Dow Williams on FFA
Folks have often asked me why I don’t climb over in Kayenta more (I live just to the east). Once you gain a lot of experience on desert sandstone, you know where the good stuff is (varnish) and the bad stuff resides. Kind of like climbing the towers of Castle Valley
(near Moab) vs the Fisher Towers just to the east of them. There can be a huge contrast in rock quality from one cliff to the next. Kayenta is the lowly step child to Padre Canyon
and Snow Canyon
in terms of rock quality. Every time you think you spot a varnished corner and/or splitter, upon closer inspection more times than not, it is full of choss. Power Sauce Pinnacle
is no exception to that rule, albeit is a true tower where there are few to be found.
, who did the FA approximately ten years ago, named this tower after a Simpsons episode where Homer supposedly climbs a mountain after eating "Power Sauce" bars. Power Sauce is a short two pitch tower that leans away from one of the massive walls overlooking Kayenta near Ivins, UT.
It is hard to spot in the foreground of the tall cliff short of doing some intimate exploring as Joe obviously did. Approximately ten years after he established the route, he and I returned for the FFA. The first pitch starts out with a stellar, slightly overhanging splitter hand crack. The crack was full of sand but the jams were secure. Shortly you end up in the right corner formed by the tower and the main wall, employing a variety of off-width technique.
There are few face features to trust and/or be had. The pro is decent in that medium gear protects the pitch deep in which is the best kind of pro when leading an off-width versus dealing with large pro to the outside. The crux for me on lead was near the top when the off-width pinches down and you need to come out and make a mantle move on precarious rock, no jams to be had,
right below a fixed rap station. The second pitch continues up between the void created by the tower leaning away from the main wall. Fun and exposed stemming, protected by bolts, leads to the summit where you can rap the route with a 70m rope to the ground.
Park along the far northwestern reaches of the Kayenta subdivision. Hike due north into the main canyon looking for the pillar on the left (east facing) wall. Avoid the up and down terrain as much as possible by staying a due north course until you are directly in line with the tower, then ascend a loose and sandy hill to a lower cliff band. Climb through (5th class) this cliff band and continue up to the right side of the pillar. An alternative that avoids the lower cliff band is to ascend north out of the wash (instead of west) and circumvent southwest up the slopes directly below the east facing wall. Check out the coordinates I provided.
Route DescriptionPower Sauce Pinnacle, 100’+/-, 5.11
1st Pitch- 80’- 5.11/
If not for the horrid soft sandstone, this might be graded more 5.10, who knows. Hard to rate a pitch where every other feature sloughs off. This first pitch starts out stellar with a slightly overhanging hand crack. Then it goes fairly immediate to off-width and stays flaring off-width except for the final few meters. However, you do not need large gear, you can always get small to medium gear deep in the crack, just make sure to extend all your pieces. Trust in your pro is at a minimum due to the softness of the rock even in the crack. Park of the crux is figuring out when to face left or right. I switched on several occasions to make it work. It gets real physical about 3/4'ers of the way up, arm bars, chicken wings, heel toe, some hard work. Towards the end you need to mantle up on sloping ground with insecure hands trusting a questionable foot feature up at your waist. There is a three bolt fixed belay up and left.
2nd Pitch- 30’- 5.7/
This last pitch is actually pretty cool. Just stem between the tower and wall and clip three bolts to the summit. On lead I jumped a little at the end, but my 2nd stemmed the whole way I think. Two bolt anchor on top, we replaced the webbing in 2015.
makes the rap from the top, now worries.
Standard double rack to C4#2, single #3. A few off-set cams or nuts are helpful as the crux is protected via a finger crack in back of the flaring off-width. Helmet for sure, chossy southern Utah adventure. Route shades itself well during February afternoons.
Take a long sleeve for the flaring off-width and a pole to hike up the loose sandy slopes on approach.