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The Tapeworm 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a A3 R

Type:  Aid, Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a A3 R [details]
FA: Brad Jarret and Brian Warsaw
Page Views: 1,263
Submitted By: Ben Folsom on Oct 24, 2001

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John Slezak at the 4th belay on the second ascent ...

RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek MORE INFO >>>


This is a good steep aid line that climbs the Southeast face of the formation between Deadmans Party and Run Amok. To approach, hike the trail to inbetween Cottontail Tower and the Titan and hike up the hill to the base of the route.

P1- This used to be some free climbing and some tricky moves but unfortunately somebody has drilled a bolt ladder. Climb the bolt ladder to the ledge directly below Run Amok. Traverse left on the ledge until you come to thin cracks that rise from the left end of the ledge.

P2- Difficult thin nailing on a very steep wall to a hanging belay at bolts. (A3+)

P3- Moderate nailing in a right leaning corner which progressively gets harder and scarier until you reach another hanging belay at bolts. (A3)

P4- Climb the steep mud curtain above and into a chimney system with nailing and hooking. The belay is from bolts on the outside of the chimney on the right side. (A3)

P5- Climb a bolt ladder to some 5.9 free climbing in a chimney (really good) When the free climbing runs out, climb another long bolt ladder to a shallow alcove. Above the alcove some very shallow knifeblade moves will get you to a small diving board formation where you make a mantle. From there, a difficult move gets you to another short bolt ladder and another hanging belay. (A3+)

P6- Nail a moderate corner and then more difficult aid to the top of the tower.

To descend, rappel the opposite side of the tower from the routes final anchors down a deep, wide chimney called the bowels of the tapeworm. Its 4 or 5 raps to get down. The descent is clean and hassle free.

John Slezak and I did the second ascent of this route in full winter conditions in December of 1994. We climbed it without fixed ropes and bivied in portaledges for three nights. It was cold, and for the first three days there were blizzards of snow and slush. One storm happened while John was leading the chimney on pitch four. I was at the belay and mud and water poured out of the chimney next to me for a couple hours. It was like being next to a chocolate waterfall. The final day of the climb was my 19th birthday. The summit was a good birthday present.


Full aid rack- Pins from beaks to big angles, two sets of cams from tiny to #4 Camalot. Micro nuts, stoppers and hooks.

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By Andrew Wellman
Oct 24, 2001

Ben, again I'm really impressed. That doesn't sound like very much fun to me, but some people have different ideas of fun. A few questions: When you say A3 nailing in the fishers, I'm curious as to what you mean. Do you typically evaluate placements like you would in granite, and rate them that way, thereby making an A3 fishers pitch way scarier than an A3 El Cap pithc because the rock quality is always suspect. Or do you take rock quality into consideration, meaning an A3 pitch would probably be A2 on El Cap, but it's not here, since the rock is so questionable. Thanks!
By Andrew Wellman
Oct 24, 2001

Ben- O.K. Im pretty sure I get what you're saying. I guess my question went more like this. In granite, you usually have a number of placements that you know probably won't take a fall - heads, beaks, most hooks, tiny RPs, sketchy tied offs etc. This would obviously be the same on sandstone. But say you're in the middle of some A3 Fisher Towers pitch and after a long ways get in a decent angle. That's the only piece from you to the belay that might hold a fall, but becasue the rock is usually suspect, it's hard to rely on this one piece to catch a huge fall. Therefore, is this pitch A3, or say A4, assuming that maybe that piece won't hold the fall, where in perfect rock, you'd be quite confident that it would? This is all just curiousity. I've done some granite big walls and the colorado ridge, but I'm just trying to find out what the realms of possibility are to expect on an A3 route in the fisher towers. So, answer if you can, I guess. Thanks, andy.
By Joe Forrester
From: Palo Alto
Feb 8, 2007

How are the rap stations down the bowel of the tapeworm? Did you rap the route?
By Ben Folsom
Aug 29, 2007

It was 1994 when we did this route, so I don't know what the condition of the anchors is rapping down the bowels of the tapeworm, but when we did it they were bomber and it was a quick descent from the top.

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