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North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill) 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c C1 R

Type:  Trad, Aid, 4 pitches, 400', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c C1 R [details]
FA: Ken Wyrick and Tom Merrill, 1973
Page Views: 6,637
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Nov 24, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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Raw terror is expressed at the shaky belay by Aaro...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Pitch 1 - Climb a museum-quality bolt ladder up the face and into a chimney finishing at a semi-hanging belay. This pitch is a bolting history lesson complete with buttonheads, star drive-ins, 30 year old 1/4 inch machine bolts etc... (C1)

Pitch 2 -Continue up the mud chimney past an old ring angle climbing mostly free. When the chimney pinches down, work up to the right onto dirty ledges. From here, the route traverses up and right on the dirty ledges until you are below another obvious chimney. Aid a small bulge using an old fixed pin and continue up the easy chimney to a bolted anchor. (5.4 R, C1)

Pitch 3 - Scramble along the top of the tower to the gap that separates you from the summit. (4th class)

Pitch 4 - Rappel 25 feet into the notch and climb out the other side via a chimney which pinches down to offwidth at the top. (5.8 or C1)

Descent: Reverse the Route.


A large set of small nuts for leaving on the old bolts on the first pitch. 1 Set of cams from black Alien to #3.5 Camalot (#4 Camalot optional). Doubles in #.5 - #1 Camalots. Tri-Cams: 1 Pink, 1 Red, 1 Brown. A few Tie-Offs. Butterfly Rivet Hangers are nice to have.

Photos of North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ben K, leading the 1st pitch.
Ben K, leading the 1st pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: View down the nasty mud gully (1st pitch).  What a...
BETA PHOTO: View down the nasty mud gully (1st pitch). What a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down at spooky, 5.4 climbing on pitch 2.
Looking down at spooky, 5.4 climbing on pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: A typical example of the quality fixed gear on the...
A typical example of the quality fixed gear on the...
Rock Climbing Photo: North Face Route
BETA PHOTO: North Face Route
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the dubious bolt ladder on pitch one.
Climbing the dubious bolt ladder on pitch one.

Comments on North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 20, 2012
By Joe Forrester
From: Palo Alto
Dec 15, 2005

The bolts truly are very old on the first pitch. I couldn't help but laugh as I was climbing. This was a fun little climb and has less commitment than any of the fishers down river a bit. There is another variation that continues up the chimney on pitch 2 and then just traveses along the top of the tower. Climbers who are unfamiliar with archaic desert bolt ladders might find this climb to be a bit scarier than the typical c1 route. Be prepared for zest.
By Bryan Gartland
From: Helena, MT
Dec 15, 2005

So, is the free climbing 5.4 or 5.8?
By Brad Brandewie
Dec 17, 2005

The required free climbing tops out at spooky 5.4. The last moves can be freed at 5.8 or they can be aided at C1. The last pitch rating should have read (5.8 or C1).

More pictures and a TR at
By Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)
Jun 17, 2007

Troy, Isn't that the thrill of a dessert route, though?.....stay safe. Best, Cam
By Ben Kiessel
Jun 18, 2007

I totally agree that the 40 year old bolts you are forced to use in the desert add to the experience. But does it make it a better or worse experience?
By Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)
Apr 7, 2008

Jeez, Ben.
that's a life question. Too heavy for these pages......Cam
By Ben Kiessel
Apr 8, 2008

Sorry Cam. It won't happen again.
By jmeizis
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 11, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b C1 R

Wow, my first desert aid climb, my first mud tower. Also my friends first aid climb ever. It took us three days to top it out. Grade III means three days right? The first day we drove out there around noon and had trouble looking for a road to drive towards it. Turns out the road is closed and by that time we decided it was too late to start up anyways. The next day we came back a little earlier and after carefully picking our way through the desert terrain for several hours we finally made it to the base. I let my friend lead the first pitch bolt ladder and after freezing for a few hours he exclaimed, "I can't do it, I'm just too tired. Fortunately I could lower him down and I finished up the pitch but by the time we were both at the anchors it was getting dark so we fixed both of our ropes and rappelled all the way past our previous approach difficulties. The next day we ascended to the anchors and I noticed the 4th piece of the anchor was moving. So quickly moving into the 5.4 R/X section I slowed down to enjoy the fact that I could possibly die. Reaching the anchors I did the rest of the climbing. The exposed jump across to the only good anchor in my opinion. Rapped down into the notch and climbed the weird summit block. Set up a tyrolean. Basically did all the work, while freezing. This would be a good summer route. Scary and an education in different kinds of crappy fixed gear and scary climbing. Probably a good intro to the Fisher's, guess I'll find out.

P.S. The nice slings, biners, and lockers on the first anchor are mine. We did a double rope rap from the false summit in the dark and none of us were able to reach the first pitch anchors. My theory on why it was left there I'm guessing the second thought we were going to have to rap off there so they left the gear. We brought webbing to replace the green tat we cut off. Instead we left more expensive stuff. Oh well.
By GMBurns
Apr 12, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1 R

Pffft...piece of cake, right? My first aid lead and it was on a solid 130 feet of quarter-inchers with wingnuts. I pumped out before reaching the first anchor, so a buddy finished that up.

Topping out on the summit via a tyrolean traverse was fun (scary). The rock is considerably better after the first two pitches. I mean, it's no longer mud at that point.

If you have two 60m ropes then you can rap all the way down from the top of the third pitch anchors (skipping the scary-as-shit first anchor). It's very close, though, so make sure you stay left in the chimney on the rap down. Otherwise, you'll have to swing left to the ledge at the start. Tie knots on your ends just in case.
Feb 18, 2012

Two wingnut rivits blew out on Feb. 12th. The first one was passed using a tomahawk in the dimple and the second forced us to rap off... equlized two horrible ring wafers (tied off) and bailed. The next party should take a drill to fix the highest pulled rivit at least. I still have the first rivit, it was in about 3/8ths of an inch. It blew out after I was on it for a minute. No bounce testing either, just your standard Fisher Towers "ooze" from one peice of fixed mank to another.
Edit: the first blew out just about where the climber is in the picture marked "Climbing the dubious bolt ladder on pitch one", the second about 3 moves higher.
Feb 20, 2012

What Jeremy said....
80 ft bolt ladder of rusted crud to muddy 5.4 chimmney. Although the ridge climbing is sort of neat.
and they will fall out, some sooner than later.

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