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North Chimney 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Burgette and Erickson, 1970
Page Views: 59,397
Submitted By: Ben Folsom on Oct 23, 2001

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Calcite detail, N Chimney belay.

Description 

This is probably the easiest route on Castleton, and is a fantastic climb. To reach, hike up the talus as for the Kor-Ingalls, when you reach the base, walk around to the north end of the tower and traverse out on a ledge to the base of the chimney which is right on the left hand corner of the North Face.

P1- Climb the double hand cracks in the corner. This pitch is intimidating, but there are many rests. The crux of the pitch is at the top where you climb over a short bulge, and then up to a small ledge to the belay.

P2- Climb a short but tricky 5.8 offwidth protected by an old bolt. Place a big cam here instead of clipping the useless bolt. Then climb the chimney above climbing over chockstones and varied cracks to a belay on a small ledge. The belay takes hand size cams.

P3- Climb up the hand crack up to a stemming move at the top of the chimney which gets you to a ledge. Climb up easy ground to a ledge where you join the Kor Ingalls.

P4- Climb the last pitch of the Kor Ingalls to the top.

To descend rappel the North Face via three raps or the Kor Ingalls via 4 raps.

Protection 

Three sets of cams to #3 Camalot, 1 bigger cam for pitch 2. A set of stoppers.

The Bolt 

If you tell yourself "the bolt will catch me", you are putting yourself at great risk of falling to a ledge, hitting your belayer and breaking her arm, falling off her and factor 1.5-ing the anchor and leaving a bloody mess dripping down the first pitch and onto the party following you.

You will then rap off, get your rope stuck, and walk painfully and dejectedly, on the ankle that you realize is broken, to the parking area and then be subjected to the crass old nurse with the thick glasses in the Moab Emergency Room (which is hard to find).

Then you get billed and have to schedule that surgery on your ankle, which won't work.

SO—Take a large cam and use it. Seriously, its not much to carry and it's an almost necessary piece for tower climbing in the desert. No reason for you to not have it here except laziness and poverty, and poverty doesn't really count in this situ. (Try paying off the emergency room visit instead? Me thinks not.)

As an addition, again, there is no plan to replace this bolt and there shouldn't be. The first ascentionist, Dan Burgeutte, did the route without the bolt and has asked that it not be replaced. As there is protection that protects the move (you are even toproping with the piece!) it would be silly and against the generally accepted ethics of climbers to replace the bolt. Carry the #5.

—Sam Lightner, Jr.


Photos of North Chimney Slideshow Add Photo
looking across the valley. third pitch
looking across the valley. third pitch
P4 transferring to the  Kor Ingalls at the top.
P4 transferring to the Kor Ingalls at the top.
Luke starting the 2nd pitch.
Luke starting the 2nd pitch.
Somewhere on the 3rd pitch
Somewhere on the 3rd pitch
looking down at the last baly.. on a sweet day lil clouds lots of fun cool temps good frends
looking down at the last baly.. on a sweet day lil...
Kyle Heck doing a victory handstand on top.
Kyle Heck doing a victory handstand on top.
180 vertical pano from inside the second pitch.
180 vertical pano from inside the second pitch.
Bart Fay leading the 1st pitch of the North Chimney route on Castleton.
Bart Fay leading the 1st pitch of the North Chimne...
Rapping the north face kate Schaefer in photo
Rapping the north face kate Schaefer in photo
Ken Leiden leading the 2nd pitch of the North Chimney route on Castleton
Ken Leiden leading the 2nd pitch of the North Chim...
N. Chimney
BETA PHOTO: N. Chimney
moving across the face on the last pitch.  WINDY!!!
moving across the face on the last pitch. WINDY!!...
Piles of death blocks atop the N. Chimney.  You did wear your helmet, didn't you?
BETA PHOTO: Piles of death blocks atop the N. Chimney. You di...
Looking down on Chuck at the belay from the top of the chimney.
Looking down on Chuck at the belay from the top of...
The beautiful north face of Castleton.
The beautiful north face of Castleton.
Looking at North Face of Castleton Tower, three climbers on ledge in midst of rappelling
Looking at North Face of Castleton Tower, three cl...
The lower crux on P1 is the move off the ground and then around this ceiling. Brian has back cleaned some gear so the rope will run straight.
The lower crux on P1 is the move off the ground an...
yeah!  the view... and the death block.
yeah! the view... and the death block.
The fun, middle part of P1. There's another crux above, where the crack on the right wall converges with the corner.
The fun, middle part of P1. There's another crux a...
Vicente Planelles, El Gato de Espana.
Vicente Planelles, El Gato de Espana.
The super fun first pitch.
The super fun first pitch.
Moving into the offwidth section at the start of pitch 2.
Moving into the offwidth section at the start of p...
Vicente Planelles jamming his way up the 1st pitch.
Vicente Planelles jamming his way up the 1st pitch...
We found that the N. Face of Castleton was the easiest way to get off the tower. You can see if anybody is on the route, there's very little chance of getting your rope eaten by cracks, and on this occasion, it was fairly sheltered from the wind.
We found that the N. Face of Castleton was the eas...

