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James Tower AKA The Lightblub 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A1

Type:  Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A1 [details]
FA: James Garret 1990
Page Views: 5,479
Submitted By: Brian Milhaupt on Oct 18, 2002

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We rappelled The Light Bulb after dark, and the st...


James Tower is the knob located on the west side of Buckhorn Wash approximately 1 mile north of the river. There is a pullout on the west side of the road a little way past the tower. To breach the chinle hike up the wash (along the chinle) to the west of the pullout until an easy scramble is reached.The route begins on the north side of the tower in a handcrack and winds left around to the south side and a big ledge. The crack gets progressively larger as it curves around the tower. There is an optional belay with three good bolts at approximately 75'. The final pitch is a bolt ladder up the south face (10 or 11 clips). There is a whole slew of bolts at the top offering several descent options. With two ropes it is one rappel to the ground off the east side. With one rope it would be two or three raps.


Camalots 1-4 or 4.5, one set should suffice, two #3 would be useful. Long runners if you want to do it in two pitches.

Photos of James Tower AKA The Lightblub Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: My first solo tower...
My first solo tower...
Rock Climbing Photo: single rap off the top
single rap off the top
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch from belay.  This photo is from 2005.
2nd pitch from belay. This photo is from 2005.
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch.
1st pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Clare Shemeta following Roylnn's first aid lead on...
Clare Shemeta following Roylnn's first aid lead on...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alison Conrad leading p1 of the lightbulb.
BETA PHOTO: Alison Conrad leading p1 of the lightbulb.
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the road as you are driving south.
BETA PHOTO: View from the road as you are driving south.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nice silhouette of the lightbulb!  I ended up hiki...
Nice silhouette of the lightbulb! I ended up hiki...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down while soloing the bolt ladder.
Looking down while soloing the bolt ladder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Owen on his way up to The Lightbulb. (James T...
Mark Owen on his way up to The Lightbulb. (James T...

Comments on James Tower AKA The Lightblub Add Comment
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By Brent Higgins
Mar 27, 2006

Definitely a classic summit, if a little off the beaten path! Kudo's to James for putting this up and NOT pulling everything on the bolt ladder after the FA! When I climbed it I found a slightly "less thuggish" but more "slackerish" option to the first pitch. It involved soloing a ~5.6 corner and then face climbing up slabs to the far-right of the tower and then a somewhat sketchy downclimb/upclimb on the tower formation itself to establish oneself at the start of the bolt ladder. It appeared to have been done several times before due to the worn footpath to my rope-up point. As of 3/06 all hardware on the bolt ladder and the anchor on the summit was in decent shape. A #3 camalot is helpful for the last move before belly-flopping onto the summit.

If you want to see pics and the trip report they're available at the following path:
By James Garrett
Jun 7, 2006

Hi Brent,
Thankyou for submitting the fine pictures of The Lightbulb. I loved seeing them as I have no pictures of my time on the rock. I have gone back once to install that new anchor at top of pitch #1 and also to lessen the rope pull drag from the summit anchors. Is the final placement really a #3 Camalot? I remember placing a piton, I thought??? On the original ascent, I drilled all anchors by hand with no fixing and I was alone, hung over, and in a hurry. But, I have been accused of impatience before.Glad to hear you found the approach...I have heard of people having real epics getting to the tower...just hike up the wash to the north of the tower and look for a weakness in the rim wall which is now marked with plenty of cairns, I believe? shouldn't take more than 25-30 minutes for the approach hike these days with a light pack. Now the route can be climbed with one rope, two rappels, and with much more confidence inspiring anchors. My Huntington friend Layne Potter also installed a summit register which is always entertaining. It doesn't possess the same type of welcome relief as does the summit register on Quartermoon at Ibex, but I am happy to hear about so many people climbing this beautiful and unusual chunk of a tower with such a forgiving rating. I love the first crack pitch. It is really a moderately rated and wildly exposed outing for us gumbies.... out there for a good time! I think I want to go do it again!
By royserati
Sep 19, 2007

What a great route! The approach was super simple by following the wash up then picking your way through a small cliffband. This was my first aid route (excellent pro!) and I'd like to know if there are a bunch more out there like it that haven't made it into Proj? Hope so.

The 5.10 P1 was very protectable and pretty moderate for desert cracks. The aid was straight forward and the bolts/pins bomber. I never saw the summit register, but with four women sitting on the top of that tiny spire, you get the idea. Anchors were in good shape, too.
By Crag Turkey
From: Holladay, UT
Mar 16, 2015

This is one of my new favorite desert towers. aesthetic formation, killer hand crack, straightforward aiding, no crowds, all in one. I'd recommend linking pitch one and two to the bolt ladder. Be sure to use long runners for this. In addition, I wish I had two #2 Camalots instead of one. I used a #5 and a #4, and some may want two #4s. I think it is doable with only two big pieces, but three would add some security for the new 10 leader. Smallest I placed was a .75, but there is opportunities for smaller. #3 Camalot will fit in a chossy pocket at the top if you want to add some security to the bolt ladder. Other than that pro suggestions are accurate. Get after this!

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