REI Community
Ataxia Tower
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ashtar Command T 
Feeling Minnesota T,S 
P.C. Thug T 
Warzone T 
Woods Route T 

Ashtar Command 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: John Tainio
Page Views: 26,505
Submitted By: Bekky on Jan 31, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (231)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Pitch 2

Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


Ashtar is the located on the prominent tower on the west side of the Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel, across from the ranger kiosk.

The first pitch will take everything on your rack: cams, nuts, hexes, and TCUs. It is mostly crack climbing for the first 75 ft then climbing on small ledges and crimps to first set of anchors. The second pitch is mostly bolted with some exposed, crimpy 5.9 climbing.

The second pitch traverses right and a .5 is handy for the runout between the anchors and the first bolt. There can be a lot of drag on this second pitch and communication can also be an issue. Very fun! Great view and exposure!!


Pretty much everything will fit in this climb. Bring a selection from nuts to a #3 cam. Lots of slings to prevent drag and about 14 draws for the second pitch.


Park on the last switchback before the tunnel and walk up the south side of the road till you get to a small trail that takes you to the base of the tower. (Approximately 5 minutes.)


Rap off to rock right to two other sets of rap anchors. Three raps to ground.

Photos of Ashtar Command Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Patrick on P2
Patrick on P2
Rock Climbing Photo: here we go!
here we go!
Rock Climbing Photo: Ropes in flight
Ropes in flight
Rock Climbing Photo: Desert museum featured exhibit.  Cost of admission...
Desert museum featured exhibit. Cost of admission...
Rock Climbing Photo: start of 2nd pitch
start of 2nd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Harry, I reached the top
Harry, I reached the top
Rock Climbing Photo: Shot of belay on P2 as we rapped to the left.
Shot of belay on P2 as we rapped to the left.
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy plugging up the first pitch
Andy plugging up the first pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: pitch 1
pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: The most climbed of the several routes on this tow...
BETA PHOTO: The most climbed of the several routes on this tow...
Rock Climbing Photo: following
Rock Climbing Photo: climbers on the first belay of ashtar command
BETA PHOTO: climbers on the first belay of ashtar command
Rock Climbing Photo: In your face view of the East Temple from the top ...
In your face view of the East Temple from the top ...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top.
View from the top.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ashtar Command's P1 crack.
Ashtar Command's P1 crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the route from the hanging belay atop...
Looking down the route from the hanging belay atop...
Rock Climbing Photo: Noah as a second follower on the 2nd pitch.  Bolte...
Noah as a second follower on the 2nd pitch. Bolte...
Rock Climbing Photo: Gearing up for Ashtar.
Gearing up for Ashtar.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ashtar Command Tower
BETA PHOTO: Ashtar Command Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: JG dancing
JG dancing
Rock Climbing Photo: Jonny on p2 of Ashtar Command Tower. Photo by Gigi...
Jonny on p2 of Ashtar Command Tower. Photo by Gigi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Not a bad view
Not a bad view
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy higher up
Andy higher up
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Grasse on the 2nd pitch of Ashtar Command.
Bill Grasse on the 2nd pitch of Ashtar Command.

Show All 29 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Ashtar Command Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 13, 2017
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 30, 2006

A real great climb, short approach and fun moves. Takes great pro the whole way. There are actually two sets of chains on the official "first" pitch with the first set about 75 ft off the deck and the second at the end of the crack as is continues to thin before traversing onto the bolted pitch. This is most likely to faciltate rapping off as my 60 meter rope was about 15 feet short of being able to rap off the top set of chains. And yes, prepare to star in some tourists home movie. (Another nice feature of this climb is that it is in the shade in the afternoon!) hmm..and i guess it could be good first lead if you don't mind breaking in at 5.9?
By k. riemondy
From: Boulder, Co
Oct 23, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A dozen video cameras is a good number to expect when climbing this route. Maybe more in the summer season when it gets hot. Excellent exposure on the second pitch, with nice shade most of time.
By Mark and Stacy Egan
May 4, 2008

There are 14 bolts on the second pitch. Two of the bolts are 1 foot apart which made me think that the first ascensionist thought one of those bolts was not bomber. I clipped both bolts and climbed on.
The second and third rappel stations are left of the route as you face the route (climbers left). I thought I would be able to rap the route itself but I found that a single 60 meter rope would not reach the anchors at the top of pitch 1 from the top of pitch 2. It was approximately 15 feet short of the chains. The second pitch is more like 110-120 feet of vertical distance. Note that the three rappel stations use webbing instead of chains. Also, a 60 meter rope just makes it to the ground from the third rappel station. A 50 meter rope will be too short.
Both pitches are fun! And yes, you will entertain the crowds waiting to get through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
By Gaar
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
May 4, 2008

