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Moses
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Primrose Dihedrals T 

Primrose Dihedrals 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

   
Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 600', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Ed Webster, solo, 79 FFA: Webster, Hong 79
Page Views: 23,539
Submitted By: George Bell on Sep 5, 2002

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Jay enjoying a stiff cup o joe early one morning.

Description 

This is a famous and popular route on the sunny south side of Moses. It is possible to bypass the first pitch (at 5.11+ one of the hardest) by means of a devious 5.8 traverse from the notch to the east.

To get to the normal start walk around the right side of the spire. P1: Climb an inverted V slot (5.11+) to a 2 bolt belay at about the level of the notch to the east.

To do the alternate start walk around the left side of the spire, passing the base of Pale Fire to the notch east of Moses.

P1: Climb down a few feet (but not more) and then up onto an exposed ledge which leads around the corner to the west. Follow this ledge to the belay bolts (5.8).

P2: Work up to the left edge of a roof, and fire up a beautiful finger crack to a roof (5.10). Continue up via liebacks and jamming (5.10). Head left before the crack ends to a belay under a roof.

P3: This pitch is very short and actually starts about 10' below the previous belay. If the second traverses left at the correct spot while following the previous pitch, the leader can simply lower the rack down (otherwise, downclimb from the belay). From here, stem and hand traverse left to a thin crack, and climb this (5.10-) for only about 30' to a huge sloping ledge with 3 bolts. This ledge is only a little bit higher than the previous belay. From here the upper section of the route is visible and awe inspiring.

P4: Follow a straight in crack to a pod, then up a right facing dihedral (5.10 hands and then fist) to a 2 bolt belay. This pitch looks tough from below, but a convenient foothold off to the right at one roof makes it easier than one might think.

P5: Continue up a weird 5.9 crack to the base of the ear (large cam may be useful), optional hanging belay here. Lieback or offwidth the ear (5.11+), or aid up using 6 bolts to the right of the corner. After the last bolt you used to have to free climb 15-20' to the top of the ear. The crack here is over 6", but halfway up this section look for a smaller crack inside that offers some protection. [A new bolt in this section has eliminated this sporting runout]

P6: Chimney behind a large flake and head straight up (5.8) to a 2 bolt belay. Alternatively, you can follow 1 or 2 bolts above the belay (5.10 face).

P7: This is the same as the last pitch on the Dunn Route. Face climb past 2 bolts to the top. You can easily combine P6 & P7.

Descent: We rapped the North Face (Pale Fire route). Do a single rope rap from the top, then 3 long double rope raps to the base, with 2 hanging stances. Supposedly you can also rap the aid route left of Primrose, but we couldn't find these anchors.


Protection 

Standard desert rack (including a double set of camming units). Bring RP's for the first (standard) pitch. You may want more finger sized pieces for pitch 2, and a #4 Camalot on pitch 5.



Photos of Primrose Dihedrals Slideshow Add Photo
Creeeeeaaak!
Creeeeeaaak!
Derek Hersey, Primrose, circa 1990
Derek Hersey, Primrose, circa 1990
Gabe Metzger climbs The Ear
Gabe Metzger climbs The Ear
Ed Webster's original topo before he freed the route, showing the original approach.  I've included this for historical interest.
BETA PHOTO: Ed Webster's original topo before he freed the rou...
Bryan, terrified as usual, under a full moon.
Bryan, terrified as usual, under a full moon.
Ari about to send the first Pitch.  He went left (up the inverted A-frame); I went right out to the chalked up edge...both get you to the same slopey move past your 4-4.5 camalot.
BETA PHOTO: Ari about to send the first Pitch. He went left (...
View from the top
View from the top
Funnier for those who know Sam.
Funnier for those who know Sam.
Dave Evans on the Primrose Dihedrals.  Photo; Todd Gordon.
Dave Evans on the Primrose Dihedrals. Photo@SEMIC...
Steven Morris on Primrose Dihedrils
Steven Morris on Primrose Dihedrils
TJ Rocking the no-handed kneebar
TJ Rocking the no-handed kneebar
The Tower
The Tower
Rachel following the Fourth Pitch
Rachel following the Fourth Pitch
Looking down 'The Ear' with new bolts.
Looking down 'The Ear' with new bolts.
Laybacking on The Primrose Dihedral.
Laybacking on The Primrose Dihedral.
Looking back after pitch 3.
Looking back after pitch 3.
Dave Evans on the summit.  Photo;  Todd Gordon
Dave Evans on the summit. Photo; Todd ...
Heading up the Primrose Dihedral.
Heading up the Primrose Dihedral.
 the ear
the ear
Steve Mestdagh on the Primrose. photo: Bob Horan Collection.
Steve Mestdagh on the Primrose. photo: Bob Horan C...
Ian McAlexander on the first few moves of the alternate 5.8 start. <br /> <br />
Ian McAlexander on the first few moves of the alte...
resting on the ear
resting on the ear
Rest halfway up The Ear
Rest halfway up The Ear
Great 4th pitch!
Great 4th pitch!
Looking down on the 2nd pitch finger section. The first pitch belay is the flat ledge in the lower center.
Looking down on the 2nd pitch finger section. The ...
Linking 1st and 2nd pitches
Linking 1st and 2nd pitches
New bolts on The Ear
New bolts on The Ear
Old topo of mine, 1988.
Old topo of mine, 1988.
Rachel on the "Ear" pitch Sept 29th 2013
Rachel on the "Ear" pitch Sept 29th 2013
Comments on Primrose Dihedrals Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 10, 2014
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 5, 2002

