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Argon Tower
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North Northeast 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 250', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Gordon & Evans 1984
Page Views: 1,181
Submitted By: david goldstein on Oct 28, 2002

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North Northeast. Dave Evans on the big ledge. Pho...

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  • Description 

    This would be a good climb if it were on decent rock. Otherwise, it's a weak one star, but more or less worthwhile from the adventure standpoint. It supposedly goes free; we employed some sort of trickery on every pitch. The unreliable nature of the "stone" discourages any kind of bold free climbing.

    The route climbs the leftmost line on the north end of the tower.

    From the ledge on the west side of the tower, spot a set slings 20' up on at the far left side of the west face.

    P1 40' 5.6 (?) Figure out a way of reaching the slings. This pitch looks like easy and straightforward friction but our shoes shot off slopes we thought they'd stick on. Our leader ended up lowering into a gully from which he could nervously free climb up to the slings.

    P2 25' 5.10 (?) Free climb or aid or free free or whatever up a thin vertical crack to a large ledge. Belay as far to the east of the ledge as you can.

    P3 100' 5.10 (?) Climb the hands and wider crack system on the left, not the thin crack system directly above P2. Getting into the crack system is tricky -- not sure how anyone free climbs this. We climbed up ten feet and tension traversed into the crack. Once into the crack it's hands and cups for about 50' until you reach two old bolts at a poor stance beneath an offwidth/chimney section through a bulge. Continue past the offwidth and a short layback and hand traverse section (#2 - #1 Friends) and belay at a decent ledge below a a short left facing corner.

    P4 30' 5.11 (?) Up the corner which starts at #1 Friends and diminishes to blue Alien. A couple of face moves on disintegrating holds gets you to a two bolt anchor below the summit bolt ladder.

    P5 20' 5.8 C0. This pitch was challenging even with pulling and standing on each bolt. Ends with mandatory free climbing.

    Descent: From the top of the P4, rap the west face. Two 60 meter ropes might get you to the bottom in one. It was too dark to see the ground, so we made a second rap off and anchor midway down.


    1 set medium nutsDouble set of cams from blue alien to 1.5 Friend3 ea 2 - 3.5 Camalot.1 ea #4 Friend, #3.5 & #4 CamalotA few slings and quickdraws

    Comments on North Northeast Add Comment
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    By Stan Pitcher
    From: SLC, UT
    Nov 7, 2002

    This is a worthwhile route on a really cool tower although it is pretty sandy. I think we freed it all but the crux on the 2nd to last pitch. Would be much easier if it were granite!
    By rpc
    Jan 3, 2006

    We did Argon via West Face route 4 days ago. WF shares the last pitch with this route I think. The "bolt ladder" is no longer there. There's only 1 "bolt" (hanging halfway out of the rock)~8 feet above the belay bolts. Burns (who describes the West face route - but his description is TOTALLY OFF) rates this last pitch as 5.8 face. Green (Rock Climbing Utah book) rates it at 10c. Don't think this pitch can be rated 5.8 with a straight face. Even when using this lone bolt as both a handhold and a foot hold, the pitch felt pretty hard.
    By toddgordon Gordon
    From: Joshua Tree, California
    Jan 19, 2007

    Dave Evans and I are credited with the first Ascent in 1984 in Eric's book;.....but this is incorrect; we did climb the route in 1984, but it wasn't the first ascent of the route or the tower. On the summit, there was a register, with names of famous climbers from yesterday;....we didn't feel worthy to sign our names next to these legends and "real" climbers....we were just two goofs from California who managed to get up this tower. The register, I believe, only had listed two other parties that had done the tower. It had some sections of very loose rock near the top, and had an exciting summit. We had a very great time and adventure. When we did the tower, we had no information about the climb, it's rating, nor did we even know the name of the tower. We just thought it would be a cool thing to climb, we were pretty sure it had been climbed before, and we climbed the route that we could see from the road.

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