Boars Tusk is an ancient volcanic plug that juts nearly 400 feet above the flat plains of Wyoming roughly 30 miles north of Rock Springs. The rock is a broken and fractured Lamproite breccia volcanic neck which is a relatively uncommon type of rock very rich in magnesium and incompatible/unstable elements and minerals at the surface. It's similar to a Kimberlite which is the primary source for diamonds mined at or near the Earth's surface. Needless to say this is a rare feature in the US and stands proud above the sedimentary plains surrounding it because the rock is harder and more resistant to erosion.
Oddly enough however, this tower receives very little attention likely because no one knows about it. I didn't know it existed until I read a Grand Teton trip report which mentioned stopping by a feature called Boars Tusk for a few hours to break up the long drive from Denver for that party. As one drives up to the feature, you will see it from many miles away however you cannot see it from Highway 191 because White Mountain to the east of the highway blocks the view of Boars Tusk from the paved road. A long drive on good gravel roads is required to get near it and a rough double-track sandy road brings you right to the base of the tower. The tower makes for a fun and exciting rock climb even if it's only a single pitch. It may be the only thing within an hour drive of Rock Springs offering decent rock climbing.
From the South - Rock Springs is the closest town to the tower. From the Highway 191/Elk Street exit off I-80 in Rock Springs, drive north on Highway 191 for 9 miles and turn right (east) onto CO road 17/Chilton Road. Follow this great gravel road along the east side of White Mountain for 15 miles to a junction with the Old Highway 191 road heading back to the west. A couple large signs are found here giving various mileages and you must continue to the east here for an additional mile to stay on CO road 17 and turn left at an unmarked road that first appears to barely exist but once you drop off the nice graded road you will see there is indeed a rarely used double track heading straight for Boars Tusk. Continue on a slow 3.5 miles towards the base of the tower. A carefully driven passenger car can make it only when it's dry though. Once at the base, the road circles around the tower. All other roads you may find on a map essentially no longer exist so veering off onto the wrong road isn't an issue. Simply stay on the most used track and you will end up right at the base of the tower at 6,700 feet. Most people climb the tower from the south and park just east of the start of the loop.
From the North - If you are coming from the north on Highway 191, you simply drive 3.5 miles south of the small town of Eden, Wyoming along Highway 191 and turn left (east) onto Old Highway 191. Continue due east onto the Chilton Road loop which is a good gravel road and head over the north end of White Mountain where a great view down into the Red Desert (and the Boars Tusk) can be seen. The road descends and meets at the same signed junction described above.
Route Description - Class 5.4
There is really only one route up the tower and begins a few feet below the notch between the two peaks on the south side. There are distinct east and west towers with the east tower being the higher of the two. The notch between the two can be reached from either the north or south via class 2 loose talus hiking. It appears most parties approach from the south utilizing an old ATV track for the first 100 feet of the hike. At 6,800 feet this track ends and you much continue up very loose talus another 200 feet towards the notch. Look for a large gully dissecting the east tower directly above the notch. This is the route.
Rope up here and begin climbing this easy gully (mainly 4th class) and continue up what you believe the easiest path is to the summit. We passed directly by an eagles nest making our hands smell horrible on the summit but we probably went too far to the right. Use extreme care when climbing as the rock is fairly loose and large blocks are waiting to fall. The difficulty should not exceed Class 5.4 but due to the nature of the rock, it is advised to bring two 60 meter ropes as the pitch from the notch to the summit is about 45 meters long. There are 3 large bolts making an excellent rappel anchor at the summit. Using two ropes you can rappel in one go. A few BD cams from 0.3" - 2" and a handful of single length slings protects the route more than enough.
On the summit you command excellent views of some sand dunes and the southern Wind River Range to the north, White Mountain to the west and an endless expanse of Wyoming wasteland to the south! The entire loop road around the base of the tower is obvious as well as very old roads that are no longer used.
When to Climb
This tower can really be climbed at any time of year but the roads must be dry to get to it. In winter, snow drifts covers the road and it would be brutally cold to climb but in summer, afternoon storms make the roads very wet with heavy rainfall. It's best to climb in the morning in spring, summer or fall to avoid the heat of the sun and give you the best chance to finish before afternoon storms. Since the climb only takes a few hours an early start isn't necessary.