we climb these things:
"We have to climb these things not so much because they are there but because they may not be there much longer" -Layton Kor
By Dustin Stephens
Dec 6, 2016

Agree with second comment. Beating these fragile towers into submission--and rushing to the internet to post about it afterwards--is silly and destructive.
By Jobless FoofMcGavin
Dec 6, 2016

Hi Nate and Dustin. Are you familiar with this type of rock? Are you perhaps armchair climbers talking shit about routes you've never seen, let alone climbed, made up of rock that you have no experience with? Tell me again how climbing this in a good style will lead to the early demise of the tower?

Mates, did you ever climb the cobra? That was a very shortsighted move and your actions led to the Cobra falling over prematurely.

Am I doing the shit talk out of my ass the right way Nate and Dustin? Is this how you do it? Make asinine statements with no evidence whatsoever to support my claims?

Thanks guys, maybe post something relevant and not just your "awesome" observations you made from having never seen or climbed these towers or any type of this rock. Well, more like thanks for trying to start shit. Good tries.

K, bye now.
By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 7, 2016

A rare ascent of towers like these seems like way less impact than promoting a climbing festival in a fragile desert full of crypto soil.
By Woogie
Dec 7, 2016
rating: A0

An ascent of any of these towers will not increase the speed at which they errode, our impact was minimal on the tower and surrounding area.
By jakobi
From: moab, utah
Dec 7, 2016

Nice work guys, I'd flagged this tower last year on my way out to the Long Dong but I guess the terror was still with me and I never made it back out. I'm glad you guys beat me to it and I don't have to go back out there. Mancos Shale is without a doubt the worst (best?) medium I've ever ascended, and one of the last legitimate places to practice the fading art of nailing.
By Nick Jens
Dec 7, 2016

You guys are getting the armchair criticism because MP posted this route to Facebook. The photo was sweet though and the exchange added unexpected entertainment to my evening. Cheers.
By Nate Sydnor
From: Moab
Dec 18, 2016

Fascinating and unfortunate how much non-sense and vitriol one person's thoughts can bring about.

In regards to both Cole and Jobless' comments;

I have been to these towers and chose not to climb them. Admiring them, and the surrounding silence, has been good enough for me. Also, nailing unstable Mancos Shale is not my idea of fun climbing. I visit that part of the desert for other reasons. I have not commented on the Mudstrosity or the Temples because those formations are not nearly as unique, nor are they in any danger of falling over, so your mention of them is irrelevant to the point at hand.

I think I understand where you two are coming from though. You feel that I am directly criticizing you and your route, and in a way I am, but none of this is as personal as you have made it. Since you apparently lack the ability to consider the questions I posed, and/or have incredibly fragile egos, you have instead responded with distractions and lashed out with baseless and ridiculous assertions. This is somewhat common on MP, so I am not surprised. I only wish that more people had been taught the civility and insight to communicate better.

I also find it disappointing how the two of you don't see the room for flaws in your uninformed assumptions. I am quite familiar with this type of "stone," as well as the Layton Kor quote that you were hoping would open my eyes. Having spent the better part of the last 20 years in this region, I do not feel that I was speaking out of turn, nor was I armchair criticizing. I was merely stating an opinion, and posing some questions to which I don't know the answers. I am good friends with one of the first ascensionists of Long Dong Silver, and we have discussed how many ascents it will take to bring a major piece of one of these towers down.

In regards to Andrew Gram's comment;

Of course I can sense the snark in your comment, but unfortunately your's is also an uninformed assumption. I would expect more prudence from an administrator. I think it is very important for you to understand that the preservation of our fragile desert environment was a hallmark of the AAC event here this Fall. Educating our participants about cryptobiotic soil and its critical importance was a component of every single one of our clinics, all of which took place in high impact areas in which the destruction of crypto was not an issue. Additionally, we had the recreation manager from the BLM field office come and give a presentation and Q & A about issues regarding climbers and climber access in the local area. The whole event was based around this type of educational experience, so your sarcastic remark holds no water.