Mark, the two bolts 1 ft apart are supposed to be an intermediate anchor. Both bolts are bomber. Most parties just skip them, but on a windy or loud day it is help full, for communication
By Mark and Stacy Egan
May 8, 2008

Gaar, thanks for the clarification!
By George Vigeon
From: Bend, OR
Jun 6, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Super fun sandstone climbing and the crack takes everything. The traverse to the first both is exciting for both and the crowd that congregates because of traffic issues in the tunnel are always entertaining. You can hear everything they say, but they can't hear you. My favorite comment was, "Why in the world are those two up there?" Communication issues are resolved buy yelling at the wall behind you at the top, acoustics send the sound to the belayer rather than out into the grater canyon.
By JayBrink
Dec 12, 2009

This is a really rad climb. totally worth it
the crack is bomber the whole way and takes ssome of the best gear i've placed. the crimpy second pitch is a blast as you cant see or hear the belay and you jsut have to climb. its pretty slabby and the holds are chalked up pretty well.
i liked running out to the first bolt on the second pitch- adds to the experience
its a great tower.
does anyone knon what the anchors on the back side are to?
By skeers
Sep 3, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Unbelievable!!! The first pitch was just another classic crack with pro! but leading the second sport pitch was "mind bottling". A 5.9 with this kind of bolt spacing, amazing exposure, and the chance for passer byes to ooh and aha. This equals total classic..... A definite tic for anyone who comes to Zion.
By Courtney Pace
From: Sandy
Oct 16, 2011

Stop at the first set of anchors for a much more comfortable stance if you can convince yourself to stop. We rapped from top in one rap with 2 60 meters with a few feet to spare.
By Alec LaLonde
Feb 21, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

If you like the second pitch of this one go do Made to be Broken. Similar-style climbing, but five pitches and a little stouter.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Mar 6, 2014

great climb. placed up to one BD #1 for P1 (didn't place any stoppers; next time won't bother with them). P2 started with a 0.5 cam halfway to the first bolt, then clipped that first bolt and 11 others, for a total of 12 bolt clips on P2 (having skipped one of the two closely bolted ones mentioned above and counting the last topside bolt protecting the topout)
By scottso
From: St. George, Utah
Apr 15, 2014

Brought a single set of cams from blue TCU to BD #3 and had to stop at first set of anchors. If you are a 5.9 climber bring 2 sets of cams. I will bring 2 sets of TCUs when I do it again.
By the professor
Oct 20, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Very nice position, rock, and movement. The 5.9 mantle near the start of the 2nd pitch is a bit exciting. Wouldn't want to fall there.
By Marlene Machemy
From: Squamish
May 26, 2016

Pitch 2 is super exposed and fun! You can rap from the top set of anchors down to the ground with one 70m rope.
By Chris Mutzel
From: Seattle, Washington
Dec 2, 2016

Goes in 1 70m for the so inclined. Single rack, if that for the first pitch, then a yellow Metolius below the second anchors for P1 with a runner, before traversing into P2. I extended runners on a bunch of the P2 bolts to make the rope run straight. Very fun this way!

We brought a 70m tag-line/half rope to rappel the whole tower as well (that is, two 70s to rappel from top of P2 to the base).
By Andy Bussell
From: Los Angeles, California
May 1, 2017

Climbed this route on Saturday 4/29. A little chilly in the wind and shade but not too bad. Great route! The first pitch has some nice sinker hand jams the just feel good, though the jugs make it so that you don't really have to use the crack much. The second pitch is clearly the harder pitch, though it's really not too hard. A couple of mantle moves a few feet above the bolts in 3 spots that you wouldn't really want to fall on but it's not hard.
By Jeremy Lubkin
From: Boulder, CO
May 3, 2017

There is a loose hanger/nut on P2 just as the traverse ends and it goes upwards. I finger-tightened the nut but if some nice someone would fix it proper I'm sure it would be appreciated.
By two chains
From: Fucken Zion
Aug 13, 2017
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

As of today the loose hanger was tightend with a wrench. Come on people keep an adjustable wrech on your rack. Be part of the solution not part of the problem.

Single rack to #2
2 70m ropes= 1 double rope rappel and your on the ground.
Saw no .5 placement to first bolt on 2nd P. Just run it out its 5.0 to first bolt.

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