The Titan, Echo Tower, and Cottontail Tower
Cottontail Tower is the monolith that lies in the heart of the Fisher Towers of eastern Utah. Centrally located amongst the group of other similarly impressive towers, Cottontail has rich climbing history. It was first climbed way back in 1969 by a party of six: Harvey T. Carter, Art Howells, Don Doucette, Mike Dudely, Morgan Gadd, and Herbie Hendricks. The group produced the route West Side Story, which to this day remains the most "moderate" route to the summit. Another decade would pass before the tower saw a second ascent, the impressive FA of Brer Rabbit on the west ridge of the formation, made by Ed Webster, solo. In the late 1980s, Jim Beyer put up the extreme aid line Intifada, which was originally rated A6. As if these feats weren't impressive enough, Cottontail Tower was free climbed for the first time in 2009 by Rob Pizem and Jason Haas, via West Side Story at 5.12+.
Cottontail, seen from the top of pitch 7 on the route Fantasia, on The Oracle. Photo by Brian C.
Cottontail Tower rises about 850 feet above the trail that snakes its way through the Fishers. A unique summit rockcap, remniscient of a rabbit's tail, sits as the highest point atop the massive fin that makes up the tower. Given its proximity to the trail, the routes on Cottontail Tower all share the easiest approaches in the Fishers. But that is about where the "easy" ends. All routes to the summit of Cottontail Tower require difficult aid and free climbing. Most routes are concentrated on the tower's west face, whereas the blank east face is only home to one route, Intifada. Out of the 6 or so routes on Cottontail Tower, the only ones that "regularly" get done are West Side Story and Brer Rabbit.
The Routes. Keep in mind these are Fisher ratings...all change frequently and are up to personal interpretation. What the hell is A4 in mud anyway?
Road Kill - 5.9 A4 West Face
Not So Soft - VI 5.8 A3+ West Face
Trick of the Tail - IV 5.10+ A3+ West Face
Brer Rabbit - 5.10+ A2+ West Ridge
Intifada - A4+? East Face
Free Gaza - A4? East Face
Where in the World is this Place?
Refer to the excellent directions to the Fisher Towers on the area page's Getting There
section. From the parking lot, follow the winding trail for about 1 to 1.5 miles. You'll see it.
Red TapeThe Fisher Towers are located on BLM land and do not require any permits for climbing.
When to Climb
You can climb Cottontail Tower any time of year, depending on your ability to withstand extreme heat and/or extreme cold.
There is a campground at the trailhead, with a fee of somewhere around $16. There are fire rings, tables, and a vault toilet, but no water. Be sure you are fully stocked with water, as the nearest treated water is in Moab.
- MountainProject.com entry for Cottontail Tower.
- Also check out Desert Rock III: Moab to Colorado National Monument, written by Eric Bjornstad.