For you to simply assume that we were promoting or furthering the destruction of crypto - either directly, or indirectly- is a patent form of ignorant reductionsim, as over 200 climbers came away from our event more educated than they arrived. We also raised a large sum of money for the AAC, which not only advocates on behalf of climbers, but also gives research grants for studies much like the ones that have informed us about crypto in the first place. Although it is true that the masses can and often do have much more impact than rare ascents of remote towers, promoting remote towers on FB and Instagram inevitably leads to more attention from these increasingly-ignorant climbing masses in search of that same awesome Instaface update.
By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 19, 2016

// Fascinating and unfortunate how much non-sense and vitriol one person's thoughts can bring about.

It was probably because you were a total jerk in your first post. Having a discussion about whether it is appropriate to climb on Mancos shale is fine and even a good thing. Comparing someone's difficult first ascent of a tower to those Goblin Valley rednecks is nasty and uncalled for, and doesn't make anyone want to engage with you. Your sanctimonious follow up post doesn't help either - it is hilarious to lament about lack of civility and poor communication just a few words after writing "Since you apparently lack the ability to consider the questions I posed, and/or have incredibly fragile egos".

I'm sure your festival was really well run - I don't doubt that at all. I just don't think the desert is an appropriate place for that kind of concentrated impact, and fragile places that are already suffering from overuse and abuse really don't need any more promotion. I found the hypocrisy of slagging on some guys about their impact for climbing a tower shortly after promoting an event that is going to lead to way more impact on the desert jarring, hence the snark.
By Nate Sydnor
From: Moab
Dec 19, 2016

Warning; diatribe to follow

I normally don't engage in this sort of back and forth, but I'm sorry Andrew, I believe your take on all of this is mistaken, and it seems that now you are tossing out a similar form of knee-jerk reaction to what Jobless did. I'm at home for the holidays with nothing to do tonight, so I'll crack my knuckles and get down to it.

Perhaps it's a problem with the written word online, but I honestly do not see how my first post constitutes being a "total jerk" or "nasty and uncalled for." I certainly did not have that intention. I meant it as, and it appears to me to be, a series of questions and opinions, none of which include any blatant sarcasm, snark, aggression, or expletives, unlike your and other's responses.

You also seem to be wholly unaware or confused with regards to what the Moab scene is like. It seems from your MP profile that you most often spend time in more remote parts of the desert on moderate free and aid climbs. In my opinion, the AAC event in no way led to heavier impact on what is already a saturated landscape. Unlike the Swell and other remote areas, the hoards are already here sir, and ours was merely an attempt at corralling them and teaching them tools with which to minimize an already-present impact.

Would you rather people have no education about the desert climbing environment? What alternative educational opportunities would you propose? Should we just let people run wild as they already are and hope they educate themselves? Those days are over. Like it or not, climbing in general is gaining more popularity, and uneducated people from major metropolitan areas, your's included, come flooding into Moab every season. If you truly care about remote desert locales, then I would think you also would not be psyched that people are promoting damaging aid ascents on singularly unique towers, while admitting that the tower itself, or a piece of it, might break off while climbing it. Do not underestimate the power of Instagram and Facebook to send noobs hurtling towards the untrammeled far reaches in search of that awesome profile pic. We have seen a dramatic up-tick (no pun intended) of boulderers, and the associated impact (new trails, destruction of vegetation, not to mention MOUNTAINS of chalk), at Indian Creek as a DIRECT result of social media promotion. And that social media promotion implores people to be careful. They still aren't.

Furthermore, I have no idea how you can see utilizing Wallstreet or the Ice Cream Parlor to teach people valuable technical skills, crag etiquette, and desert subtleties, as destructive. Have you visited these crags in the last ten years? Do you contribute to furthering climber education? It's a double edged sword my friend, and in this case, I feel that one edge of that sword was rendered almost entirely blunt.

You seem to think that we were holding a 200 person gathering in a patch of crypto somewhere climbers have never been. Every aspect of the event, except the clinics, was held in downtown Moab. And as I mentioned before, the clinics were intentionally held at already high-use areas that have been as they are for nearly 20 years. You portray it as if it took place in some sort of remote part of a pristine desert ecosystem, when in reality A) those no longer really exist in our neighborhood, and B) we were using disturbed areas to teach people what to do when they get to the more fragile places.