Show All 49 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on North Chimney Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 25, 2014
By Mike Sofranko
Oct 30, 2001

I'd give this route at least a 9-. A 5.8 leader is likely to have issues with two spots in particular.

For the rack, take 1 set of nuts and 1 set of cams plus a few extra hand-sized pieces to make protecting the first pitch more straightforward. A screamer for the bolt on P2 might be wise.

While this route climbs an enourmous chimney, it has virtually no chimney climbing. The P2 OW is short and not that bad. I think a #4 camalot would work there, but I'm not sure as I didn't have one.

At the top of the chimney (by the huge chockstone), exit climber's right.
By Ben Folsom
Oct 31, 2001

I entered this route at 5.8 because that is what it was originally rated. I believe that ratings are becoming softer and softer, and all this upgrading of routes, especially in the desert is detrimental to the history of climbing there. The ratings in the desert are stout, it's always been that way and it needs to continue to be that way. That is part of the allure of climbing there. I really don't care much about the numbers, but for the sake of climbing history, I just don't think there should be all this upgrading that is taking place in the newer guidebooks.

Ben
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 1, 2001

A helmet is strongly recommended on this climb as there is a lot of loose junk lying around on pitch 3 - it is very easy to knock stuff off with your rope even if careful. Of course a helmet is always a good idea in the desert, but I just thought I would mention it as this route tends to get rather crowded.
By Kurt Johnson
From: Estes Park, CO
Dec 19, 2001
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

The climbing definitely felt like 5.9 to me, and both the first and second pitches are rated as such in various guidebooks. While I think climbing history should be honored, it's also conceivable that the first ascentionists, for whatever reason, rated it a grade easier than it should have been. This happens today and it happened back then. Some do it deliberately, some not. But either way, it makes sense to update ratings based on how the route feels to the average climber. It's been done to Bastille Crack and Stettner's Ledges, among others, for better or for worse; but in the end I feel it does a service to the climb and to those who climb it to give it a rating that's as accurate as possible.

As for gear, doubles of cams up to a #3 Camalot and a set of stoppers(rarely used), plus a #4 Camalot worked well for me. I also used a screamer on the old and extremely sketchy-looking bolt, which I backed up with the #4, however, if you have a #4.5 you'll be able to get it in at about bolt-level, instead of having to go a little higher to place the #4. Also, the anchor at the top of pitch 2 is fixed with 2 pins and an old cam or something. Be extra careful when pulling on to the ledge as you exit the main chimney on pitch 3 as it's littered with rocks of all sizes right to the edge, and the jumble of chockstones above this, just before the belay ledge looks like an accident waiting to happen.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 19, 2002

Technically, I thought this was waaaaay easier than the Kor-Ingalls. It's more sustained--nearly every move on the first two pitches is 5.8, but there are also good rests after every move. I'd call it 5.8+ (sorry Kurt!), history or not.

Personally I thought the Kor-Ingalls was not only harder (I led the crux of each climb) but a little bit better (although the first pitch of N.Chimney has the best climbing on either route), but Kurt disagrees with me on both counts!
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 20, 2002

I agree with Charles, this climb is definitely easier than the Kor-Ingalls. And please, lets reserve personal attacks for email.
By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 25, 2002
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I thought the route was really sustained 5.8 with a 5.9 move at the top of pitch one and another at the bolt on pitch 2. All in all, I thought it was much easier than Kor-Ingalls, and also much much better. Fantastic route.
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 31, 2002

just a quick little something. i climbed this route a couple of springs ago, and found it to be very nice. i did happen to bring a #4 with me and it was very nice right at that old spinner. some dude and his girlfriend who tried to race past us as we were gearing up scorned me for bringing it, but as we were heading up the last part of the chimney i could hear him below cursing as his #3 was just a little small. the move isn't bad there, but some added pro never hurt anyone.
By Aki
Mar 31, 2003

I just wanted to thank my climbing partner Paul C for leading the entire climb for me as this was my first tower and it was bone chilling cccoold. The ambient temperature was around 40 f and a chilling wind roared up that shaded chimney the entire climb, we lost feelings in our fingers and toes. You never trusted your feet and fingers were to stiff to fiddle with gear. Every move became incredibly hard and this was the first time in 3 years I ever worried about Paul on lead. The only comforting thoughts were the hot tub he promised would be at the top, me climbing this tourist style (climbing second) and he's climbed this 4 times before. As for anyone new to this type of climbing I would recommend you never climb in this type of cold, it's just not fun and it is simply dangerous for the lead. As far as the climb itself anyone new to offwidths should practice on a few before you do this. This was my first time feeling stuck but kinda happy I was stuck so I won't fall but at the same time worrying I may not make it up and my lead would have to climb down and rescue/laugh at me. What a strange feeling. Oh and for anyone new to this type of exposure the rap off the North side is nuts but fun. Again, Thanks Paul!
By Scott Conner
From: Lyons, CO
May 29, 2003

Superb crack climb. Sustained at 5.7/5.8 with a few slightly more difficult moves and pretty sewn up except for the OW on the second pitch which is quite awkward.

