Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter in the Desert

Early January this years was super warm in Durango area.  Most of the snow that we did get in December either melted or became less fun to ski as the weeks went on.  So last weekend I went out to the Moab area and climbed some towers.  I climbed by myself on Saturday and then Jeff Widen joined me on Sunday.  
Saturday started with Sunset Tower which is North of Moab.  Straight forward aiding for two pitches got me to the top, and I was back at the car by noon, wondering what was next.
Last spring Bill, Matt, Sam, and I climbed a tower East of 'Sunset Tower' that we ended up calling, 'Red Rocket Tower'.  I had scoped out a thin fin between the two towers and had been wanting to climb it.  The start of the route I had scoped was between the rim wall and the tower, and required a little scrambling to chimney up the rubble to the start of the route.  Besides a little cleaning of rock at the beginning and a bolt near the end pitch the tower went smoothly.  I called Amanda to let her know I was 'ok' while drilling a rap anchor.  Then hurried down to beat the darkness.  The fin is now called 'Finish Line Tower' and the route is called 'You're Either First Or Your Last.'
Jeff met me Sunday morning and I piled into his truck for the four wheeled approach into Joe Wilson Canyon.  'Tranquility Tower' was first which needed an anchor bolt on the summit to back up a bush people had been rappelling off of.  Then 'Queen's View Tower', and 'King Arthur's Seat'  to round off the day and the weekend.  All in all a great weekend, climbing towers in the desert!
On top of 'Sunset Tower'
The start of the route, on Finish Line Tower

Before the cleaning. 
After the cleaning.

Looking back down at the start of the route.(hiked up from the left)

Looking through the tower.
Standing on top.
On top of Finish Line Tower.
'Tranquility Tower'
Jeff on pitch one of 'Feeding the Rat' on 'Tranquility Tower.'
Jeff at the pitch one belay. 
Jeff following pitch two.
Jeff leading pitch three. 
Jeff on pitch two of 'Queen's View Tower.'

Jeff's hand placed sawed off pin on 'Queen's View Tower'
Jeff standing at the rappel on 'King Arthur's Seat'

Jeff and I on top of 'King Arthur's Seat'.
Jeff rappeling of 'King Arthur's Seat'. 

'King Arthur's Seat'

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cogswell Tower

Jeff and I went to the desert yesterday for a little tower climbing.  After a lot of driving around we found and climbed Cogswell Tower via a route named Raven.  Back at the car by 2pm we decided to look around for a tower called the Anvil.  After searching for an hour or more we decided it was on the other rim of the canyon and settled for a very cool looking feature called Enchanted Mesa.  With one real pitch of climbing we were back at the car before dark.  On the drive out we noticed a dome right next to the road with Moki Steps carved in and ran up and down for a quick ascent.  To top off a great day, we picked up Amanda at home on our way back into Durango and had some wings at Cuckoo's.

Cogswell Tower

Jeff at the base.

Jeff following pitch 2.

Jeff on pitch 3.

Jeff on the summit.

Cool looking splitter near Cogswell.

Jeff hiking up to the rim after Enchanted Mesa.

Little Dome with Moki steps.

On top looking back at Babe the big blue truck.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I've climbed Engineer Mountain which is North of Durango twice in the last week.  The first time it was a little windy down low.  The second time we started early watched the sun rise and and summited by 8am.
Engineer Mountain

Sunrise over the Weminuche Wilderness.


Phil's World!

Amanda, Barb and I went mountain biking at Phil's World by Cortez on Monday.  The weather was great as were the trails.  Little patches of snow here and there but 99% dry.
Amanda, Barb and I.

A great day at Phil's World!