I also will not apologize for my wording. In my opinion I was communicating in a clear and civil manner, rather than throwing out a few sarcastic, uninformed assumptions like yourself and Jobless. Like the old saying goes; In the West they stab you in the back, while in the East they punch you in the face. Which would you prefer? I may have been harsh, but I was not initially, and on the second go 'round I was responding to shots already fired. Do you not feel like the response from Jobless was entirely over-the-top?

To repeat, I was not "slagging" these guys. You misread my initial comment and have now misread me again. You couldn't even step back for a moment and consider what I said. In your follow-up you answered to NONE of the content of my comment. You only re-asserted the same straw man crap. I wonder sometime if people still read anymore, or if they just skim through, looking for things that either confirm or deny their preconceptions (i.e. - the internet endorphin rush).

I stand behind the logic and intent of both of my posts.

Finally, I will make the Boyscout analogy again, wherein people, knowingly (Boyscouts) or unknowingly (in this case) engage in something destructive because it is fun for them, here is a quote from the first ascent description;

"realizing that the (summit) block you are standing on has a nice 45 degree break through it which might make a great sliding plane for it to coming sliding off with any extra pressure from above.....downclimbing to the webbing tied around the neck of the tower and lowering off while the tower continues to crumble."
By slim
Administrator
Dec 19, 2016

hmm, i don't have the knack for purple prose, but bitching about a tiny number of people climbing these towers after the bullshit aac festival is just, well, 'uninformed'....
By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 19, 2016

With respect Nate, your initial comment was very mean spirited whether you intended that or not. I don't know Cole and company so I have no personal involvement there, but I saw your comment as a slam and others did as well. You might think about stepping back and thinking about whether you could have worded things more constructively - the conversation would have been very different with an approach that wasn't initially a backhanded insult.

Yes, I stick mostly to remote parts of the desert now, primarily because of what a shitshow the Moab area has become(I miss climbing on good quality rock!). I used to climb at the Creek and areas around Moab, but I abandoned them in the early 2000s when i started seeing hordes of people and I get bummed in a hurry when I sporadically return. I very directly blame the splitter camps for blowing the area up with these big festivals and then the newly minted desert climbers coming out to spray about creeksgiving. I know Indian Creek, the Ice Cream Parlor, Potash, etc. are sacrifice zone disasters and your festival isn't destroying them any more than they already are fucked, but events that promote these areas and that normalize large groups in desert environments are in my opinion a very bad thing. I am sure you did a good job imparting impact awareness for the people that attended your festival, but you will never change my mind that the first rule of fight club is you don't talk about fight club.

Posting obscure remote desert towers to the proj doesn't really increase traffic. I've posted a bunch of new routes that i've done, and few of them have been repeated since they tend to be way the hell out in the boonies. Even the really high quality routes without heinous approaches that i've put up that people like Mason Earle go free and speak highly of don't get traffic because they are off the beaten path.

The hordes go to places that seem accessible, and events like the splitter camps and your festival make Moab seem accessible to people that would otherwise stay away. Though your festival does good work, I still consider its impact to be a net evil on balance.

I'm not super worried about these shale towers totally falling down because of climber impacts. Long Dong has only been climbed a handful of times in 20 years because the medium is just so gnarly - I visited it as well, but left the gear in the car because of cowardice. Crusher posted a photo of this tower on facebook that was several feet higher years before it was climbed - they are a little ephemeral, but some rare bodyweight loading isn't going to do damage that wind, rain, and snow wouldn't anyway. I'm much more concerned about party trick shenanigans on formations like the Cobra(RIP) and Ancient Art.

I won't comment about fragile egos, but i'll offer to buy a pitcher if you are ever in slc or remote parts of the swell and want to chat about climber impacts on the desert.
By Nate Sydnor
From: Moab
Dec 20, 2016

Andrew - I enjoy how many of these comment sessions end with an offer to meet in person to discuss further. The same offer stands if you ever find yourself back in Moab. I appreciate your willingness to engage. However, with respect, you read my original comment as "very mean spirited." It was not written that way.