I'd recommend continuing to the top from the 2nd belay and doing in 3 pitches total unless the sun is really baking (great shade in the corridor before the last pitch) or there is a party on Kor-Ingalls.

We rapped the North Face and it took four single 60m rope rappels. The distance for the last rap was about 110' and required a short down climb.

For a rack, I took: Stoppers- 1 set, Cams- (singles) green alien through .75 Camalot, two red, two yellow Camalots, and one 3 and 3.5 Camalot. If I did the route again, I'd leave the 3.5 behind. I felt fine on the OW without a giant cam and I'm not a particularly bold leader.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 29, 2003

I don't think it's a question so much of being a bold leader, but simply that there is no other good pro if you don't have the #4 camalot (or something bigger) at the crux of pitch 2. The bolt is terrible, much worse for example than the bolts on Kor-Ingalls. If it pulls, you might fall down past your belayer and almost certainly get hurt. I too felt very solid on this section--it didn't seem too hard--but I was happy to have the #4, given that I considered it my only real pro here. I'd recommend at least that anyone who leads in the 5.9/10 range take it--if you feel at all insecure on this section (which some consider the route crux), you'll be glad.
By Scott Conner
From: Lyons, CO
May 29, 2003

Charles, you are definitely right about the bolt being terrible. It looks like it has already seen some hard falls and is probably ready to succumb to the next one; or maybe not, but I wouldn't want to test it. Does a #4 Camalot even fit in this crack? It looks much too wide even for a #4.5.

I own a #4.5 but not the #4. I agonized over whether or not to bring it right up until we started hiking and ultimately decided againsed it. We were trying to be fast and light since temps were getting up to 100* on Tuesday. We were back at the van by 11:30am, thankfully. But, I surly would have been glad if I had the 4.5 at the time...

If you find yourself here w/o a large cam, a medium sized piece can be plugged into the crack, eight or so feet below the bolt (deep in a chimney). Not the best placement but better than nothing.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 29, 2003

Scott--with a #4, you have to clip the bolt, and do a move to get right up to it, then you can reach up and place the #4, and it is very good. You can do all this before committing to the crux moves. A 4.5 would make things easier, you could place it before you even get to the bolt. The only reason I responded to your comment is because I wouldn't want people to get the idea that there is other good pro there. The moves felt pretty far below my limit but I was still happy to have some good pro.

I agree that the rest of the route is pretty sewn-up--if you bring the big cam, then overall this climb has significantly better gear than the Kor-Ingalls, IMO.
By Will Cobb
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 23, 2003

My girlfriend and I climbed the first two pitches on this route last Friday. (Thundering skys convinced us to back off at the top of the second pitch.) I would certainly give the first two pitches three stars as they were fun, contained a variety of moves, and kept me honest.

After reading all the debate on this page regarding which cams to bring or leave behind, and since I am a much better hiker than climber, I brought both a #4.5 and #4 camalot on this climb. As stated above, the 4.5 fits great right at the bolt. I walked the 4.5 up until I could reach up and slide the #4 in. I then walked the #4 up and placed it behind a chockstone with a long runner. The 4.5 would have made a great first piece of gear right off the second belay as well. I enjoyed the security of having the 4.5 in addition to the old bolt while sliding up that OW. Not everyone needs that kind of security. It is a nasty fall though if that bolt were to shear and you didn't have it backed up with anything.

As far as the rating goes I would call the route sustained 5.8 with two 5.9 cruxes. We were actually surprised at how sustained the first pitch felt even with so many great rest stances. I can see calling it 5.8 though as many desert routes have conservative grades.

Next time we will step it up a notch and tackle the Kor-Ingels route. Need a little more OW training time first though. :)
By E.T.
Jun 30, 2003

I'm breaking out of Colorado on a road trip and could use some beta.

How big is the top of the tower? Could you sleep on it? Would it be ill-advised?

How bad is the sun? Can I climb middle of the day or is that really going to suck?

Also since I'm not familiar with the area what do I need to do to not piss of the locals and make more access issues for the area?
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 1, 2003

Re: sleeping on top, cool idea! The top is flat and could sleep 10. A great idea, but not if electrical storms are around. The N. Chimney gets sun very early, but is in the shade after about 10AM. In July, it might be bearable to climb in the late afternoon, although the approach would suck in the heat. The approach is longer and looser than it looks, hauling overnight junk up this would be a pain. Also I would not haul up the North Chimney, there is a lot of loose rock at the top and it's, er, a chimney. Kor-Ingalls would be better for hauling, or N. Face. Maybe climb up N. Chimney and rap down N face, then jumar it, hauling your overnight bag?
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 22, 2004

I brought a double set of cams and ran out of big stuff about 20 feet before the crux, I wan't exactly sewing up the whole route either. I put a couple big nuts into places that weren't designed for nuts, they would have been speed bumps at best. There is a seam that takes good, small nuts just before the crux. It would have bee nice to have another #2 and #3 camalot.
By Anonymous Coward
Mar 29, 2004

aka North Chosspile. First pitch is good though.
By vince pierce
Dec 13, 2004
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

