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The Oracle
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Beak to the Future T 
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Fantasia T 

Fantasia 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a C2 R

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 8 pitches, Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a C2+ [details]
FA: Harvey T. Carter and Steve Kentz
Page Views: 5,584
Submitted By: Brad Brandewie on Feb 8, 2007

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Ben Kiessel on the spooky 10r pitch.

Description 

Fantasia begins on the south side of the formation directly across from the Finger of Fate. This is the easiest line on the Oracle but it is not easy.

Major sections of this route require you to climb on fixed protection that is OLD and SUSPECT and sometimes missing altogether. Ben took a 15 footer when a drilled pin failed under body weight on the last pitch. We also had a bolt fail with light testing.

I would recommend that you not go up there without a bolt kit or at least a long stick clip. If you decide against them, bring the mental strength of Stevie Haston. The mandatory free climbing is no lovefest either, weighing in at 5.10- R.

Still, it’s a great tower!


Pitch 1 – Boulder 20 feet up a corner and then climb a wide crack left of a mud draped chimney. Step right at the top and climb up to a fixed anchor. (5.9, C2)

Pitch 2 – Climb the bolt ladder above. There are a few free moves on this pitch including an airy mantle that is easy but not well protected. Belay from a fixed anchor on a small ledge on the left side of the ridge. (5.8, C1)

Pitch 3 – Continue on bolts, then make a few dirty free moves and gain a grungy crack that leads to the top of the ridge. (5.9 dirty, C2)

Pitch 4 – Climb along the top of the ridge past an old specter that‘s been pounded into a crack and then keeping right. You will want a couple cord-o-lettes to sling around features. Belay at an hourglass in the rock from long tie-offs. (5.7, C0)

Pitch 5 – Continue along the right side of the ridge to a bolt. From here chimney up to another bolt and traverse farther still, over some wild terrain, to a crack that leads to a bolted anchor. (5.7, C2)

Pitch 6 - Move the belay along an airy ledge to a pair of hidden bolts and rappel to another anchor in the notch. (Class 4)

Pitch 7 – Climb unprotected for 50 feet on slopers. Continue past an old anchor to a pair of good bolts. (5.10- R) (a stick clip makes the last 15 feet a questionable toprope)

Pitch 8 – Rope trickery off the belay leads to an manky bolt ladder and the summit. Some bolts are missing on this pitch so plan accordingly. (5.9, C2)


Descent – Rappel into the notch and then down the Gastrointestinal Chimney which is on the east (approach trail) side.

NOTE: The first rappel into the chimney is slightly over 60 meters. We made it with 60s but it required some serious shenanigans. 65 meter ropes are recommended. If you don’t have them, be prepared to extend the anchor.


Location 

This route is easily approached using the trail for the Titan's Finger of Fate.

Protection 

Much of this route is fixed. I recommend:

A double set of cams up to 3” plus a few larger ones.
A set of the smaller tri-cams.
A set of nuts.
Tie-offs and butterfly rivet hangers.
A couple cord-o-lettes for tying off on the ridge as well as for anchors.
Several screamers.
A bolt kit or long stick clip.
65 meter ropes


Photos of Fantasia Slideshow Add Photo
Here are some of the old bolts and pitons we repla...
Here are some of the old bolts and pitons we repla...
The pitons. WWII Mountain Troop knifeblade pitons ...
The pitons. WWII Mountain Troop knifeblade pitons ...
Ben starting the wild traversing of pitches 4 and ...
Ben starting the wild traversing of pitches 4 and ...
I'm at the top of Pitch 2 and Ben is jugging up. B...
I'm at the top of Pitch 2 and Ben is jugging up. B...
Interesting protection at the second belay.
Interesting protection at the second belay.
Brad B. and Ben K. on the 1st pitch of Fantasia, T...
Brad B. and Ben K. on the 1st pitch of Fantasia, T...
Bill Grasse on the airy ledge on pitch 6.
Bill Grasse on the airy ledge on pitch 6.
Ben K. and Brad B. on pitch 1 of Fantasia, The Ora...
Ben K. and Brad B. on pitch 1 of Fantasia, The Ora...
WOO HOO!!!
WOO HOO!!!
We put in about 25 stainless steel glue-ins and th...
We put in about 25 stainless steel glue-ins and th...
P1
P1
Just came across this topo on my computer.  Not su...
BETA PHOTO: Just came across this topo on my computer. Not su...
Pitch one.
Pitch one.
Can you say "exposure"? Looking down the...
Can you say "exposure"? Looking down the...
A close up of some homemade aluminum hangers.
A close up of some homemade aluminum hangers.
Weird shenanigans on the final pitch.
Weird shenanigans on the final pitch.

