OverviewLocated just twenty miles outside of Moab, Utah, Castleton tower is an imposing tower to say the least. One route on it, the Kor-Ingals route, is listed in Roper and Steck's "50 classic climbs of North America". It is surely a common entry appearing on many people's "to-do" or "tick" lists.
Because of its "classic" status, Kor-Ingals receives the most traffic. It is important to note its historical significance. When it was first ascended in 1962 by geologist Huntley Ingals and climber Layton Kor, it, it revised the pervasive paradigm of what was possible to climb in the desert. Thus, it was a catalyst for things to come. Although it marked the first ascent of the tower, it is not the easiest route to the top. Standing just around the corner lies the North Chimney - weighing in at 5.9- and characterized by short cruxes.
Though each face of Castleton is only about 40 feet wide, there are numerous high quality routes ranging from 5.10 to 5.12. The North Face (5.11a) is one such route which features good long cracks and commanding postition.
The rock of Castleton - and this can probably be said for the local area - is SOLID and rivals the quality of the Wingate at Indian Creek. Part of this is due to a thin layer of calcite which covers sections of the tower. Climbers will find that it is reliable, but slick (especially on well traveled sections). It does, however, produce some unique features for holds.
Descents: Descend from all climbs via the North Face Rappel or Kor-Ingals. There should be only two sets of obvious (and bomber) rappel anchors.
"Rockclimbing Utah" by Stuart Green
"Desert Rock 3: Moab to the Colorado Nat. Monument" by Eric Bjornstad
"50 classic climbs of North America" by Steve Roper and Allen Steck
Getting ThereCastleton tower, in Castle Valley, sits just east of the city of Moab in the southeastern part of Utah.
From nearly everywhere:
Exit on to Highway 191 from I-70 (~28 miles from HWY 6 and over 60 miles from the Utah/Colorado border. This exit is well marked with signs directing drivers to Arches and Canyonlands. Drive 30 miles south. Just after driving past Arches, turn left(east) just after the bridge on SR 128. This road runs alongside the Colorado River. Follow SR 128 for 15.2 miles. From there, turn right(south) down the LaSal loop. It should be identified with a sign saying "Castley Valley" or "Castleton" From there continue driving south until Castleton tower comes into view. Carefully watch for big pullout (campground) on the left (east) side. This is the climbers campground and trailhead. Follow the trail through a wash, over a small hill, then up a myriad of switchbacks.
Red TapeThere are no permits required to climb Castleton.
People need to be extremely carefull because the area surrounding Castleton tower is in danger of being developed. Climbers have to TREAD LIGHTLY. Don't give anyone a reason to shut down access. Don't litter and respect the trails and wildlife. That should go without saying.
Make sure you use the wag bags and DONATE SOME MONEY. I think just a buck per bag. We have to pay for them. The attitude that "someone else will do it" isn't beneficial to the community.
When To ClimbThere really is no specific season to climb Castleton. Summers can be very hot due to the fact that it is in the desert of southern Utah. Climbing can still be done in the shade. I climbed the North Face in June.
Remember that after sandstone gets wet it loses much of it's strength so it's a smart idea to stay off of it for about 24 hours after it rains.
Use good judgement and check the forecast for that area.
Check the Weather
CampingMost climbers simply camp in the climbers campground sitting just off the road. Locate a rather large pulloff just west of Castleton tower. This campground is quite big so there shouldn't be any problems.
Update: Since this page was originally posted, the campsite has been drastically reduced in size - most likely for preservation. It is still accommodating.
See the Red Tape Section regarding Wag Bags!
As of October 1, 2010, camping at the Castleton Tower Campground will
require registration. The campground area is becoming severely impacted,
and Utah Open Lands (the organization that owns the land) is taking steps
to keep this place available for recreational use for future climbers,
hikers, and desert enthusiasts-- while still keeping it a fee free
campground to be used and enjoyed by many. Please find the registration
information and suggested use guidelines at the website
This is a good page with about castleton wich has some climbers accounts of the route.
- Castleton - Brief Report
This is a nice page for a few Utah climbs including Kor-Ingalls. Has a few photos of the route.
- Kor-Ingals Climb Report
Short with nice photos.
- Team Arp Climbs Castleton Tower April 2004
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