GREAT climb! The first pitch is so good. Handjam after handjam for 160 feet. Plenty of rests and plenty of pro. The crux of P-1 is definately the bulge at the top. The pitch 2 offwidth crux was not nearly as bad as i thought it would be (and i have flailed on a 5.7 ow in lcc). However, this route keeps coming at you! Don't be fooled into thinking you are done with it after the crux, as there are plenty of 5.8 moves left. WARNING! About twenty feet up the third pitch you will see two sets of slings on the left wall above the giant chockstone. Pretend they are not there! I stepped across to the left wall, made some moves on top of it and found myself quickly off route. To get back on route i walked across the chockstone. That was, uhhh, thrilling. Just stay IN the chimney even though it looks kinda crappy. P-4 belay is the obvious flat spot between the main tower and the pillar to yr left. There are no anchors. P-4 is about the last forty feet of the Kor-Ingalls route and is full of sweet and easy face moves with HUGE exposure. What a blast. We did it in december on a clear day, upper 50's with no wind. I wouldn't go much colder than that.
By Tyson S Arp
Dec 23, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

My wife and I climbed this route on a beautiful April day this year. Just wanted to post a link to our trip report.
By Trad Elvis
Oct 24, 2005

Does anyone know if you can link p2 and p3 together with a 60m rope?
By Brejcha, Matthew
Nov 8, 2005
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

P2 and 3 link with a 60m. I've done the route twice and that's how we did it both times.

Bring a jacket, the route is always in the shade and it's like a freezer in there.

Pith one is my favorite 5.8 pitch in the desert, it is long, sustained but with great gear and rests and a cool little crux protecting the first anchor. I still can't decide where the crux is, it is either the lieback move 130 feet up pitch one or the OW 15 feet up pitch 2.They are both short cruxes.

My favorite part about the climb is the "wiggle block" on pitch one, if you've climbed it you know what I'm talking about. I don't want to spoil the surprise for the next leader, so I won't elaborate anymore.

Great climb with a fantastic summit---does anyone know where the old summit logs went???

Rack: aliens--green, yellow, red Camalots-- .75, 1(x2), 2(x2),3,4a few big stoppersrunners back up the belay on pitch 2 with either green Aliens or #2 Camalots (I'd say green Aliens because you'll want the 2s for p3).
By toddt
Aug 14, 2006

I found the North Chimney to be a much more fun climb than the Kor-Ingalls. Much less groveling up off-widths. Pitch 1 eats a lot of gear. I did the crux move at the top of pitch 1 with a tipped out number 1 Camalot. Next time I'll definitely have a number 2 for that. The off width for pitch 2 I found to be easier than the crux of pitch 1. We climbed up left at the top of pitch 3 and did a wild jump across the top of chimney. One of the most memorable parts of the climb.
The top is very exposed if there's lightning in the area.
Highly recommended.
By Mark Michaels
From: Draper, UT
Oct 16, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Did the N. Chimney on 10/13/06. The first pitch is excellent, though the crux is probably among the hardest "5.8" moves I've encountered. The 2nd pitch OW isn't too bad, but the bolt "protecting" the OW is a 1/4 inch starhead drive in, half way out and bent! I was glad to have a #4 Camalot...a second #4 or a #4.5-5 Camalot (older style Camalot sizes...not C4) could be placed on this pitch if OW scares you. Be prepared to backup the "anchor" atop pitch 2. It consists of 2 marginal pins. I fixed a #10 hex to back up the bong. There are PILES of loose rock on the ledges at the top of the 3rd pitch chimney...if you're there when no one else is around, toss some off! The route was very dirty the day we did it, perhaps due to the epic rains the week before. Overall, I enjoyed this route, but thought the Kor-Ingalls was more memorable. Save the N.Chimney for a HOT day, and enjoy the sun and scenery on the K/I when temps are cool to moderate!
By chud
From: Norge, Virginia
Jan 13, 2007

As my first desert tower this climb will Always be special to me even though I almost died. Enthralled by Moab and eager to climb after a couple of days at the Creek. I buddied up with these guys Scott And Adam who I'd met at Potash Road. I led the first pitch but when Scott was half way up he got a bad feeling and told me to lower him off despite my protests. (Later I was soo glad he did). Instead Adam came up climbing quickly and efficiently. I led the second and was so impressed that I handed him the rack for the third. About fifty feet up the third pitch Adam accidentally kicked a couple of milk crate sized blocks lose that wizzed passed me by inches. Startled I screamed ROCK ROCK ROCK and Scott barely got out of the way at the base as the Rocks smashed onto the large boulder at the base. Thank God he prophetically lowered as one of us would have surely been hit at the top of the second pitch. Shaken but OK we summited only to find that our second rope had been cut over half way thru by the rockfall. The mini-epic continued when our good rope got stuck on the rappel and I made the decision to leave it as darkness was now setting in. (unknowingly we rapped the chimney instead of the Kor-Ingalls, Rap K-I or N. face) We now had to rap the last two pitches with a rope that was marginal at best. I remember rapping off the end of the rope at the same time I grabbed the slings at the top of the first pitch for the rope was barely long enough. I must have the best guardian angel out there because we all survived intact. I actually went back the next day and bribed the only two climbers there to recover my new supersafe from the route. In closing, the route is great but be ever vigilant for large loose blocks littering the upper pitches. I had my helmet on but it wouldn't have mattered given the size of these blocks.
By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 13, 2007

