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Castle Rock - South Tower
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Mrs. Robinson T 
North Face Route, The T 

The North Face Route 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 270', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: unknown
Season: any
Page Views: 1,049
Submitted By: Matthew.Johnson91 on Apr 10, 2015

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
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BETA PHOTO: This is the South Tower, viewed from the North.

Description 

This is the easiest and safest route up the South Tower of Castle Rock. We did it in 4 pitches to reduce rope-drag as the 1st and 3rd pitches are meandering in nature. Pitch 1: rope up to climb a series of ledges that are mostly 4th and easy 5th class but with one crack requiring a 5.7 hand-jam - probably the most technically difficult move on the route. Traverse up and left, do the short 5.7 handjam crack, then traverse back right as high as you can go to the obvious ledge below Pitch 2. maybe 130 feet Pitch 2: Here you are faced with your choice of two off-width cracks separated by a blocky column. Take the right-most crack which has lots of great holds and features. Although there's some loose rock at the top of this pitch, there's also plenty of solid stuff. Take your time and test each hold. Belay at two-bolt anchor taking great care not to dislodge the many loose rocks on the sloping ledge. Great Pitch! maybe 70 feet, 5.6. Pitch 3: Traverse left, up a short crack then back right up to the biggest ledge just before things get steep. Anchor with cams in any of the many cracks available. 5.5, 50 feet. Pitch 4: This is the money pitch - great protection and awesome 5.5 climbing on chickenheads and cracks with the valley yawning away below. Move right from the belay ledge and follow the cracks and chickenheads to a classic summit. Sling the large juniper God put there just for climbers for your belay. 5.5, 60 feet. Note: If you're the kind of climber who doesn't mind running out 5.5 on loose rock over a yawning abyss, you could run pitches 3 and 4 together, placing gear only the at beginning of the 4th pitch to avoid rope-drag. I wouldn't recommend it though. Not a classic perhaps but a good route and an excellent moderate outing depositing you on a classic summit.

Location 

See photos for orientation location. Two double-rope (60m) rappels will get you back to your your backpack. Be aware of the presence of a couple of prickly pear cacti which will want to interfere with your rope-retrieval efforts after the final rappel.

Protection 

Trad. Full rack of cams and nuts will do nicely with some long slings. Bring some slings to leave, black or sandstone color please. There is a two-bolt anchor on the on the top of pitch 2, the right one looks dubious and the hanger spins easily, the left one is solid. Beta per 2015.


Photos of The North Face Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Lori williams on pitch two.....
Lori williams on pitch two.....
Rock Climbing Photo: Lori Williams and Tucker Tech on summet.
Lori Williams and Tucker Tech on summet.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lori Williams top of pitch 3.
Lori Williams top of pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Preparing to descend.
Preparing to descend.
Rock Climbing Photo: Arlene on top.
Arlene on top.
Rock Climbing Photo: Troy pulling up over the edge to top out, pitch 4....
Troy pulling up over the edge to top out, pitch 4....
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt on Summit, slung juniper belay.
Matt on Summit, slung juniper belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt on the summit, juniper belay.
Matt on the summit, juniper belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt Johnson, Arlene Cherniak, Troy Dixon top of p...
Matt Johnson, Arlene Cherniak, Troy Dixon top of p...
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt on top of Pitch 3
Matt on top of Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: The bush doctor approaching the top of the 3rd pit...
The bush doctor approaching the top of the 3rd pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 1
Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2
Pitch 2
Rock Climbing Photo: View from top of 1st pitch.
View from top of 1st pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of South Tower of Castle Rock from the 179 i...
BETA PHOTO: Photo of South Tower of Castle Rock from the 179 i...

Comments on The North Face Route Add Comment
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By Nick Rawcliffe
From: Flagstaff AZ
Nov 12, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This was a really fun route for a moderate trad leader, similar to Queen Victoria but with more climbing and more exposure. Rockfall has the potential to be very serious on this route, especially around the top of the second pitch. Pulling ropes is also an issue, we lost our ropes up there but fortunately a 60m double rope rappel just barley makes it to the bottom of the first pitch, safer as two raps though. This route is in need of some bolt replacement/addition.
By Derek Field
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 2, 2016
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Worthwhile route despite a fair bit of loose rock. Good short (10') finger crack on pitch 1 goes at 5.7. Second pitch offwidth/squeeze is dirty, makes you earn it. Watch out for loose blocks on upper ledges of this pitch. Fun traverse pitch followed by easy rambling to the summit overlooking Oak Creek Village. Double-rope rappel from juniper tree to bolts and then to ground, then probably spend half an hour picking microscopic prickly-pear spines out of your rope.
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
Apr 24, 2016

Loose, dangerous, chossy and not very relaxing route to climb;...but still fun in a sic/twisted way;.....we liked it. Another grand sandstone summit. Rope landed in a cacti on the last rap. One of the bolts at the last rap is sticking out a little bit;...it's still bomber.
By Tyler Eglen
Apr 17, 2017

Absolutely agree with Todd Gordon on this one. Pitch 2 was a fun off-width, but once you clear the section and scramble up to the belay the rock is VERY loose, and some of the rocks are quite large (50+ pounders). Made me nervous for myself and belayer.

Looking at the photo with yellow topo line we ended up veering right instead of left on the last pitch. At that point we were tired of cleaning off and inspecting every single hold and just got to the summit quickly.

Standard nuts and cams were fine. We used already installed accessory cord, and added some nylon(purple/red/black) as a backup for the rappel. If you're replacing you need at least 10 feet as the juniper tree is a bit far off the ledge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Replacing some old nylon and prepping the rap. Apr...
Replacing some old nylon and prepping the rap. April 16 2017. Bring at least 10 feet to replace.
By Jonathan Croom
Jul 19, 2017

Easily rapped with a single 60 m rope. First rap is from tree at top, less that 30 m to the two bolt anchor. Rap from there takes you to the 4th class at the start. Downclimb or do third rap from tree. I was solo, and carried a lot more than I needed because this page said two ropes were required.

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