Comments on Fantasia Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 4, 2013
By Aaron Child
Apr 29, 2010

As of Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, every single bolt has been replaced on this route by me and Darren Knezek including a new bolt or two at each anchor. The anchors at the top of the very last pitch and the pitch before that have been completely replaced. Enjoy either a hefty glue-in or a half inch bolt in place of the old, scary manky bolts on the pitches that had bolts.
By Darren Knezek
May 4, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2+ R

A few comments on the route that I found useful:
I used the larger #4, #5, and #6 BD Camalots on the 1st and 3rd pitch. Save the #6 Camalot near the end on pitch 1 when you traverse from the left crack into the chimney. On the end of pitch 3 and the end of the wild pitch 5 in the grungy crack.
The 5.10- R rated pitch on pitch 7 seemed more like a 5.8 to me. There was a great #4 BD Camalot placement halfway and if you go to the right edge for the step across on the last 15 feet it's about 5.7 and you don't need a stickclip.
Even with new bolts, all the C2 sections are still old school C2 sections with crazy rope tricks and such. So be prepared the climb is not a gimme.
All in all I enjoyed this tower as much as than The Titan.
By James Garrett
May 4, 2010

D,
How did you descend? And if via the GI Chimney, what was the condition of those raps?
thanks for the strong work.....
By Darren Knezek
May 5, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2+ R

We descended the GI Chimney. The first rap was indeed a little over 200 feet. I forgot to mention that whoever does the climb next should bring about 20 feet of static cord or webbing to replace or back up the first rappel that gets you over the lip and into the chimney. We didn't add a new anchor here as the one currently looked just fine to me.
The next rap was still nice looking, we didn't replace the old webbing, but we did add a stainless steel ring anchor to that rappel station. We did that rappel in the dark. The GI Chimney in the dark seemed extra spooky. :)
I was psyched to see your summit register! (The one on top of The Titan was in little pieces and the summit register either got moved or blew away. I was a little bummed as I like reading them.)
By Ben Kiessel
May 6, 2010

Nice work guys. Even on the old bolts this thing was sweet. More people should get on it. You're right, the 5.10-R wasn't that hard. I think it scares a lot of people away, but it shouldn't.

Climb this route it's sick!
Ben
By Darren Knezek
May 6, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2+ R

Thanks Ben!
We found the hole the bolt pulled out of. It fit one of the star drive bolts perfectly, but we didn't find the missing pin placement.
What a great adventure!

Thanks Brad for posting the info on the climb it helped a ton.
By Brad Brandewie
May 7, 2010

Props to Aaron and Darren for fixing that thing. That was a LOT of work and money. Thanks guys!

I would agree that even with new bolts, this climb is not a gimme. There are some seriously exciting and exposed pitches up there. In fact, I had gotten a little ho hum about exposure before I did this route and those traversing pitches made me feel like it was my first tower again.

How many of those old things were you able to clean with your hands?
Not all fixed gear in the Fishers is to be trusted...
Not all fixed gear in the Fishers is to be trusted!

We found this 40 year old relic at top of the 7th pitch on the Oracle.

This bolt (and many like it) was placed by the FA team of Harvey Carter and Steve Kentz and is only 1" or 1.5" long. Makes you appreciate the big fatties that the ASCA has installed on some of the trade routes eh?


It's good to hear that the 10- R pitch isn't really that hard. Ben said it felt too easy for 5.10 when he led it but I jugged it so I had no idea. I didn't want to sandbag anyone on such a serious pitch so far up a route so I just put a - on the 10 rating that the book gave. That being said, this is not a pitch for a 5.9 leader. (like me)

I am bummed I didn't have a chance to look at the summit register. We were racing weather and daylight so we topped out, looked around for about 60 seconds, took a photo, and began the raps. How many names were in it?

This route was a great adventure climb for us. I was so excited after we did it that I called Harvey Carter to thank him for putting it up. As I was telling him about the hike in and the first pitch he seemed a little confused. At first I thought that Harvey might be slipping a little. Then, removing any worry that he hadn't understood me, he said "Oh you hiked in the way you would to climb the Finger of Fate?" to which I said yes. He then said "When we did it, we started at the bottom." (on the Echo/Cottontail side) I hung up feeling delightfully deflated and thinking to myself 'That's why you're Harvey Carter'.