"Chud": glad you and your buddy made it down in one piece. The upper pitches of NC are indeed in bad shape (more so than your typical desert route). I wish you had read my CONDITION REPORT from 3 months ago (top of COMMENTS section):

"Currently (10/13/06), due to the recent rain, the North Chimney is horrendously loose after the first pitch (P3 in particular is in very poor shape, with many loose, stacked blocks). This is an accident waiting to happen, so please be extra careful or better yet, avoid it altogether for the time being."
By Rob L
From: Durango, CO
Apr 4, 2007
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Great climb, fantastic summit. We linked pitches 3&4 together, which made for 3 nice long pitches for the route. A 4.5 was key for the OW on P2. As noted, lots and lots of loose rock as you exit the chimney on climber's right, use caution. Two double rope raps (60m) down the North Face just barely brought us to the ground.
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Apr 16, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

North Chimney has been getting a lot of traffic lately. Much of the loose stuff mentioned is either easily avoidable or gone altogether. My partner and I did it in four pitches, however it can be done in 3. Also, I took a single rack with doubles of .75 to 3 and ran out of "good" gear about 20 feet before the crux on the first pitch. Next time I will take triples of 2's and 3's. No need to make an anchor at the 2nd belay as there is a hex, bong, (maybe a tri-cam) and a nut all fixed. Two seventies gets you to the ground in two raps with extra rope to spare off the North Face.
By denise 911
From: fort collins, co
Mar 30, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

nice day - bit chilly at the belay stations. We passed the trail to the north face of the tower twice - at the first fork take the right towards the tower (left goes towards the rectory). Watch for a small branch that goes straight uphill to the left towards the base of the north face. If you miss it you end up around the south side at Kor Ingalls. Nice big boulders to scramble over to get to base.
Overall very fun route
By Jason Hundhausen
From: Bozeman, MT
Apr 21, 2008

I agree with Kay, take triples up to #3 camalot for the first pitch. Having something bigger than a #4 (all we took!) for the crux of the 2nd pitch would have made things a lot less tenuous. And to the party who found the Spirit biner my partner dropped while cleaning the first pitch: THANK YOU for leaving it on my pack. You rock!
By Andrew Carson
From: Wilson, WY
Jun 1, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

There is now a 'modern' double-bolt anchor at the top of the first pitch, set up for rapping. We did this route 5/30/08 and were the only party on the tower. That's gotta be rare in this day and age. One logical belay for the top of the second pitch has a 2" bong on the left and a welded angle of some kind to the right. Just one choice. Still, I backed up the angle as I led by. We broke up the pitches a little differently than others because of gear availability. Loose stuff on the route was mostly gone. Gravity never rests.
By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Sep 23, 2008

The first pitch is worth 4+ stars, the rest of the route is just to get you to the top. Since you can rap the N face with a single 70m and lower off the first pitch, if I remember correctly with a 70m also, do another route, rap and do the first pitch. I've done the N Face and the first pitch of the N Chimney in the middle of August and it was not too bad, of course we were hiking down by about 1 pm.
By David Shiembob
From: slc, ut
Sep 26, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A great route, definitely physical for 5.8. In contrast to the above poster's comment, our 70m rope came up a good 8 feet short on the first rappel on the N Face.
By luca moz
From: italy
Oct 18, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

I did the route this summer and found it a good 5.8 with a 5.9 move at the top of pitch one and another at the of with the scary bolt on pitch 2. I had a camalot n 4 and i was unable to back up the bolt: need number 5. I thought it was much easier and more sustained than Kor-Ingalls, and also much much better.
I'd give this route a good 5.9 rating and kor-ingalls a sandbag 5.9...
By Mike
From: Phoenix
May 16, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This is lots of fun and of course has one of the best summits around. 5.8+ or 5.9-? I could go with either. Is there really a difference?

Agreed that this is an easier lead that Kor Ingalls, and much better quality also. Then again, I thought The North Face was an easier lead than the Kor Ingalls.
By jmeizis
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 15, 2009
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13

I climbed both the North Chimney and K-I on the same day back in April. The climbs are honestly like twins both formed from the same crack running through the entire formation it seems. K-I gets sun most of the day and was fairly sustained but I never felt like the moves got past 5.8. The questionable bolts on the infamous crux pitch had other gear nearby and were therefore not as scary as I thought they would be.

North Chimney on the other hand didn't feel very sustained but the cruxes were pretty in my face. It was also cold and windy on that side of the formation, probably better to climb it on a hot day. I also never felt any of the moves got above 5.8 although it was a little strenuous and awkward at the beginning of each pitch. I lead the second pitch since I got the classic pitch on K-I and that spinning sheet metal hanger with not other gear in made me nervous. I might have gotten a little tunnel vision because I didn't see any other gear for a while and was practically pissing my pants.

