Poultry Pillar, 5.8-5.10a

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 42.12572°N / 113.67159°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


Oputina, 5.10a
Dow leading Opuntia, 5.10b***

Poultry Pillar, Wedding Wall and O-Town Tower are three rather nondescript features sharing the same ridge located due north from the Castle Rock massive itself.  It takes just minutes to reach these objectives from the trail head. Most of the FA’s were put in during Brad Shilling’s (long time local climbing ranger) wedding and thus the origin of several of the names.  Poultry Pillar offers the majority of the climbs of these three features. It’s bolted southeast arête, Opuntia, 5.10a, if perhaps the best climb and reaches 100’, To Have and To Hold, 5.9, on the same side as Opuntia, is worthy. Its west side also has a few starred moderates.

From the main Castle Rocks trail head, follow the marked trails north and turn west as you would head for Crack House and/or Hostess Gully on the north side of Castle. As you head up a switch back trail between Castle and Poultry Pillar, the colorful southeast face of Poultry is on your right. To Have and To Hold is on the left and the arête on the right is Opuntia (photo).

Route Description(s)

Southeast Face
Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
  • A Groom with a View- 5.10a**/

  • To Honor and Obey- 5.9*/

  • To Have and To Hold-5.9***/Has a fun steep start (layback on a flake), but top half becomes low angled. Six bolts to chains. The FA’ers should have run it through the roof above at the same grade (which is a bit soft). As it stands, it stops below the roof. Bolted and Single Rope Rap. Same as below with the stars, was two stars in the previous edition but it is the guide book authors own route.  How it claims three star status now is beyond me.  Dow
  • Opuntia- 5.10b***/This is a better route than To Have and To Hold. Start beneath the bolted arête and enjoy a mostly cruiser pitch. As it steepens, there is a bit of route finding, most, if not all, the moves were 5.9 or less. There is one bolt near the top that trends right, but you move back left to finish on better ground. Plenty of side pulls. Bolted and Single Rope Rap. Update:  Umpteenth time I have caught Dave (guide book author) inflating the grade and stars of his own route from his previous edition.  I have no idea why on this one.  Not a three star route in my opinion nor a 5.10b.  Dow
West Face
Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall

  • Chicken Slinger- 100’-5.9*/ Chicken Slinger is not 110’ as the guide book suggests, you can definitely rap any of these routes with a single 60m rope. You can start all three of these routes (Drumstick and Chicken Pie) from the same landing sport, left or right of a tree. Chicken Slinger is by far the more interesting and cleanest of the three (less moss and lichen). Find the clean runnel and follow it up aiming for the patina jugs on the left side of the summit block. Vertical and horizontal protection make for a mellow trad lead. The climbing is soft for the grade but fun and worth the effort. Two chain raps on the summit. Can top rope the route. Pure west facing. Ticks in the area. Dow

  • Drumstick Direct- 100’-5.8**/ Drumstick follows a mossier and dirtier runnel to the right of Chicken Slinger. At the top, you stand on a large chicken head or two jugging steep ground to the chains. Two chain raps on the summit. Can top rope the route. Pure west facing. Ticks in the area. Dow

  • Chicken Pie- 100’-5.7**/ More of the same as the previous two, not much different. Why Dave is giving two stars to these two on the right of Chicken Slinger, I have no idea. Chicken Slinger is by far the best lead and rock of the three. Dow

  • Historic Route- 100’-5.5***/Not sure what makes a three star 5.5 route. You can solo it from where these other routes are or move out right to the arete. The final few meters would have to be the 5.5 I guess. There was a dropped half eaten snake (by a bird of prey) on the route when we ran up it which added some flavor. Dow

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