The Owl is a rather obscure, but inviting, tower that rests high up on the ridge to the west of the loop road before you reach the popular Willow Springs parking area. Although it does not resemble an owl as much as the tower of the same name in Arches National Park, it does have a certain squatty owl like appearance. The single climb on the tower is an obvious crack system (southeast face) through a roof and then up a wide crack/chimney to the summit which can be scrambled down a 4th-5th class chimney on the backside. MP.Com has this route as 2 pitches, but it does well as a singe 115’ pitch to the summit. MP’s only logged climb as of 2018 stated: “this OW is a real test piece and after finishing it, I definitely felt a changed climber”. Herbst established this climb in the ‘70’s.
Park at the first parking area in Willow Springs off the loop road. There is a marked trail directly across from the parking area. Hike on this trail and make a right hand turn at a fork heading for the ridge that ties into the plateau that the Owl is located on. Fairly immediate, leave the trail and head left up the southern slope to the ridge. Then turn left on the broad ridge and back right when you are even with the base of the Owl. Traverse blocks and vegetated ledges (north) over to the base of the Owl.
It starts out fingers and a tips layback flake below the grade up to the wide corner on the left. Helmets can get in the way through this section. Then make several off width moves up several meters to where you must lead out (bold) the exposed rightward face with nil feet and loose fist jams. Overhanging and physical moves whislt placing #3’s or #4’s and a #6 (“occasional toe hook”-MP.com). Save the #5 for the physical and awkward transition pulling out of the right end of the roof and into the true off width above via a knee jam. Be sure to extend that #5 cam before continuing so you pull the rope out of the crack from above. From there, off width climb below the grade up to a stem across right on face and then up a short hand crack. I only placed one wire through the 2nd half of this route, 5.9 at most.
Stem down a chimney on the northwest face. A fifth class secure solo for the competent party. I did remove a slung anchor, so some who climb this route are not obviously comfortable with the descent.
The gear call as of 2018 on MP.com of a single rack to 3” or 4” is misleading. Take a single from C4 #3 to #6 with double #3’s and #4’s. A micro cam and/or wire protects the very start added with a C4#.5 thrown in should be all a competent 5.10/11 trad leader needs until you hit the wide. The upper half was run out except for a wire or two but offered secure off width climbing for the competent leader. The route receives all day sun most all year.