All in all I'd say both climbs are in the 5.8+/5.9- area. The crux of K-I is more technical I felt and was two moves that I could say felt 5.9. The North Chimney was just thuggery and the moves were mostly difficult in that I had to squeeze my little ass up there with my knees by my ears half the time. K-I is higher quality in some ways but much more crowded. Although when I climbed it we actually ended up waiting for two parties on the North Chimney and we only had to wait for one on K-I.
By Dan L
From: ZION
Sep 18, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Amazing climb, well worth the effort. Go Right at the top of 3rd pitch, and finish with some stemming.
By russellHOBART
From: Davidson, NC
Nov 10, 2009

I found a set of fat hexes a great help. Whatever the rating (5.8 or 5.9), it felt like a 'serious' climb. The next day we did Stolen Chimney on Ancient Art and despite the harder rating it was a much more comfortable climb.
By Umph!
Mar 16, 2010

Good stuff, and great views toward the Fishers. A little chossy/sketchy for the 3rd pitch step-across and finish. 1st pitch great, 2nd pitch really good.
3 stars.
Sustained 5.14c VS R X + PG13!
By Catherine Conner
From: Phoenix, AZ
May 6, 2010

Did this route with Steve and Brenda-great day-excitement all the way from the approach through to the raps in high winds, to the final hike back down and out. This was my first desert tower in Utah-tower climbing is a little spooky IMO-if you wanted to bring a #5 cam-it would get used by the freaky star bolt on p2 that you can look all the way to the back of the hole it's in-wow-thankfully Steve lead this pitch. I thought p2 was the crux-hope to learn how to climb off-width-felt pretty clueless. I liked this whole route and hope to do it again (I thought it seemed like 5.9 sections on 1 and 2).
By nick.laws
May 25, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I agree that a Camalot #5 is very nice to have on this route, especially if you have never climbed offwidth routes before. It came in handy in two or three places (depending if you traverse in to the chimney on the last pitch).

I also brought a couple #4's, which I believe were both used on P2.

And I had a standard rack of nuts but didn't use a single one because I took a triple set of cams from .5 to #3, plus a few small ones.
By cshuey77
From: Asheviile,nc
May 27, 2010
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

classic first pitch!! bag the rest of it.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Oct 14, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

We exited left at the top of the third pitch following our otherwise reliable friends who were climbing ahead of us. Apparently their guidebooks says to go left despite it being obvious to go straight up. Going left pretty much sucked although it was airy. You have to belay out on the edge due to rope drag. Getting back to the Kor Ingalls involves angling left across a scary big rocking block to a belly crawl. To get to the top in one pitch involves major rope drag.
By Travis Hibbard
Oct 18, 2010

Climbed this route last Thursday with my wife, very fun!

Rack: doubles to #1 C4, triples 2/3 C4, 1 #4, 1#5. The triples felt adequate on the first pitch as I placed a few more 3's towards the bottom and the majority of the 2's near the end of the pitch. Used the #5 C4 at the bolt on the 2nd pitch and the 4 later in the 2nd pitch.

The Climb: Excellent first pitch! After multiple days at the creek this pitch felt much easier than what I was expecting, I agree with the statement that there are multiple 5.8 moves but with really good rests, just keep your eyes out for feet and be creative. Crux wasn't bad at all, really good gear just keep getting your feet up. Belay at bolts 5.8

2nd pitch wide from the get go and with a manky bolt to boot! I wouldn't trust that thing, just have your 2nd haul the 5 for the rest of the route and feel confident in the fact that you don't need to use this thing. Overall the wide moves weren't bad just trust your feet and it'll be over before you know it. This pitch varied several times for me and I actually felt like this pitch was harder than the first. I don't know if that was from the fact that i'd been climbing in the creek for the week so the first pitch was easy or the fact that this pitch was more mentally taxing because I felt like I was going to die from a chockstone at any second! At the very end of the chimney climb to the right under the massive chockstone and build a belay on a small ledge. Belay for me took a 1, .5 and blue tcu. Careful to not knock rocks off the ledge. 5.8+

3rd pitch was the forgettable one of the climb which we linked into the last for a great final pitch. The north chimney pitch ascends the corner under a big chockstone to a ledge where it joins with the KI. The last pitch of the KI gives you great flake face climbing up over some exposure to the bolted belay just below the top. Really a fun way to finish the route after climbing up the forgettable 3rd pitch. Definitely combine 3 & 4.

Spent some time on the summit and then did 3 double 60M rope raps down the North Face to the bags.

Overall a great way to summit castleton and in my opinion more than the first pitch is worth the trip I can honestly say i've never climbed anything like the 2nd pitch, go to the summit!
By jacktheburro
From: Denver
Oct 19, 2010

I lost or left a pair of Miuras at the base of the North Chimney this past weekend. Didn't realize it until Sunday morning, after we'd been up there Saturday. If anybody happened to pick them up, I'd really, REALLY love to get them back. Please drop me a line if you can help.

-John
720-394-6905
By JacobD
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 14, 2011

Found a cam about halfway up pitch 3, looks like it was part of something someone bailed off of. If you tell me the make and model and the gear marking I'd be happy to get it back to you.
By Kurt Prond
From: Bozeman, MT
Jun 20, 2011

Definitely bring a #6 for the offwidth. The "bolt" is an old star drive that sticks halfway out with a hanger that appears to made out of tinfoil. I used it, but wished I had brought the #6.