"they are a little ephemeral, but some rare bodyweight loading isn't going to do damage that wind, rain, and snow wouldn't anyway" - couldn't the same have been said for that ill-fated hoodoo in Goblin Valley? And by that rationale, it's ok to accelerate the deterioration of uber-fragile towers because wind and rain will do it eventually anyway? I'm actually appalled by that line of logic. If you look in the description of this route, you will see what I quoted earlier, the FA kids could feel the tower "eroding" as they were climbing it.

Also, and although it seems like you have your standpoint solidified, I will stand up for our crack climbing clinics. I may be missing something, but have you noticed the age demographic of the groups at The Creek? It most certainly isn't 40 somethings with spouses and kids, which is the demographic most commonly found in our clinics. It is most often younger, college-aged kids who, from observation, seem to come from the urban climbing scene. Fight Club has been a subject of conversation for 30 years now, so I'm not sure why you think that analogy holds water. I would think it is much more aptly applied to the rare desert towers that this whole conversation was started about.

Furthermore, neither the clinics nor the Craggin Classic "normalize" large groups. That is simply an assumption. On the contrary, we intentionally break into smaller groups than we often witness at the crags, let people play through, and are very courteous (unlike many recreational groups we encounter). In order to pass on the most amount of information in the time we have, we group together. I understand that this could be seen as a double standard, but as a climber and a guide, I try my damndest to educate people on both sides of the coin. Additionally, Jim Donini, the man who started it all, is a steward and a model climbing citizen in my opinion. He has contributed countless hours doing clean ups, trail building and public service in areas where very few people give two f&%$s. Again I would ask, what have you done?

Also, I honestly can't understand where you get the idea that people would stay away from Moab if events like the Craggin Classic and our clinics didn't exist. This was the first year of the AAC event, and unless I am mistaken, Moab has been getting mobbed by increasing crowds for going on 20 years. Again, perhaps you could go back and read my post thoroughly. The masses are already here. We are trying to figure out how to deal with them.

Working in the guiding industry, and spending countless days climbing in our local areas, I will respectfully disagree with your standpoint on the roots of growth at places like Indian Creek as well. The guidebook, the growth of climbing in general, and the spread through social media of beautiful images from the desert are much more culpable, from my observations. The logical progression of your opinion seems to be that the guiding industry as a whole is to blame for the congestion and impact we are seeing at our crags, which is patently absurd.

Creeksgiving - please don't get me started on that dumpster fire. It is a singularly and entirely different thing altogether, organized originally by folks from Wyoming if memory serves correctly. I cannot make it clear enough that it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the guide industry.

Slim - Your comment comes across as a cynical, ill-informed drive by. I know there are people out there that are against any sort of organized climbing event. Lord knows there are those folks here in Moab. If you had attended the event, or spoken with one of our participants, perhaps you would have a different opinion. Multiple local guide companies, the American Alpine Club, the participants, the local guidebook author, the local BLM officials, and the community of folks in Moab who came out to support the event would disagree with you that it was - "bullshit."

Since we deal with the hordes who come here from your neck of the woods (which I can only assume is the Front Range, based on the density of routes from that area that you have posted), we are devising ways with which we can inform them. If you have better ideas on how the masses can be informed, I am certainly open to them. Until then, I would respectfully request that you keep your cynical "bullshit" opinion to yourself.

I have a hard time respecting the opinions of people who do not offer up anything constructive. I would love to hear from you about your attempts to better the climbing community.
By slim
Administrator
Dec 20, 2016

i take it that 'uninformed' is the empowered/organicprocess/wellness buzzword of the year. i love how you throw your own opinions out there, then 'respectfully' request that others keep their opinions to themselves.

i find it hilarious that you find guidebooks\photos/etc guilty for bringing hordes to the creek, but somehow the splitter camps, guiding hordes up AA, and other climbing festival crap is unrelated. hmm, i 'respectfully' djisagree.

if you ask anybody about the aac weekend in moab the words, 'holy clusterfuck' immediately leap from their mouth. but hey, i guess they are obviously uninfomed also... seems like the cragging classic is more like early creeksgiving. 'small groups of 20'... give me a break.
By Nate Sydnor
From: Moab
Dec 21, 2016

Well, this comment thread seems to be about wrapped up, so I'll finish with a final response to you slim.

