The Fisher Towers invoke many emotions in those who wander there. Their oddly carved walls rear up in an impressive display of rock and mud. The towers loom over the desert floor and a casual observer would not thinking reaching the lofty summits even possible. The ruler of this twisted domain is the mighty Titan. It is the tallest tower in the Fishers and looms close to a thousand feet above the desert floor. The walls are sheer on all sides and the summit caprock overhangs in a last defense against prospective climbers. The Titan has been said to be the largest free-standing sandstone pinnacle in North America and possibly in the world. As if the tower's sheer walls were not defense enough, the rock is soft and is frosted with a layer a mud from top to bottom. Often climbers accustomed to granite will turn around after a single pitch of this and return wide-eyed in defeat.
The Titan was first climbed by Layton Kor, Huntley Ingalls and George Hurley in 1962. Ingalls noticed the tower on his survey expeditions and proposed a climb to the National Geographic Society. They were sponsored and Ingalls recruited the unstoppable Kor to take on the project. After many days of climbing over two consecutive weekends (and an uncomfortable bivy high on the route#, the three climbers emerged triumphant onto the other-worldy summit with Kor having led every pitch. A pilot hired by National Geo photographed the ascent and Ingalls wrote an article that was featured in the November 1962 magazine #Vol. 122, No. 5) titled "We Climbed Utah's Skyscraper Rock". This was the first major tower to be climbed in the Fishers and was a visionary ascent for the time. Kor named the route the Finger of Fate after the large pinnacle that is passed on the route and the climb was included in the infamous "50 Classic Climbs in North America" by Steck and Roper in 1979. While neither Kor or Ingalls returned for anything major in the Fishers, Hurley came back for the tower's second ascent. The Finger of Fate is a popular goal for many climbers. The inclusion to the 50 Classics has the Finger of Fate see many attempts but only a small portion of those reach the small summit.
The Fisher Towers lie about 20 miles east of Moab on Hwy 128 and good directions can be found on the area's main page. Getting to the base of the Titan is pretty straight forward and an easy-to-follow trail meanders from the parking lot to the tower. Getting to a specific route can be another matter and can involve hard to follow climber's trails to various places on the tower. I will leave the particular path up to you depending on what brings you to the Titan.
There is currently no red tape to negotiate in the Fishers as it is BLM land. Still, there are a few things to be mindful of. Avoid trampling on the cryptobiotic soil as it is a very delicate organism and is easly destroyed by a careless footstep. Also, several of the routes on Echo involve nailing but the "standard" route, Phantom Sprint, is considered a clean route (it has gone free!). I do not want to open the debate of whether or not to nail on certain routes as the conditions can change all the time, so please just be very thoughtful of whether the hammer is really needed or not to be safe, or if you're just in over your head on a particular route. Creative clean placements (tricams, hand-stacked pins, hooks, etc.) combined with a bit of bravery can go a long way in making an ascent clean versus pulling out the hammer. We didn't even take a hammer and made it work on the Finger of Fate.
There is a small camping lot with assigned sites at the parking lot. It is on a first come first serve basis and is often full. More info can be found on the BLM site.
Guides and Other Info
There are plenty of good resources on the Titan and the Fishers in general. Here are a few...
1) Desert Rock III: Moab To Colorado National Monument by Eric Bjornstad
2) Excellent info can be found on mountainproject.com.
3) Good trip reports on the Finger of Fate from Brian in the Wild, Smiley Project, Piqua Climber, Bigwall.com and George Bell/Bill Wright.
Here are some of the notable routes:
Finger of Fate - 5.9 A2+ or 5.10 C3
Sundevil Chimney - 5.9 A3
Gimp Warfare - 5.8 A3
World's End - 5.9 A4+X
Have Fun Out There!