The 400' semi-detached spire to the south of Independence Monument and Grand View Spire.
To access, you drive past Monument Canyon Trail, to the very back of the valley. Look for a tunnel just below the road. This is where the approach trail starts. You start by walking down a trail built in 1910 by John Otto. This trail drops steeply into the canyon for about 800 feet, and then walks around the edge of the canyon until the Kissing Couple formation can be seen. (The top of the tower looks like two people kissing when viewed from the approach, the object they are both kissing, I believe, is the namesake for this route). So, you walk around to the opposite side of the tower from what you see on approach. Then scramble up to the base. You do a little boulder problem to get up to the start of P1. This is kinda tricky with a full backpack.
"Far out!" someone lightly etched into the sandstone on the second to last belay on Long Dong Wall. Although disturbing, it hit the nail on the head! This route is on the Kissing Couple formation just uphill from Independence Monument. Pitch 1: The route's crux, this pitch is in your face, and makes a harsh warm-up! You climb a crack, and some flakes straight up, while fishing small gear into the sandy crack. The crack goes to a finger crack, then a hand crack. After this, you traverse le...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
There is a semi-independent spire, about 150-200' tall 'behind' the Kissing Couple a few meters. This is the face opposite of the Long Dong Wall when standing at the base. On this face, and just behind Long Dong Wall, there is a splitter fist crack running the entire height, interrupted only by some brief sections of what appears to be squeeze chimney. This appears to be unclimbed. As well, up and left from there above a 80' shallow corner of junky rock there is a very nice crack running to the top.
Does anybody know anything about these lines? Have they been climbed? If not, what is the present local law and ethic on a drilled bolt or pin, should the chimney present a significant risk at a significant difficulty- I.E. required to keep the route from being X-rated?
Hey Tony, I believe the spire you are talking about is called Crack Of Noon Tower, and was first climbed by James Stover and Mac Lewis a couple years ago. The chimney on the right when viewed from the base of Long Dong Wall is called "Right Route" 5.11. The left crack system is called "Crack Of Noon Route" 5.10, and it is climbed in one long pitch.
The Colorado National Monument has adopted a current policy of banning the establishment of all new fixed anchors, this doesn't mean it does not happen, but be warned. It could mean serious trouble with "THE FEDS". However, there is a new climbing ranger in town, and I have heard that he is at least open to discussion. Hopefully, as a community, we can impress upon him that the climbing here is really good, but there are serious safety issues with getting down off of some of these things, due to the nature of the rock. There are some really old ratty anchors that need fixing and the current reigning authorities are just not taking care of business.
As far as placing bolts on existing routes ---- I think the consensus is in mate' -- without the expressed consent of the FA party, it just not a cool thing to do. (I will admit sometimes it is hard to tell where people have been out here.) --- Someone's habenaro salsa; is someone else's strawberry cheesecake; were are all just different that way! If you want to drill do your best to make sure it is an FA. Anchors are OK, but I would shy away from ladders (unless they link free climbing systems). But thanks for asking, just by doing so shows a respect for a culture far older than we are. Some of these towers were the first ones in the desert to be climbed by the old guard!