Again, well done you guys! Now maybe this thing will get the traffic it deserves.

Cheers,
Brad

PS, We were in the desert a couple weeks ago and I asked Ben what his favorite tower was and he said the The Oracle. This from a guy who's done well over 100 towers. YMMV
By Darren Knezek
May 8, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2+ R

At the end of the 1st pitch I pulled the 2nd and the 3rd bolt out with a yank from a quickdraw. There were four bolts on this pitch.

The 2nd pitch had a few that came out with a yank also. The weird thing is that some pulled out of the hole and others had a half-circle of soft rock still attached to them. (I think I read somewhere that Steve Barlett experienced the same thing.) I led pitch one and Aaron led pitch two. I pulled the bolts out while I jumared up the 2nd pitch. The weird thing was that some of the times I would look at a bolt that looked O.K. and it would pull out with only a yank from the quickdraw. Others might be stronger. So on the 2nd pitch about a third by hand. (One that looked good was only attached to mud all the way down the length of the bolt!)

I led the 3rd pitch and after pulling out so many so easily on the 2nd pitch, I was pretty gripped and thought that I would have a heart attack on every bolt I clipped into. Just waiting for it to blow! Aaron pulled out the bolts on this pitch while he jumared. I think quite a few came out really easily. Especially the one that you have to free climb above on dirty holds to get to the crack.

The 4th pitch there were no bolts.

I put a new bolt in on the 5th pitch where you tension out and grab the horn. (I would not have wanted to do that pitch with the old bolt. If it would have pulled you're hitting ledges and getting seriously hurt with no easy way of getting down. So big props on whoever led that one!) By the way congrats on whoever leads this pitch on future ascents, it's a showstopper and as wild as they come.

All the bolts on the last pitch came out the easiest. Aaron led this pitch and I can't believe his good fortune that none of the bolts pulled. The 2nd bolt was only in the rock a quarter of an inch and I pulled it out with my fingers.

I used a stickclip to pass the 2nd bolt on pitch three and Aaron used it twice on the last pitch. All three times had a bolt that we skipped because you could pull it out with your quickdraw.

All the bolts are replaced and I can't see any reason why some one would need a stickclip anywhere on the climb now.

You're totally right about the seriousness of the R-rated pitch. You gain a ledge after 6 feet of climbing and you do a dicey move where you gain a stance and can place the #4 Camalot. When you're on the 2nd ledge the upper sequence is devious and the gear here most likely wouldn't hold a fall. I went to the right and down-stepped a little. Stepped a foot across the void and jumped for the right arete/edge. It was a jug! From there it's an easy scamper up and left to the anchors. It's very committing and a fall would be disastrous here.

P.S. I'm pretty close to 100 towers myself and this one was one of the most memorable as well as thought-provoking and exciting. None the excitement I'm talking about came from the old bolts, but the route finding, gear placements, and the sections of free climbing found on almost all of the pitches.

P.S.S. When James Garrett placed the summit register, he was the 5th party to summit. You guys were the 10th, there was another party that was 11th and we were the 12th. Pretty shocking and that was by a combination of both routes that are the tower!
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
May 11, 2010

Darren and Aaron, Super-kudos to you two for doing this job. Thank you.
By Ben Folsom
May 11, 2010

Yes, very much appreciated.
By Jason Haas
May 11, 2010

Thank you guys for doing this, especially using Glue-ins. Are you the first to cough up the hefty price for glue-ins in the Fishers? I will gladly buy you guys a beer if we ever meet, even if I never do this route.
By Brad Brandewie
May 14, 2010

Darren,

Your last post was very fun to read and very sobering. I thought leading the second pitch seemed casual compared to the rest of the route. Hell, now that I think about it, I was up there goofing off and belting out showtunes. Now I hear that it might have been possible to zipper a long way. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

Thanks again for the hard work! How long did it take you to replace all that hardware? I bet your pack was NOT light on the hike in. I assume you used a power drill. Did you need more than one battery? I would also like to buy you a beer if you're ever in Durango.

I forgot that Ben had signed the summit register while I jugged the last pitch.

Nice work on freeing those moves up to the crack on the third pitch. When we did it, Bill lassoed a dirt mound with the tag line and batmanned past some of those moves. I'm not sure which way was more sketchy.

