C-4 Approach

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.72500°N / 109.292°W
Additional Information Route Type: Approach with class 4 to 5.7 pitches
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 4 to 5.7
Sign the Climber's Log


The Onion Creek Road also branches east from Highway 128 just west of the Fisher Towers Road and beween mile markers 20 and 21. The Onion Creek Road is one of the most facinating drives in the world and can be rough in places. The road crosses he creek many times, but in good weather, most cars can be driven to the trailhead if you drive slow. Drive up Onion Creek through the narrow canyon section with many towers. Park at the first major canyon coming in from the north. The trailhead is not marked in any way, nor is there a real trail.

 C  Approach and Descent RoutesThese are the "C" ascent and descent approach routes to the Fisher Towers.

Route Description

On the map, this route "looks" like the easiest approach to the eastern and central towers. Maps can be deceiving, however, and this route is more difficult than the C-1 or C-2 approaches. There is one 5.7 slippery pitch, midway along the approach, but this usually has a fixed rope in place making rather easy. The headwall , especially the west side is probably the scariest ascent I've ever made, so be warned.

From the Onion Creek Trailhead, follow the canyon north for .75 miles to a junction. C-1 is to the left. Head right and continue following the canyon. After .6 miles, you will reach another junction. C-3 is to the left. C-4 is to the right. Head right and up the canyon, C-4. There is one slippery climb with the fixed rope (see above). If the fixed rope is missing the 5.7 climb can be hazardous because it is so slick. Check the integrity of the rope before using it. After the climb, you will after a short distance reach a fantastic area of many hoodoos and towers. This is one spectacular place and some of the smaller towers remained to be climbed. If your up to it, find one or two to climb. Notice the tower that looks like a Juniper trunk, for lack of a better name. Follow the main drainage all the way to the Fisher Towers Bench. The headwall is loose and hazardous. This can be a dangerous route, even though it is probably only 4th class. Don't make the mistake of climbing the western side of C-4 before the headwall. This is the scariest ascent I've ever made in my life! The route is 5.9 in places, or more, and choked with very loose conglomerate. Placing protection is impossible. We found ourselves on an un-protected (we couldn't even use the rope because the rock was so soft) 5.9 move with 800 feet (240 meters) of exposure. To fall on the route is certain death!! In other words, stay off!!

The C-4 approach can be used to reach the eastern group of towers (Hydra, Pillars of Hercules, Doric Column, Citadel, Mystery Towers, Doric Nightmare, and Atlas). Be aware that the Fisher Tower bench can be hard to follow west from the head of C-4 and to thehead of C-3. Using C-3 as a descent route is the quickest way back to Onion Creek.

Essential Gear

A 100 foot (30 meters) climbing rope, harness, and a full rack will be more than enough.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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