I forgot to add, P6 and P7 easily combined even with a 50m rope. Lengthwise, it is conceivable to combine P2 and P3 but this would not be easy due to the descent and going around a corner.

By Frank Stock
Sep 9, 2002

The best tower I have done for climbing-Pitch 4 is as good as it gets.

Concerning the start(s), having done both. The 5.11 is butt hard, with difficult moves protected by a #4 camalot in an up-side-down flare (otherwise, leave the #4 on the ground). The moves are not in character with the rest of the climbing (bouldery and facey), other than being right underneith the route. The 5.8 is interesting, airy, and relatively safe but some may say you didn't climb "Primrose Dihedrals".

Bring stoppers for the pitch leading into the ear. You need a bunch-like the top half of a set of stoppers (big ones).

Concerning the descent, you can rap Pale Fire with a single 60M rope. The second rap is a real rope stretcher and you need to be careful not to let the rope snap up (I think you could still reach it) as you get off the belay. Make sure you have the middle mark dead on. Way better than lugging two ropes up.

George, thanks for putting the topo in there. Cool stuff.

Cheers,Frank

By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Sep 10, 2002

Double ropes are nice for the down-left-up pitch because both climbers are on toprope for the down climb and traverse. A #3 BigBro is nice for the ear after the last bolt (it is also the most solid piece for the pitch). The bolt ladder can easily be aided with slings and the follower can re-aid the pitch so no actual aid gear is necessary. Stellar climb - somewhere near the top of my list.

One more thing, for the first 5.11 pitch you can easily pull on gear to get through the hard move. There was a fixed nut (5/02) and the #4 Camalot in the flare gets you through the moves. Not recommended for the strict ethic-minded folk but if you want to enjoy a lot of great 5.10 crack climbing and get up the tower - pull away.

By Joe Collins
Sep 17, 2002

Though this route is undoubtedly a classic and fully deserving of three stars, I must admit that I was a little disappointed by it. It just wasn't as great a route to me as the, "best route in the desert" hype that I'd heard. I actually enjoyed Fine Jade and Castleton N. Face more. In any case, its definitely a top-10 desert route and probably has one of the easier approaches (not including the 4WD approach) of the desert towers.

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 25, 2002

www.supertopo.com/rockclimbing/route.html?r=demoprim

awesome free topo

By Anonymous Coward
Aug 5, 2003

Pitch 5 (The Ear): best way to protect it is to offwidth it to clip the drilled peg, then slither down and layback it, at which point the peg is out of easy reach. Wish I'd worked this out before taking a hang. Wish my partner had worked it out too, then he wouldn't have left a quickdraw (BD Hotwire/Quicksilver) on the peg!

Pitch 6 is excellent if face-climbed rightwards; fairly safe 5.10 (very photogenic and very exposed) leads to a couple of runout 5.9 slab moves on good rock.

We rapped back down Primrose Dihedrals using twin 60m ropes. The first rap reaches the twin drilled-peg belay. After that, it's all downhill...

Absolutely brilliant.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 16, 2003

I would recommend not even considering the hanging belay partway up pitch 5 as an option. It consists of slings around a suspect chockstone, and would be backed up with cams in hollow flakes.

I would highly recommend rapping Pale Fire (N.Face) with double ropes. All the raps are from new bolted anchors wit beefy chains, plus Pale Fire is an amazing route to stare at for many reasons! The anchors on Primrose are variable quality, and the aid route to the left is not equipped for rappel, according to a note from Jim Beyers in the summit register.