Also, do not try to rap the North Face with a 70m!!! Even though it is published in the "Best of Moab" guidebook. A 70m leaves you 10 feet short!
By eDixon
From: Durango, Colorado
Jun 21, 2011

The bolt on the offwidth is definitely junk, not confidence inspiring, but the wideness is short. Obviously possible to do without the big cam, but it might be comforting if unsure. As far as the descent, rapping the North Face is the way to go. Use double ropes, as a single 70m comes up a little short. IMO this is the best easy route up Castleton...better than the Kor-Ingals.
By Mr. Stevens
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2011

Climbed North Chimney this past weekend. The bolt on the 2nd pitch is ready to pop out and can't hold much more than body weight. You definitely want a #5 or even a #6 cam to supplement the bolt. A #4 does fit but not until you are well above the bolt. There's good face climbing to the left of the off-width. Felt about 5.10 or so. It's a good option if off-width isn't your thing.
By Nathan Scherneck
From: Portland, OR
Oct 26, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

As suggested, a BD #5 (or #4.5) can be placed to backup the bolt, but I think a #6 would be a better fit. I'm 6'2" and I placed a #5, at my full reach, before committing to the OW moves and I thought it was a bit undercammed.
By Mike Estenson
Nov 11, 2011

The weather, route selection, and just difficulty kept us from finishing the North Chimney today. We were shivering belaying and then the first pitch beat us up. Time to come back on a warmer day or choose the south facing Kor-Ingals. If you are coming down anytime soon, bring some down and be sharp. Have fun.
By Nolan Robertson
Apr 11, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fun climb, first tower lead, The crux on p2 was scary, protected by a bolt that creaks under the weight of a quickdraw. i feel as though it would not take a fall at all. A #6 camalot would work there, i recommend that because the fall would land you on a ledge without good pro.

2 sets of cams to handsize, with and extra handsize, a #3 and #4 camalot worked great, would have traded my #4 camalot for a #5 friend though, brought nuts, didnt use them.

linked p3 and p4, didnt need gear till you're heading for the top anchors.

As for rapping, I used the north face, with 1 70m rope, took 4 raps to get to the ground. the last rap didnt touch when we dropped the rope, but with weight on it(165lbs) the rope stretched enough to put us on the ground.
By Cara Dakini
Apr 23, 2012

Lost a sentimental gold emerald stud earring on this route three days ago.... It was worth it, but if you happen to find it I'd appreciate an e-mail.


cara.h.dolan@gmail.com
By knowbuddy
Apr 23, 2012

Did this route yesterday and didn't find the emerald earring sorry :( I feel fairly confident on desert climbs and towers and I was stoked to have a #4 at the crux. Next time ill just take a #5 no #4 and not clip the star drive, its worthless anyway. It's a really fun route and the easiest tower route I've done beside the south six shooter but way better climbing than the six. I've never seen so many stuck pieces on a route. A nut, tricam, rope, and at least three maybe four cams. Not to mention the three cigarette butts and a half filled plastic water bottle. Pieces I understand but please clean up after yourself and respect the area. Its becoming more and more of a zoo and the animals need to learn to be their own keepers. People go out there for the beauty and leaving trash is a blatent slap in the face and act of disrespect to all future climbers. That being said; super fun route and I'll definitely do it again. And it's not 5.8

Edit: Take a #6 and leave the five at home
By Toby Butterfield
From: Portland, OR
May 4, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Agreed that this is considerably harder than 5.8 by my usual standards. Just be advised that towers have their own standards of grading! Beautiful route. #5 Camalot was perfect for getting through the offwidth--there are some footholds inside the offwidth you can use to get the thing set, and then use it as a point of aid to get into a nice secure position if you're a punter like me.
By Topher M.
From: moab, ut
May 21, 2012

Climbed the N. Chimney again yesterday to catch the solar eclipse from the top. I got to the base to find a single party of EIGHT climbers on the route! WTF? They hogged the route for the entire day AND were hauling three bags/packs up the chimney! Seriously dumb, rude and dangerous given the number of loose blocks up there. They were also top-roping people up then throwing ropes down for the next climbers. This is a classic desert tower route, not some top-rope crag! That was total bullshit! Get a clue, and have some respect for the resource and other climbers.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Jun 16, 2012

I spent a full season right next to North Chimney and saw most parties show up without the #5. They then complained, as they should, when they got to to "the move". I even saw one group that brought the #5 to the base, but then decided not to take it on the route.

Just carry the big cam, people.

The rating is "old school" 5.8. I'd call it 10- now.

And one more time, the discussion of replacing the bolt is not about safety. With the cam you have safety. Its about convenience. Its more convenient to clip a bolt than place a cam, so people want the bolt. I again say that the bolt is not necessary and FA did not have it. He also didn't have any cams and lacked sticky rubber.

So carry the cam and ignore the bolt. The really bad bolt. In my opinion, if you find 10- desert pretty hard, your rack should be a double set of cams with a couple extra wide hands pieces and maybe cut down on the finger pieces, four slings with biners, and perhaps a small set of nuts. One number five will work...
By Chris Anderson
From: Lake Stevens, WA
Aug 29, 2012

I have only climbed this once, but after spending my first year in Moab learning trad for the first time and drooling at this route, then returning my second year to climb it I have heard many things.

