In Search Of Suds

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.39000°N / 109.8382°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: III 5.10+
Sign the Climber's Log


Follow approach directions on main page to reach the base of the west face of the tower. The route follows the dihedral on the far right side (that's south end of west face or end closest to Monster Tower) of the tower - NOT the more prominent dihedral or chimney system in the center of west face (that's the chossy West Face route and also your descent route).

Route Description

The route reaches the summit of this tower in 5+ enjoyable pitches on mostly sound sandstone. The "+" is meant to indicate a low 5-th class "approach" pitch at the base. The free crux of the route is on the last pitch - a 3-bolt ladder in a pretty blank face (10+ or A0).

Pitch 0: low 5th class, 160 feet. Start just left of the prominent dihedral that is followed on the upper pitches. Scramble up and right via chossy ledges aiming for the ridge top running between Washer Woman and Monster Tower. Mostly class 4 with some low 5th class moves and quite loose! Belay (gear) near a slot at the base of the prominent dihedral.

Pitch 1: 5.10-, 140 feet. Squeeze through a slot to reach the base of the dihedral. Begin up a hand crack in the dihedral and pass a bulge ~25 feet up (crux of pitch, 5.9+ or 5.10-). Continue up the dihedral which begins to look more like a high angle gully higher up. Pass several large chock stones (some are loose - be careful) and a wide (very short) crack section (5.9+ or so) and belay on a good ledge 5 feet below the "Eye Of The Needle" - a 20 foot tall window through the entire tower (note that this is NOT the opening formed by the primary arch) that is not visible from start of route. One new bolt and fixed slings.

Pitch 2: 5.9 - 5.9+, 140 feet. Move up into the "Eye" and chimney up until able to step left into an easy chimney (5.7). Continue up a low-angle hand crack. A flaring chimney section is encountered above followed by a short squeeze/OW crack (you can stem your way past these difficulties). Pitch ends with a burly mantle onto a perfect ledge. Belay from bolts.

Pitch 3: 5.10, 70 feet. The guidebooks give this section a 5.10+ rating but that's probably over-rating it. From the ledge move up and slightly right passing a bulge (crux). Look around - plenty of good pro. One steep face move and you're out of difficult terrain. Continue up to the crest of the ridge and belay on gear.

Pitch 4: 5.9, 150 feet. Hike the spectacular ridge in the direction of Woman's head. Going is 4th class except for a 12-15 foot 5.9 headwall near the end. Belay on a nice pedestal (gear) above this headwall and below the Woman's face. Note the rap anchor on the left (west) side few feet below the slab - this will be your second rappel.

Pitch 5: 5.10+ or 5.9 A0. Move up and slightly right. Make your way up to the base of the varnished face with 3 bolts in it. The going up to the face is no harder than 5.9 but you pass through some very chossy bands of rock. Clip the first piton and make your way up the blank face past 2 more fixed pieces. I thought this was very hard (but very well protected) and ended up yarding on the top bolt. Scramble easier terrain to the bolted anchor on the summit slab.

We used two 60 meter ropes on this climb. 50's might work but that's untested.

  • Do a single rope rap off the summit back down to where pitch 4 ended. Note the rap anchor on the vertical wall just below the ridge (west side; awkward to get to).

  • Do a double rope rap straight down the west side of the arch. This is a spectacular rappel! Your goal is a doubly bolted (new bolts + chains) rap anchor on the right wall at the top of the prominent gully forming the West Face route.

  • Do another double rope rap and choose the best looking rap anchor (there are plenty though most are pretty ancient looking) as the 2 60's will not get you to the ground. Lots of loose stuff here - be extra careful when pulling the ropes.

  • One more double rope rap gets you to the ground.

Essential Gear

Double ropes. Helmets (esp. for descent). Very light set of nuts. Double Aliens from green to red. Double Camalots from #0.75 to #3 (extra #2 and #3 highly recommended). Single #3.5, #4, and #5 Camalots (#5 is probably a luxury - would be safe to do the route w/o it but it provided some peace of mind on wide stuff). Some rap slings/rings might be useful.

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