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The Watchtower

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Hoppy's Favorite 
Moonage Daydream T 
Timex Route T 
Tokopah Falls 

The Watchtower Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 7,000'
Location: 36.60746, -118.69917 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 6,308
Administrators: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Sep 1, 2012
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Always check road conditions and peregrine closures MORE INFO >>>


The Watchtower is one of the larger and more easily approached objectives in the front country of Sequoia National Park’s west side. A mere 1.7 miles on the gentle Tokopah Valley Trail and a moderate slab/talus scramble will put you at the base of a wall that’s nearly 1,000 feet tall.

First climbed in 1970 by Galen Rowell, this formation didn’t see another ascent for 10 years. Even today, only 4 routes have been recorded. That being said, there have likely been a few others over the years. Or maybe not…...

The climbing here has an alpine feel and loose rock and vegetated pitches are not uncommon. Only one of the four known routes goes free, the others all receiving an A3 rating.

The free option is the Timex Route (5.9) which wanders around and finds some good bits of climbing mixed in with bushes and lichen.

Late summer is the best time to rock climb here. Be aware that you need to be able to cross the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River to access this formation. If the water is still raging, a different objective may be in order. On the other hand, if you want it badly enough you could bushwhack up the other side of the river for two miles to the base. Keep an eye out for bears in this area and don’t leave food in your vehicle.

Parking for all climbs in Tokopah Valley is in the large lot behind the Lodgepole Visitor Center and Market. From here, walk across the bridge at the east end of the parking lot and take an immediate right on the Tokopah Valley Trail. Follow the trail until you are within a couple hundred feet of the bottom of Tokopah Falls. Start looking for a place to cross the river.

The easiest descent is via the Pear Lake Trail which takes you to the Wolverton area and then on to Lodgepole in an easy three miles.

Getting There 

The Lodgepole parking area is located in Sequoia National park just north of Giant Forest.

From the south (Visalia) follow HW 198 into the park. Form the north (Fresno) follow HW 180 into the park.

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.9 miles from here

4 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Watchtower

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Watchtower:
Moonage Daydream   WI4 M4-5     Trad, Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 5 pitches, 800'   
Timex Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 900'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Watchtower

Featured Route For The Watchtower
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo of the route in mixed conditions

Moonage Daydream WI4 M4-5  California : Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP : The Watchtower
Moonage Daydream is an ice route that forms in a gully on the North side of the Watchtower. It is the longest route in CA that forms almost every year (there are longer routes, but they usually do not form, or form for very short weather windows). Original rating is 6-7 pitches, 1000ft, WI4. After climbing it, I believe the length of the route is about 700-800 ft. We did the climb in 5 pitches. The slopes above the climb are prone to avalanches, so checking the avy conditions before doing this r...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of The Watchtower Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of Dan D. By Daniel J. :)
Photo of Dan D. By Daniel J. :)
Rock Climbing Photo: Keep an eye out for valley locals on the approach.
Keep an eye out for valley locals on the approach.
Rock Climbing Photo: Morning light on the Watchtower.
Morning light on the Watchtower.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Watchtower
The Watchtower
Rock Climbing Photo: The impressive shadow of the Watchtower, as seen f...
The impressive shadow of the Watchtower, as seen f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the top of the Timex Route.
Near the top of the Timex Route.

Comments on The Watchtower Add Comment
Show which comments
By limpingcrab
From: Visalia, CA
Aug 14, 2015
Additional topos and stuff here
By Guy Keesee
From: Moorpark, CA
Feb 3, 2016
The Climb "All Along The Watchtower" was climbed in 1976 by John Long and crew.

It follows the prominent Right Hand Book to almost the end of the book before traversing off to the right via rivet and bad bolt ladder, a pendulum gets you to the prominent crack and that crack gets you above the big roof system. John and crew escaped to the left at this point and joined Galen's route .... to the summit.

In 1975 I made three attempts to climb this with good experienced wall climbers.

Do not try and climb from the bottom of the book... look around, one can 3rd class to a good ledge just left of the book and haul from here.

The book is solid A4.

IMHO the real climb has not been completed. A crack system descends from the summit to a point about 80 feet from the point where Largo and team went LEFT.

This was my hi point, I didn't want to drill a bolt ladder up to the crack. I showed John some photos and he was up there in a New York Minute.

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