I don't ask people to "respectfully" keep their opinions to themselves. I asked YOU to keep YOUR bullshit, cynical, drive-by opinion to yourself.

I also wasn't putting a negative context on Bloom's guidebook bringing more folks to The Creek. I was merely pointing out that it, in my opinion, played a much larger role than the guiding industry ever has/will. I've been climbing at The Creek for 15 years, which is admittedly not as long as many. The increasing crowds still do not make me cynical. Is the impact regrettable? Yes. Are noobs with boom boxes and cynical, grumpy old-timers annoying? Yes. Is it a cause for despair and anger? No. It is a cause for action. What is that action? Our answer has been to try and educate folks. And again, this was the FIRST climbing festival that has EVER happened in Moab, to my knowledge, so to blame "festival crap" for the crowding we experience is also a mis-guided assumption based on nothing.

Additionally, none of the crack climbing clinics I have run (I can't speak for the initial years), nor the AAC event, has ever taken a group of 20 anywhere. Again, if you had really read what I wrote, you would have seen that I specifically outlined how we break into smaller groups when at the crag. The maximum number of participants allowed at the AAC clinics was 10, give or take one or two people in certain clinics, and the Indian Creek crews are smaller than that.

And of course some people have the opinion that the AAC was a clusterf&%$. We likely inhibited that one day they had on their weekend visit from the Front Range to climb one of the uber-classics at Wallstreet. There are cynical people everywhere, and they are most often predictable with their responses, which are similar to your position. People don't mind when they are the inconvenience. They just don't want anyone else to inconvenience them. And saying "ask anybody" is very obviously a ridiculous, juvenile statement. More accurately you should have said; "Ask anyone in my bubble that's like me in their views..." In my bubble I know countless folks that are psyched to see people out trying to better themselves through professional instruction.

I actually thought about putting a PSA up on MP to warn people that our groups would be at popular crags in Moab for ONE DAY, but I was certain that people like yourself would chime in and start the flaming.

Comparing the AAC event to Creeksgiving is also foolish and off base, for several reasons. However, I can see you are already cemented in your misconceptions, so I'm sure you won't be swayed by actual facts. As I've mentioned, you don't seem to be actually reading my comments, so I may have lost you already, and it seems like outlining all of this in a logical way is, in a way, a futile exercise.

Finally, no one guides "hordes" up AA except some pirate guiding asshole from SLC I've bumped into several times. Our maximum group size is 3:1, and we are most often at the 1:1 ratio. Additionally, almost every time we are out there, we are rappelling down while everyone else is showing up, and we've had guides assisting clustered recreational parties, who are the ACTUAL issue, for years. In all the times I've been up there guiding, I can say with a relative amount of objective certainty that our guided party has NEVER been the cause of any cluster. Small delay? Perhaps. However, there are of course other folks like yourself that would beg to differ. I can't tell you how many times I see people experiencing even the slightest inconvenience, who have this magic ability to project their frustrations onto others. They are never the problem. It's always the noobs or the guided party. Never you.

You seem to be either willingly oblivious, or simply, what was the word, "uninformed." Either way, you really should cease with the ignorant, negative spray. Like I said in the last post, if you have something positive to contribute, I'm all ears.
By slim
Administrator
Dec 22, 2016

i am trying to figure out what you are more full of, bullshit or your self. you dont consider a 3 to 1 client to guide ratio on AA to be a horde?? i have seen 9 people, 2 of whom were guides for the same company, at one belay and you call me misinformed? you dont like my opnion? tough shit, you're going to hear it.
By USBRIT Ross
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Jan 4, 2017

