Kor-Ingalls, 5.9+

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.65140°N / 109.3675°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.9+
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 4
Sign the Climber's Log


From the climbers campground:

Head towards Castleton hiking between the two hills on the east flank of the campground. From there, locate trail and start switchbacking your way up the gigantic talus cone towards the tower. The trail starts to deteriorate up high on the cone but is still faintly visible through the scree. The trail should put you on the ridge between the Rectory (tower just north of Castelton) and Castleton tower.

From there, scramble up and over a small boulder to gain the ledge that circles around Castleton. The ledge above the boulder should put you right under the North Face routes first pitch dihedral. Circle around clockwise (to the west) hiking under the North Chimney eventually gaining the dihedral that Kor-Ingalls climbs.

Route Description

This was the first route put up the tower September 14-15, 1961 by Layton Kor and Huntley Ingalls. It ascends the big west facing dihedral on the south side of the tower.

Pitch One: Climb a face 20 feet up to a 5.6 chimney. Pull out of chimney and continue to two bolt belay. There is an alternate, and better, belay about 15 feet higher that takes gear.

Pitch Two: Three ways to go (that I know of). This description is the left flared crack with a bolt. Continue up fist crack (5.8+) until you can gain an easy traverse right. Keep climbing near dihedral following up crack/face and easy chimney climbing. Two bolt belay.

Pitch Three: The crux pitch. Climb up offwidth in dihedral with a 5.9 exit move (protected by a 3/8" bolt that sticks out 3/4" from the wall) out of dihedral about 25 feet up. Pull a couple face moves and enter the 5.9 offwidth/squeeze chimney and continue to the top protected by 2 bolts up high on the pitch. The bottom bolt is good and well placed, but the top bolt ~8 feet higher is a little sketchy. It is possible(and probably easier) to face climb through the offwidth section above the last bolt. There is a small crack located in the back of the final squeeze chimney (accepts finger size cams blue and yellow metolius). Two bolt belay.

Pitch Four: The final pitch, and a big relief from offwidths and squeeze chimneys. Climb broken crack systems and flakes up right towards chimney of main tower and a little spire. On top of the ledge, head back up and left towards another set of bolted anchors at the top.

Descent: Rappell either Kor-Ingalls or the North Face. Kor-Ingalls generally is not recommended due to the fact that many climbers will probably be coming up behind you. The North Face is also a route, just not as popular, so use caution.

rpc has a good write-up in the Additions/Correction section.

Essential Gear

I think at least two 50 meter ropes is a MUST to get back down to the ground. A single 60 meter might get you down Kor-Ingalls but not the North face. A single 50 meter rope WILL NOT MAKE IT. Better to be safe than sorry.

As far as protection goes, bring about 1set of nuts and probably 11/2 sets of cams (double in finger sizes). Remember that tricams and hexes can substitute. Fortunately the cruxes are protected with bolts and you can get a couple smaller pieces deeper in the chimney, so no big gear is really required; however, it is nice to have a #3.5 and #4 camalot.

Miscellaneous Info

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

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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rpc - Dec 27, 2004 12:46 pm - Voted 10/10

Route Comment

colbyjw's route beta is accurate. Few more details based on our climb of this route two days ago:

Pitch 1: 5.6-5.7, 120 feet (NOT 80 feet as Supertopo would suggest!!). Start up steep but easy (~5.6) dihedral and reach a huge ledge about 40 feet above ground. Enter a squeeze chimney on left side of a huge boulder. Wiggle your way ~20-30 feet up this squeeze slot (easy but tight!). Above enter another (wider/easier) slot and work your way up to a bolted belay station atop another nice ledge.

Pitch 2: 5.8, 100 feet. I thought this was the hardest pitch of the route. While pitch 3 deserves a harder rating, I thought this pitch was much more sustained and draining than P3. From bolted anchor, move up and left over low 5th class terrain to reach the base of a crack system. There's a flaring crack heading straight up from here (two bolts visible), a wide fist crack just to the right and an overhanging crack in dihedral on the extreme right. Your crack is the wide fist crack in the middle - OW is more appropriate I think (I got some big monkey hands and it was too wide for my fists). Fight your way up this wide crack (harder than it looks from belay) - stemming, face climbing, liebacking, and occassionally offwidthing for about 60 feet. This is probably the hardest 5.8 I've ever faced. Belay on good ledge with bolts just above the crack. The crack eats up pro in the range of #3.5 - #4 Camalot and #5 Friend.

Pitch 3: 5.9, 100 feet. This is the crux of the route but there are enough good rest stances (IMHO) that it doesn't feel as bad as P2. There are three good-looking bolts on the pitch and they're all clustered in the LOWER 2/3rds of the pitch (this is where you need them most anyway). Move up the slick calcite covered OW and clip a bolt ~20 feet above belay. More face/OW climbing and two more bolts bring you to the base of what I thought was the crux of the pitch. Just above the 3rd and last bolt (which looked good but in fact wiggled in my fingers) move up ~15 feet via a slick OW crack. I liebacked this section due to my lack of OW climbing skills. Above, as the crack widens, you can actually "dive" into it and chimney your way up. Exit from chimney (it constricts near top) involves pulling out onto the face (good pro, small cams/nuts can be had inside the chimney). Belay bolts await you just above.

Pitch 4: 5.7, 80 feet. This is the most fun pitch of the route in my opinion. From belay bolts, move left and enter into an easy (~5.7) chimney. Note that there's a "direct" crack to the left of this chimney (rated 5.8 or 5.9 by different published sources) and a hard looking OW crack directly above belay bolts. Move ~20 feet up the easy chimney and walk right into a space between the main summit and a subsummit tower. Stem up this opening (wide but easy) until you can commit to a good crack on the main summit side. Some balancy traverses/mantles bring you to belay bolts 5 feet below the summit.

Descent: We climbed this route on Christmas Day '04 and did not encounter a single soul all day. As a result, we decided to rap the route. We used TWO 60 meter ropes. From bolts just below summit, rap straight down with two 60 meter ropes to top of P2 of route (this is a long one, ~160-180 feet). Do two more double rope raps down the route using P2 and P1 belay bolts for rap anchors (single 60 will NOT get you down from top of P1). If you have two 50's, just rap the route belay-station-to-belay-station.

Dow Williams

Dow Williams - Jun 5, 2008 9:06 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Route Comment

liebacked the top of 3? That was one smooth edge. My hat is off to you on that one Radek. I groveled and finally found an edge inside right, rightside in. Top of 3 was tough biz on lead I thought. Rock getting smooth, stuff missing, hangers (both now) a swinging. Cheers.


rpc - Jun 5, 2008 1:36 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Route Comment

"liebacked the top of 3?" having re-read my comment, I think it's below the very top - i.e. before it becomes a squeeze chimney thing. It's been a while though. Castleton, Ancient Art, Washer Woman - sounds like a full desert outing Dow. Good stuff!

Dow Williams

Dow Williams - Jun 5, 2008 1:54 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Route Comment

just trying to keep up with you mate....hey, finally thinking Bend, will email you

Viewing: 1-4 of 4



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