Bottom line..BRING THE NUMBER 6 CAMALOT!!!
it is a life saver, you only need one but it protects the off-width at the beginning of the second pitch and protects is well.
By ben jammin
From: Moab, UT
Aug 29, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

.... or a 5, your choice. Can be done in 3 pitches with good rope management on the 2nd pitch.

Oh, and if the FA party didn't have the bolt why is it there again?
By Alex Quitiquit
From: Salt Lake City
Sep 4, 2012
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Amazing. First pitch is the best, varied 5.8 dual cracks, can be climbed with a single set of cams to 3, just walk the #3. Pitch two and the off width funkness, clipped the bolt with a screamer for kicks O.O and placed the #5. Quite mellow if you just commit to the wideness. P 3 and 4 can be made hard or easy 5.7 just be smart. The final pitch shared with kor ingalls is sporty and a great finish. Could've done in 1.5 hrs pack to pack if the party in front of us didn't zipper every pitch and announce every move while cursing the bolt for half an hour.... I think people should be a competent 5.9 climber before they try this route because turning an hour or so climb into a grade III seems off. Be courteous and let quick parties pass. Sorry but my honest opinion.
By Greg D
From: Here
Sep 5, 2012

I'm with Sam. Leave the bolt alone. The wide protects well with a big piece. I placed an old number 4 and clipped the bolt for nostalgia. Let's keep a little adventure out there.
By Matt Pesce
From: moab, ut.
Oct 2, 2012

Sam is right...bolt is unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst, especially with the common availability of #5 and #6 (I place them both). All you Really need for this route is 1 set thru #5, 5 or 6 long runners, short cordelette and maybe doubles in the hand sizes.
By Mark P Thomas
From: Oakland
May 4, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great climb, although I think this climb had me more afraid of injury or death from loose blocks than Kor-Ingalls. P2 beyond the OW seemed the worst with loose death blocks. P3 was fine in that regard. OW is fun and climbs much differently than the one on Kor-Ingalls.

Regarding pro for the OW, I brought a #5 & #4 C4 Camalot. A #4 isn't that necessary if you brought a #5, but I would have preferred a #6. Seriously, while you can get by with a smaller large cam, if you have a #6 you will be happier to have that along, as otherwise you have to climb about half of the offwidth (and toughest part IMO) before you can get the #5 in as your first real piece of gear on the pitch. OW isn't that tricky as long as you aren't afraid of slipping on the calcite.
By Dodrill
From: Sebastopol, CA
May 8, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Climbed N. Chimney on Sunday afternoon May 5th. While stemming the 2nd pitch the WHOLE tower started creaking and groaning. Terrifying! Hope it doesn't fall over any time soon. Great route though.
By James Garrett
Aug 9, 2013

Climbed it with my wife Franziska a few days ago and had the typical grand desert adventure. Our choosing August is another story, but I fondly recalled the first time I climbed the route with Bobby Rotert in the early 80's and how he seemed to just fly up all that wideness without anything bigger than an old #4 Friend!

For all you Booty Hunters out there, we got a #6 (Quality booty!!!) stuck right next to the Bolt. Franziska worked it for quite some time and said it did some walking. I was way up there, wasn't motivated to descend to check it out and give it a go, so I never saw it...but she is pretty good at gear removal. For the motivated "Heat Of The Summer" Desert climbers out there, I am quite sure the next party up will be pretty stoked at the find!
Good luck, have fun, be kind, and take a lot of water....it is a pretty new BD #6! I hope it brings you many good OW sends and protects you well!
By Rich C
Nov 12, 2013

despite previous comments and beta on the web, if you do the NC with a single 60m rope you can rappel Kor Ingalls without a problem. Also I feel like a #5 protecting the OW crux is a good idea if you are not a crack climber.
By Jason James
From: Orem, UT
Mar 4, 2014

Would a Friend #5 work for the offwidth on P2? Not exactly sure how the sizing compares, I just know its between a BD #4 and #5.
please and thank you.
By Nathan Burns
From: Dahlonega, GA
Mar 27, 2014

Would an old school camalot 4 work for the p2 crux?
By Kyle Williams 1
From: mowwab
Apr 4, 2014

5 friend, yes but kinda tipped. 4 old school (u stem?) bd not going to work out.
By Justin S
Apr 18, 2014

Just to reiterate what others have said, bring a #6 BD if you got it. You only need one large cam. I'm really glad we had the 6 and NOT the 5.
By Michael keller
Apr 25, 2014

I am heading to attempt the North Chimney route next week and am looking for more information. What I am really trying to find is if there are set anchors at the top of each pitch or if you have to set an anchor. I also want to make sure I have enough gear. It my fist attempt and am not sure what is need and what is not necessary. This is the Gear I have, BD cam #1-6, TCU #00 - 1, full set of nuts, set of Hex nuts #4-10. I have doubles of BD #1-3. Slings and draws of course. Any addition info. or advice would be much appreciated.