Smile Tower

Page Type
Route Type:
Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Time Required:
Half a day
Rock Difficulty:
5.5 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

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Smile Tower
Created On: Feb 20, 2011
Last Edited On: Feb 20, 2011


Nikita RockNikita Rock

It’s a mountaineering route – the stations on the route are bolted after each 40-45 meters.
The team gear: two 50 meters rope (for rappel), a set of stoppers or friends, two big slings and quickdraws.

The route, like all mountaineering routes of III-IV difficulty grade comes through a number of alternating walls and ledges. It’s a really varied terrain with a dihedrals, split-offs, slabs and other elements. There is a wide scope of climbing variants which makes this route so interesting and useful for the training of “freshers”. It’s really convenient for the instructor who can quickly move from team to team. The route is so much applicable for experienced teams which are set to climb long routes of III-IV difficulty grade.

For better orientation on the route one should climb straight upwards in the direction of sharp lowering in the ridge visible clearly opposite the sky beyond.

The route begins from easily recognizable rocks looking like a smiling snout which can be seen from the bivy.

Route Description

Smile Tower, 250 м, 3-4 (max 6a)
Topo of the route Smile TowerTopo of the route Smile Tower

Smile TowerSmile Tower

R0-R1 The route starts on the snout’s “cheek” and then moves up the right “ear” – through a number of big breakaway rocks (forming “cheek” and “ear”) towards the first terrace of ledges. Then climb a group of walls and ledges in the direction of the dihedral with a smooth walls covered by black incrustations. The first station is arranged near the exit from the dihedral with a black incrustation.
Another feasible variant to start the route – to move a little bit farther on the right where a smiley is embossed by the punch-drilling machine and divert this part of route by the ledges. One has to keep in mind the length of the rope – diversion route is pretty longer ~ 50 meters till the first station.
45 m, III degree of difficulty., 2 intermediate bolts. Station – eyelid + bolt

R1-R2 The second pitch: again the combination of walls and ledges without any distinctive landmarks. One has to move towards a ginger wall which resembles a big feathers. The orientation - towards the deep lowering in the ridge. The second station is installed at a flat boulder laying on the ledge below.
45 m, III degree of difficulty., 1 intermediate bolt. Station – eyelid + bolt

R2-R3 Further on one can climb in a few ways –
- from the station to the left towards a dihedral
- from the station directly up the wall
- from the station to the right through the vertical “feathers”.
Under a ginger wall there is a breakaway rock – very good spot for the station. The “feathers” aren’t bolted because over here there are so many variants to arrange own intermediate points of belay. Further one has to keep more on the left towards square ginger wall with the cracks resembling swastika in shape.
40 m, III degree of difficulty., 1 intermediate bolt. Station – eyelid + bolt

R3-R4 From the ledge with the station climb 15 meters of III degree rocks towards steep breakaway dihedral. The crux is 7 meters long (VI+). The crux is equipped by 3 belay bolts. Also it’s possible to arrange own belay points – a big friends or camelots will do perfectly. Then 15 meters of IV degree rocks to the left in the direction of a big ledge just above swastika. If climbing skill isn’t sufficient and one can’t climb the crux there is a “lady diversion” from the left side. Walk along the ledge 20 meters by foot to the left and upwards. Then move to the right and upwards along an inclined slab. Next climb a vertical dihedral to the right and you will get to the same big ledge. On the right hand side of the dihedral a bolt is fixed.
«Station» (chain + eyelid) is set on the wall above the ledge with swastika.
37 m, III-IV degree of difficulty (crux VI+), 3 intermediate bolts on the crux + 1 bolt at “ lady diversion” route. Station – eyelid + bolt

R4-R5 From a big ledge traverse to the right – upwards along an inclined slab under a little cornice on the left. «Station» (chain + eyelid) is set under a black chimney.
20 m, III degree of difficulty , 1 intermediate bolt. Station – eyelid + bolt

R5-R6 Further on one can climb straight up from the station itself up a black chimney (5 m, IV). The chimney isn’t bolted, one has to furnish own belay points. Also it’s possible to by-pass the chimney from the right along the ledge and further on by an inclined crack ( there is a bolt here). After that one climb to the right- upwards towards the rightmost lowering in the ridge. There is a station at the top (chain + eyelid).
40 m, III degree of difficulty , 2 intermediate bolts. Station – eyelid + bolt.

Variants of descent

1. From the ridge down a scree slope towards a grassy meadow near a stone with a memory plaque devoted to Nikita Bashmakov located between Rayskie (Paradise) campsite and the bivy in the mould.

2. From the ridge down a scree slope and then through a sharp lowering in the ridge keeping to the right hand side from Classic Rock route.

3. Rappel from the top or from any station – all of them are equipped by rappel eyelids and chains.

4. It’s possible to get off the route after the station # 3 – by foot down a ledge towards a big couloir between Nikita Heart Tower and Nikita Big Tower.