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The Watchtower
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The Watchtower Corner 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 350'
Original:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: John Van Keuren & George Brasieck (led), 6/21/73
Page Views: 162
Submitted By: Matt Bauman on Jan 1, 2001

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This sweet corner shoots 200 feet straight up the Watchtower.....the last major crag up the canyon before merging with the peak-to-peak's on the left side of the road and is a very pointy and large (300+ feet) tower right off the road (can't miss it). The left side of the tower has a very large corner/v-slot/dihedral that has 2 bulges with a wide crack. You belay at the top of the corner on a little perch in a notch. Pitch 2 goes up a rotten chimney easily to the summit.


Trad rack; medium to large cams.

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By Matt Bauman
Jan 1, 2001

I climbed this a few months ago (December I think) but it was a crappy is such a nice looking line....I started up wet slabs for 25 feet of easy but slippery (it had been snowing the last week and this is north facing) slab to gain the HUGE corner. A decent crack with easy stemming on lichen covered and wet rock for 100 feet and you reach a roof/bulge and the crack widens to #4 Camalot (I had only 1). By now a snow storm was dumping wet snow and my rock shoes were not feeling confident on this, the steepest section of rock and very wet and getting wetter every second.....luckily I had anticipated this weather (just hoped it wouldn't come) and brought one aider along. The #4 was way in the crack and aiding off of it was proving impossible to clear the roof/bulge.....WOW, I saw an old bolt with the head busted off, but sticking out just enuff was 1/4 inch rustiness that I slung a small stopper around and clipped in the aider....UP I went (leaving the aider for my buddy to aid) to another smaller bulge that I was forced to free climb (#4 was behind me and #3 was way too small....#5 would have been nice to have along, thanks for the shitty gear recommendation Hubbel) nice armbars and knee jams got me above this little bulge and the next 30 foot runout to the end of the 200 foot corner in a nice notch. My buddy followed up and was frozen and soaked by the time he got to the anchor (he was in a lot of pain from his hands being frozen from the wet rock and the snow that continued to dump on us). I led up the easy and loose chimney to the summit and we scrambled down south west and ran over the driveway bridge and down the road to the parking area.....FUN!!! On a warm dry day this would be a fun easy 5.9.....the crux had a nice (but somewhat loose) flake to undercling and turn the roof/bulge....can wait to climb it again.
By Anonymous Coward
May 31, 2003

I climbed this today, 5-31-03 with two others and all of us felt it was much easier than the 5.9- rating that is in the guide book. It was only slightly wet and the moves seemed to be no harder that 5.8 at the crux. I agree that a number 5 cam is something you would prefer at the crux. The entire route is protectible beyond this and there is no reason to run it out other than the fact that it is very easy. Great route though it was well under the rating we expected. Land owner was not around. Not sure if it was an issue or not, though there were no trespassing signs in his driveway.

Damp with some mossy spots.

  • ** three stars out of five

5.8 at the crux for most people although it may seem harder if you aren't comfortable with wide cracks.

Rappel slings and ring at the notch were in good condition with only a slight wear on the sling.
By George Bracksieck
Jun 29, 2012

On 6/21/73, I led John Van Keuren up this. I don't recall seeing a bolt on it, but it's been a long time....

EDIT: I'm confident that there was no bolt. I remember running it out in places. I had a rack of hexes and wedges.
By Edward Medina
From: Ridgway, CO
Jul 7, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Walk a #6 Camalot through the crux slot. Did not find rap rings in notch belay. Easy walkoff.
By Cary Gaynor
From: Longmont,CO
Aug 6, 2015

Great, fun corner. No harder than 5.8.
Please please do not park your car on the cliff side of the river. The Watchtower is in National Forest, but that bridge is private property. I do NOT want to lose access to this awesome rock!

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