Nice Tower is an actual name given to a rock formation in The Ghosts
area of the The Alabama Hills
on the outskirts of Mount Whitney
in the Sierra Nevada Range
Being in close proximity of numerous unnamed and named rock towers such as Pillar of Thoth and The Leaning Tower of Pizza
, Nice Tower stands out as the most impressive of the group, hence the name. Unlike some of the formations in The Alabama Hills such as The Corridors, East End or The Candy Store
that you can belay from the bumper of your car, you need to put in a moderate effort into getting to the base of Nice Tower. The Approach requires crawling under, climbing over and jumping onto good size boulders.
The effort you put into getting to the base, however, is well-rewarded by getting to look at the tower close up and the way it pierces the sky. Nice Tower has a narrow profile, it's steep and well-featured. Typical of many north facing formations in the Alabama Hills, this Granite face has a redish tint and it's coarse. The sharp handholds may dig into your fingers, but they also dig into the rubber soles of your shoes. Being a narrow formation, Nice Tower offers only two bolted routes. These two routes share the same anchor and parallel each other for most of the way up the tower. The bolted line on the left is Full Moon, rated 10b. It climbs past a small roof to easier climbing and the anchor. The bolted line on the right is Friday The 13th, rated 5.9, and it climbs past a crux section low on the route to much easier climbing before joining Full Moon and the top anchor.
one 60 meter rope, 10 quick draws, slings
Rappel from the two-bolt anchor.
Routes of Nice Tower
|A||Full Moon, 10b, Bolts, anchor|
|B||Friday The 13th, 5.9, bolts, anchor|
From the town of Lone Pine, California, on Highway 395 take Whitney Portal Road
at the only traffic light in town. Drive 2.7 miles west on this road to intersect Movie Road
. Turn right onto the Movie Road. This road is paved for a short distance then it turns into a dirt road. The first dirt road to intersect the Movie Road heads for Shark's Fin
. Drive about a mile to where Movie Road makes a sweeping turn to the right. Just before reaching this turn you will see a dirt road intersecting from the left. Take this dirt road. Drive a short distance to another dirt road from the left. Go left on this one as well. If you end up by Tall Wall
, The Western Wall
and Nut Towers
you have not taken the correct left turn on your way to the Ghosts area. Looking from the Movie Road, the Ghosts area is to the left of the Tall Wall and Western Wall area. You need to back track and take the correct left turn. There is a large parking area here and it's almost surrounded by rack formations. Looking across the wash, Elephant Rock is obvious. Please use the trails marked by small stones and rocks to reach to formations. Drop down the marked path to the base of Elephant Rock and go left to reach Nice Tower. Crawl under, scramble up and over good size boulders to reach the base.