WARNING! Shameless (but helpful) beta:

At the top of the bolt ladder, things are a bit scary (I was expecting this to be the mandatory, and therefore scary 5.10 free-climbing on the route, and it looked quite scary from below), but I was able to place a good green camalot jr (.75 size) higher up in a small crack, while still standing on the last drilled angle (I'm 5'11" tall). Since I was still in aid mode, I had no qualms about yarding on the cam, and it held my 180 pounds just fine.

By Dan Russell
Sep 18, 2003

I'll echo Charles' remarks and suggest skipping that hanging belay. It doesn't even make sense to use it, as the two resulting pitches would be ridiculously short considering their ease.

In the offwidth, I found it an easier lieback than pure offwidth, at least until the top part. You can still reach the bolts if you strain.

I'm also going to recommend the direct start. I gather that a lot of people skip it, and use the 5.8 traverse to reach the route. The direct may be rated .11d, but the hard section consists of about 3 moves only 5 feet above a decent, if wobbly, cam. The rest of the pitch is only 5.8. The pitch is a fun one, and I've heard the traverse is lame. Besides, the direct adds to a sense of aesthetics.

This was easily one of the best desert routes I've done. Every pitch was classic.

Pale Fire is a beauty to behold, isn't it? I did Primrose with the late Ryan Sayers last fall and we also rapped Pale Fire. I swore I'd someday come back and give it a whirl. Especially for the upper half - so clean looking!

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 18, 2003

Yeah, Pale Fire has some of the most amazing splitter cracks in a desert full of them, followed by a true museum, including every vintage of ancient bolt that I've ever seen. It might be worth, if necessary, dogging/aiding the crux (although it would be a shame on such a pretty crack) to get to the 2 pitches of perfect hands, and then all that history and exciting face climbing!

By the way--Primrose is an amazing route too.

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 19, 2003

Dan said:

"I'm also going to recommend the direct start. I gather that a lot of people skip it, and use the 5.8 traverse to reach the route. The direct may be rated .11d, but the hard section consists of about 3 moves only 5 feet above a decent, if wobbly, cam."

Hmmmmmm... recommended, eh? 3 moves of 11d... *only* 5 feet above a wobbly cam... while an easier 5.8 version exists? Excuse the sarcasm, but this "recommendation" is not very convincing... looks more like a sandbag to me. Looking at a 10 or more foot fall onto a wobbly cam while climbing 11+ sounds like pretty serious business. Perhaps the protection isn't as bad or far below as you remember? In any case, there was a fixed nut in the 11+ slot/roof when we climbed this route (via the 5.8 traverse) a few years ago.

By Dan Russell
Sep 20, 2003

I'm not sandbagging it, I'm recommending it. I don't climb any harder than 5.11 in the desert, so it was hard for me, but it felt quite reasonable because it was a short crux. I said the cam was decent, and it was. I hung on it to test and it was fine. It was wobbly because the placement is a bit flared, but not in an "I'm about to pop out" kind of way, more like "I'm shifty but I'll be fine." It was a #4 or #4.5, something like that - they almost always move a bit.

Don't get me wrong, it made me think. But it was reasonable and more importantly, VERY GOOD!

The fixed nut is there (and bomber) but is lower. I'm not sure if it would catch you at the crux, can't remember. I do remember thinking that it would feel to risky without the cam.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 13, 2004

According to a Rock & Ice press release on www.rockandice.com, this route is slated for bolt replacement. I also read somewhere on the web that the bolts on the Titan were replaced in the past month, but I can't find this site any more.

By Mike Munger
From: Boulder, Colorado
Oct 4, 2004

Just did Primrose on 10-03-04 and the ear had been rebolted. There are 5 bolts and two drilled pins now. With the last two bolts above where the old ring pin was the run out has been eliminated. No need to bring any big gear, just draws for the ear. It's sport climbing in the desert. Kind of changes the character of the route, takes the adventure out of it. Now the question is, should this have been changed into a sport pitch and if so then why not just bolt all the cracks in Indian creek if they take gear that's not convenient.

By Kirk Woerner
Oct 5, 2004

Mike,I met the guy who did this in Indian Creek this weekend. He made it seem like he just replaced bad gear (that he pulled pins out with his fingers). Sounds like maybe he did a bit more ??? Sorry to miss you guys out there.