Good effort lads .. Ignore that pumped up wanna be one pitch sport climber NS ...First ascents always brings out the nut case who verbally wants to get into the action ... I've met quite a few in my time this guy is classic..They are always the type of climber who feels uncomfortable if a bolt or cam is not right beside them... they just don't like any form of risk..He decided not to climb it ..I'll bet he did ! ... Put him onto my Palisade Things of Beauty ..he can have a go at me.. Wish I had found that tower ...its bloody great.
By Roy Suggett
Jan 4, 2017

Well done! Looks like an awesome monolith to climb...though I doubt that a handful of humans reach the summit in the geologic time it takes to render it floor sand.
By USBRIT Ross
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Jan 6, 2017

If the aid we used on the Mancus shale towers we climbed on the Palisade Things of Beauty Towers it would help to reduce damage to the climb ... Instead of bird beaks etc that cause a lot of damage when removing ,, we fixed in place 8" x 3/8 nails (spikes) from hardware store then using tie offs. Use of drill with 8" bit helpful .Some of these have been in place for about 15 years and are still in good shape. Makes future ascents less difficult but does reduce any further damage to the spire.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Jan 6, 2017

Where to begin...
1. I eyed this tower up about decade ago. I decided to leave it be. There's a calculation of enjoyment versus impact and effort. The enjoyment would be limited (it's not very tall, there was no appealing line) yet it was obvious challenge. Impact on such a small tower would be easier to see than on a larger formation (from piton scars, fixed anchor on top, etc). Enjoyed walking around it. Enjoyed the temporary beauty; like admiring an iceberg. Or Delicate Arch.

2. On the other hand, for Cole and party, these scrappy towers are all that's left for first ascents, all the Wingate towers were climbed long ago. So, props for the FA!

3. Guidebook versus guiding? Which create the most impacts? I've been round this enough times with enough people. It's all of us, me included, and Cole, and Nate, and that pesky USBrit (hi paul!), we all contribute by one way or another promoting this sport of desert climbing. In my lifetime, the population of the world has more than doubled and the Moab area has seen way more than its share of this. Outdoor recreation exploded in the 1990s around Moab and has been growing fast ever since. Mountain bikes, camming units, guidebooks, guide services, magazines, internet, climbing gyms, growth of the Front Range and the Wasatch Front, all played some part. Part of the reason for me writing my book on the history of climbing towers (shameless plug, sorry) was to preserve something of the feeling of the heyday of tower climbing because I could see this world was rapidly disappearing.

4. "Is climbing this thing not just a slow motion version of what those Boy Scouts did up the road in Goblin Valley?" No. Absolutely not. The Boy Scout perps deliberately INTENDED destruction to the formation they toppled. What they were doing was plain, selfish vandalism. Climbing, especially of a first ascent, is, at heart, a creative act. Getting to a summit sometimes requires aid climbing. Aid climbing sometimes requires pitons. With pitons, any damage, any impact, is incidental to the creative process of ascending a challenging climb. In my mind, there are formations that could only be climbed by nailing that I would leave alone (see 1, above) but that's just me. (No drilled 8" nails for me, not my style)

5. The damage by pitons on this tower is directly comparable to the damage done to the popular cracks of Indian Creek. I climbed Supercrack in early 80s. We were awed, shocked by the perfection of this pristine, sharp-edged slot. No chalk marks. There was still grass at the base. Climbing it 15 years later was a depressing experience, the edges rounded off, black scuff marks, bloodstains, bits of tape. Now it's 15 years later again. The popular climbs of Zion, like Spaceshot, are suffering in the same way. On day this will need to be addressed by us climbers or, eventually, by land managers. I have no easy solutions. A first step is to acknowledge the extent of climbers' impacts. A second step is to accept that we all share some of the blame.

My 2 cents....
By USBRIT Ross
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Jan 12, 2017

Nails ..yes I guess I am a bit of a purist !! Actually apart from the invention by Yvon of hard steel pitons being the main cause of rock destruction.. when I started to repeat old routes in the UK I was surprised at the ware on the rock by nut and cam placements. Far more than from the days when for protection soft iron pitons was left in place

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About