You wrote "the upper sequence is devious and the gear here most likely wouldn't hold a fall. I went to the right and down-stepped a little. Stepped a foot across the void and jumped for the right arete/edge. It was a jug!"

Could you tell it was a jug before you jumped? Is this what you're saying felt like 5.8? Burl!!
By Darren Knezek
May 17, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2+ R

It took two long days from sunrise to getting back to camp close to midnight to replace the bolts. Our packs the first day were around 80 pounds and 50 pounds the second day. We replaced bolts on the first three pitches the first day. And the rest of the pitches the second day. The haul bag was around 75 pounds and the traversing pitches up higher were an unbelievable nightmare getting the haul bag across.
It took two of the lithium Hilti 6A batteries.
Freeing the moves up to the crack was very exciting. The bolt below was only in the rock a half inch and it was bent from what looked like a previous fall. Definitely did not want to fall there. Even with the new bolt it will still be a very spicy lead.
Yes, the step across was the part that turned out to be only 5.8. I didn't know it was a jug. I thought that if there wasn't a hold I could slap the other side of the arete, hold myself for a second, and jump back to the ledge from which I left. It's a very cool move and you feel like a total badass doing it with the huge dropoff void below you.

Harvey T. Carter is a total badass in my opinion!!!

Aaron read all the summit entries to me as I was replacing the bolts on the last pitch as there was a storm moving in and daylight was waning. We did the raps in the dark and I had forget my headlamp. Too much fun!
By Nigel Robinson
Aug 21, 2010

Along with Robert 'Sully' Sullivan and a third climber from Telluride, I remember as nick-named 'Gowdy', we did the second ascent of the Oracle, Fisher Towers, in November 1975. We followed the Harvey Carter Route from the bottom on the Cottontail/Echo side to the summit.

We climbed from the bottom to the large platform joining across to the Titan. Here we bivied and from reading the descriptions of Fantasia this is where that route now begins?

The next day we climbed following the line of Harvey Carter to the summit. By the time we reached the summit it was getting dark and we spent the night on the summit shivering as we had left our bivi gear a few pitches below hoping to get back down to it!

The next day we rapped off.

I understood that'Gowdy' had been involved on the first ascent with Carter and that he described it as having been done in stages, from the bottom to the platform (stage 1) and later what is now known as Fantasia (stage 2). I guess this was over the 9 days it took to do the 1st ascent.

Gowdy and Sully both believed that our ascent was the first continuous ascent from the bottom?

We shared alternative leads and I remember leading 3 or 4 very challenging, serious and often scary leads all being very different in style.

The whole desert experience was amazing and so different to anything I had experienced at the time as a just turned 21 year old Brit. Although some of the climbing style reminded me of Derbyshire gritstone, particularly the sloping rounded but steep climbing on the 7th pitch of Fantasia now graded 5.10.

But that was where the comparison with Derbyshire gritstone ended because nothing could prepare you for the dirt and the mud of which I remember been covered in form the first pitch!

A very unique experience which has always remained one of my most memorable climbs with two wonderful climbing companions.

Does anyone know of Sully who at the time was working on Ski Patrol in Telluride along with Gowdy. Sully and I had just come from Yosemite where Sully had just climbed the Nose with a young Jim Beyer and I was licking my wounds from being stormed off Half Dome with Daryll Hatton from Vancouver. Sully would now be around 75 years old and originally from New England.

I hope this will be of some interest from an historical perspective and record of this tremendously impressive Tower and route.

Nigel 'Yorky' Robinson, Nottingham, England.

PS. ' Yorky' is my nick-name.




By Noah8000
From: Vail, CO
Apr 4, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C2+ X

Just did this with Brian Crim and David Alexander. A couple things, we found that every pitch had a serious section. Definitely a serious route. The P5 end is not C1 as described in other guides. C2++ or just C2. The 5.10 R/X pitch was pretty awesome actually. Fun but scary climbing. It's a little soft for 5.10 but I'd hate to sandbag someone on a serious lead like it. The jump right to a jug as described above is really really wild! As the fall would be very bad. The last pitch is not a gimme. We were the 16th party on the summit of the Oracle. Crazy.

The anchor for the notch is now extended. Bring a gri gri. Rappel the fixed line to it's end and then rappel 60m off your ropes from there. You barelly make it. Don't slip off the end. One more 50m rappel lands you on the ground.