Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Robitussin Tower

It had been 6 months since I'd been to the desert.  Starting a new job, Amanda starting school in Phoenix and working a local sport project took my attention away from desert time.  And to be honest I need a break to recharge the desert stoke occasionally.  Bill, Matt and I have been eyeing Sam's route 'Ivory Tower' since he was putting it up a few years ago.  Unfortunately we were never able to get out there while he was working on it.  We decide it was time to give it a go.  And while we were up there we might as well get on 'Excommunication' as well. And we might as well camp up there so we didn't have to hike up and down the talus cone twice.  I got off of work in the early morning and drove to Moab to meet Bill and Matt who had already food shopped and were waiting for me.  We carpooled out to Castle Valley and started up.  It was after noon before we started up 'Ivory Tower'.  The climbing is amazing! really fun movement in an incredible setting.  We sat a fair bit, but everyone did all the moves and we got to the top.

Watching the sunset from the ridge is always a treat.
The next morning with sore fingers and stiff bodies we worked our way over to the Priest to another amazing line. 'Excommunication'.  The crux felt a little harder that 'Ivory Tower' but maybe it was just day two.  Really fun arete climbing and some hard calcite climbing gets you through the hard bits.  
Summit register on the Priest

With the whole afternoon left open we decided to head down and check out another "Sam" creation, 'The Scar'.  For how easily accessed, and high quality 'The Scar' is, it's surprising we hadn't climbed there before.  But I guess we usually have our sights set on more phallic features in the area. Bill and Matt headed home and I headed to the mexican restaurant for some fajitas and margaritas.  

Jeff was to join me the next evening so I was solo the whole next day.  I started out climbing 'The Pillbox'.  At 3 pitches of easy free climbing into easy aid, plus straight forward rappels I was looking for my next objective by noon.  Sitting in my car eating chips and salsa I spotted two more towers that Sam put up, 'The Academy' and 'Seminary'.  Some quick research online revealed reasonable grades, so I was off.
On 'Seminary' thinking soloing wet, mossy rock maybe was a bad idea.

Summit of 'The Academy'
I got back to town just in time to grab some equipment that Jeff and I were going to need for the next day.

Jeff arrived and we headed back to the mexican restaurant for more fajitas, margaritas and laughs.  After dinner we drove out to Spring Canyon to camp near our morning objective.  We took half dozen wrong turns and were about to give up when we suddenly were dropping into the canyon on the right road.  After parking and throwing our sleeping bags and pads on the ground, Jeff proceeded to brush his teeth with anti-fungal cream.  Not surprisingly this sent him in to a spitting frenzy which lasted multiple minutes.  When I awoke in the morning literally the first thing I saw as I opened my eyes was a flat tire on Jeff's truck.
Not the best morning wake up.
Handy man Jeff!

Breakfast of champions!
The tower we had our eyes on was something we hoped had never been done.  It's pretty obvious and had been eyed by quite a few climbers but somehow missed out on an ascent.  The first pitch went all free with some fun climbing and the second pitch started out free but eventually required a fair number of bolts to get to the summit.  We sat on top of the knife-edge summit trying to come up with a name for the tower.  Eventually we decided on 'Robitussin Tower' since Jeff had been chugging the stuff the whole day.  

One long rappel and we were on the ground and head home and back to work. As always its hard not to have fun in the desert when you're screwing around with good buddies!