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The Tower 

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

Type:  Sport, 50'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
Page Views: 11,359
Submitted By: david baker on Jan 31, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (167)
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My girlfriend Nicole Marcos TR'ing The Tower. 5.7+...

Current San Diego County Advisories MORE INFO >>>


This is a must do for the new leader. The route has 4 bolts. There is a horizontal crack 15 feet from the ground that will take a .75 cam if you feel uncomfortable climbing to the first bolt. The crux comes on the top half of the climb. Once you hit a large ledge you clip the third bolt and do a side pull on to a large foot hold. The climbing is good and straight forward. This is a fun quality climb. To get to The Tower from the ramp walk south on the loop trail for 125 yards you will see the tower with four bolts.


4 quick draws medium size cam optional. Bolt anchor and rap station at top of tower.

Photos of The Tower Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Dave LaSorte at the crux section.
Dave LaSorte at the crux section.
Rock Climbing Photo: The move
The move
Rock Climbing Photo: Moving closer to the bolt.
Moving closer to the bolt.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mixed Lead for the Tower
Mixed Lead for the Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: John Tyhonas on "The Tower", 5.7 at Miss...
John Tyhonas on "The Tower", 5.7 at Miss...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chi leading The Tower
Chi leading The Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: The Tower (5.7)
The Tower (5.7)

Comments on The Tower Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 8, 2016
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 27, 2008

real fun climb.
By David Haughton
From: Sacramento, CA
Jun 2, 2008

Fun climb! My guide book calls this on a 5.8 but I'm too new to judge if that's accurate. Note that if you don't want to lead it there is a scramble up the right side of the tower and you can drop a toprope. Don't fall on the scramble though, you'll end up sliding down a fairly slippery slab.
By steve richert
From: Taunton MA
Oct 17, 2009

This is a fun route but I would say for the new leader, the crux move is a bit committing since blowing this move could cause you to ledge out with one or both feet. My wife had an easier time though and she is short...I am 6'3 and it was a real stumper for me.
By Caleb Cerling
From: Boulder, CO
May 15, 2010

Fun Climb, great for new leaders. If your uncomfortable with the crux note that you can cheat to the left and climb up a small slab to access the fourth bolt.
By rocky233
May 17, 2010

New Leaders Please Take Note:
This is NOT a Sport Climb.
This is a mixed (bolt & gear) climb for 5.7-8 leaders.
New leaders, especially sport leaders, should think twice before running this climb out on only bolts.
If you're an experienced 5.9 leader, go for it.
The 4 bolts were placed in typical Mission Gorge style so that up to 4 gear placements could also be made, depending on your comfort level.
1. 1st piece - low down in first 10 ft, optional.
2. 2nd piece - in horizontal just before first bolt, strongly recommended.
3. 3rd piece - under small overhang just before third bolt, optional large cam. clipping bolt is easy, but serious fall if you slip.
4. 4th piece - after last bolt and before exit (slightly right) for those concerned about running out the finish.
By Kyle Wills
From: Chicago, IL
Sep 13, 2010

In the online guide by Mr Messier, he mentions climbing the crack to the right of the tower as an equally interesting varition. The climbing to the ledge before the upper half of tower is basically 4th class, but theres is about 9 feet of 5.4 climbing and then a really fun (mission gorge standards) 5.7/5.8 crack section involving pulling over a bulge with a couple food fist jams. For those who have done the tower a million times and are looking for something different this is a good option.
By RockyR
From: Encinitas, CA
Aug 12, 2011

2.22.11 - first lead! I used to put gear before the first bolt and after the last bolt. This is where I started gear placement. Great way to practice. It is a fun route!
By Mark Pemberton
Oct 17, 2012

An easy way to make this a purely sport route is to climb the sloped section to the right of the route, hook the first draw, and get lowered down to the start. This way you have some protection for the first 15 ft of the route and it isn't quite as sketchy. Enjoy
By sdrockstar81
From: el cajon, CA
Oct 28, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I rated this 5.8 because of the boulder-esk move near the top.
By Josh Cameron
From: California in my Mind
Dec 23, 2012
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

Not sure why everyone loves this climb. Its an ok climb especially considering that it is right next to the far superior "As the Crow Flies."
By ChadC
From: San Diego CA
Feb 17, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

The move off the ledge to the last bolt is scary. Unless you are tall enough to get a quickdraw into the bolt before you make the move. Falling at this point would do some body damage if your not on that last bolt it feels like.
By ChaseLeoncini
From: San Diego, California
Feb 28, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

^^There are four bolts on the tower. The first bolt is like 25' up, if you do the face i recommend getting a piece in, someone said theres a spot.. Bolt 2 is fine and Bolt 3 is the bolt at the ledge, falling before clipping this is most likely and i think most dangerous. Bolt 4 is pretty close to bolt 3 and after the crux move your pretty much standing normal. To help theres a really good hold on the left for lie-backing and clipping bolt 3. :)
By Jason Kim
From: Encinitas, CA
Mar 31, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fun route, IMO a sandbag at 5.7, considering the crux move.
By BJ Cook
From: San Diego, California
Apr 6, 2015
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

I agree with Jason Kim. The 1st bolt is like 25 feet up and the crux move is harder than 5.7. I watch folks pause at that transfer move for like 5 minutes trying to figure it out all the time.
By Karl Christensen
May 12, 2015

Found a quickdraw yesterday, third bolt up. email me with a description and i can try and get it back to you.
By Tom Thomas
From: Pittsburgh
Jul 28, 2015

This climb was quite fun and felt safe to me. The climb came down to one move with good holds and a little friction. here are some long arm pics of me solo leading this gem..
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Rock Climbing Photo: just pass the crux.. having fun!
just pass the crux.. having fun!

Rock Climbing Photo: higher up the route
higher up the route

Rock Climbing Photo: looking up after the climb try to decide if I shou...
looking up after the climb try to decide if I should do it again..
By Micah McAllaster
From: San Diego, California
Jan 2, 2016
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13

Easy climb other than the move before the third bolt. You can reach out and up and get yourself clipped before the crux. My first lead without help. I didn't use any extra gear just 4 bolts and an anchor.
By Joshua Dee
From: San Diego, CA
Jan 18, 2016
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

Easy until the last clip/ boulder move at the top. Not a big deal either except you risk a deck fall from footholds which are smooth as glass, so be mindful but stay confident.
By Will H.
Feb 6, 2016
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

If you feel comfortable at the grade, one piece before the first bolt should suffice (in the horizontal). Fun and somewhat committing crux move (5.8-).
By Begmar Rabadan
Mar 29, 2016

Hi, can anybody gave me directions on how to get this spot? Please
By Scotty Dusek
From: San Diego
Jul 8, 2016
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I have brought two friends here for their first lead. It a good lead for anyone climbing comfortably at the grade. While one could place gear I don't see any need to so, the first 3/4 of the climb is only 5.5 or 5.6 and is not runout IMO. The crux move is above a ledge, so it's not ideal territory for a fall. If 5.7 is near your limit this isn't the route for you (but if 5.7 is near your limit you should top rope more before you worry about leading anyway).

If you send someone up on their first lead and then follow them up (rather than top roping) be sure to tell them not to put the rope in the dirt around the anchor. There is ample flat clean rock available but new leaders may not realize the importance of keeping the rope clean and just flake it out in the dirt where they arrive.

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