By Mike Munger
From: Boulder, Colorado
Oct 6, 2004

There are also chain anchors with 2 or 3 bolts at most of the belay stations which make it possible to descend the route in three raps from the summit. First rap goes directly to the ledge at the top of The Ear with one rope doubled. Second rap is 155 ft free to the ledge at the end of the traverse pitch. Third rap is 120 ft to the ground. As convienient as this is, it also changes the character of the route by making it a lot less committing.Now it is possible to retreat from anywhere on the route without leaving any gear. Unfortunately, with the addition of more bolts and drilled pins on The Ear, and chain anchors at the belays, almost all of the feeling of adventure and commitment has been eliminated from this route.In my opinion, there was no need for these additions. The old bolts and the ring pin needed to be replaced but adding more fixed gear is not adding to the route, it is taking away from the essence and spirit of the climb.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 6, 2004

I'm kinda curious if Ed Webster originally bolted all the way to the top of the Ear on the FA. His topo (above) would suggest so. I also remember reading a trip report by Gary Clark from a while back where the author described standing on the final pin and feeling an empty hole above. (When I did it I was too busy thrutching around and getting sand in my eyes to notice empty holes, if any). If so, I'm wondering if this truly is a case of retrobolting or not. Either way I'm kinda sad 'cause that was one of the most memorable parts of the route.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 6, 2004

Also, Mike, I was curious if you had climbed the route previously (before any re- or retro-bolting), to compare the locations of the bolts.

By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Oct 8, 2004

I vaguely remember there being a couple empty bolt holes above the last bolt, the one that I said was excessively manky. I don't know if the upper ones were ripped out or where chopped. This route was originally done as an aid climb. I am glad the bolts were replaced, and I have no complaints if someone replaced the ones that had fallen out or were removed after the FA. There was NOT any run out if you had a green big bro as I have mentioned above. The spectacular nature of the climbing should not be dictated by the available protection or you choice not to place it, i.e. no run out with the bolt and no run out without the bolt and either way awesome climbing on a stellar climb. Replacing these bolts is not relative in comparison to bolting Indian Creek cracks. I do not support bolting next to bomber cracks but however also support the ethics used by the FA and their choice of protection. I have not seen any criticism of Mr. Webster on bolting the ear instead of using 2x4s for natural protection. This is only my opinion and my vague memory recollection clouded by trips in the desert.

By Carol Kotchek
From: Louisville, Colorado
Oct 8, 2004

I climbed Primrose last Sunday with Mike Munger. We had done the route 2 years ago when the last piece of fixed protection on the Ear was a piton that was sticking out the rock. We had not brought a big bro to protect the last 15 ft of this pitch and Mike spent much time at that piton summoning the nerve to climb that 15 ft.

We returned this year, armed with a #4 big bro to protect the end of the Ear pitch. Mike was very much excited to challenge himself by freeclimbing the ear while placing the big bro. When we got to the Ear and realized there was a new bolt that eliminated the 15ft runout, I personally had a feeling of disappointment. Granted, I was not leading the pitch, and now, with the new bolt, I would be more likely to try it on lead, but the scariest part of the climb had been eliminated, which eliminated much of the sense of adventure and fear that surrounds this climb.

If you read the description of the climb on Climbing Moab, pitch 5, the Ear, is described as _ you must free climb and it is over 15 feet to the top of the ear. This is a spectacular and run out lead , even when aiding._ Those 2 sentences can now be eliminated from the description. Pitch 5, the Ear, can now be described as; Once you leave the 5. 9 crack, you only need 8 draws, (6 for the bolts and 2 for the anchor) and a purple Camalot to sew up the Ear. If aiding, short people may not be able to reach the Camalot placement from standing on the last bolt, so they may have to climb 3 ft before getting more pro in.

The nature of this climb has been drastically changed from two years ago, when the Ear struck fear in our hearts and finding the rap stations down the opposite side of the tower were part of the adventure. There may have been a bolt ladder when the original ascent party freed this route, but hundreds have done the route without the bolt ladder. I applaud the person who replaced the old bolts that were there with new ones, but I don't agree with the added bolt.

Carol Kotchek

By Anonymous Coward
Nov 8, 2004

Just went for a hike around Zeus and Moses this past Sat. 11/6/04. There were three parties on Primrose and two parties waiting on the ground to start climbing! When I climbed this route three (or was it four?!) years ago we were the only people back there. I can't help but think the tamer nature of the last pitch is what drew these crowds. But maybe that's just my elitist nature making projections. Oh well, glad I did it when I did.

By Anonymous Coward
Nov 8, 2004

Wow, just read somebody bolted the belays a couple belays on this thing! That completely changes the route. What a shame. This wasn't he asca was it? I thought they were a little cooler than that.

By Mike Anderson
From: Dayton, OH
Nov 15, 2004

I was one of those people waiting to climb Primrose that day. I also climbed the route back in 2000. Back then it was possible to rap the primrose route, I know this because that's what I did. So as far as I'm concerned, the new rap anchors aren't really that new. I don't know if another bolt was added to the ear, but I wasn't drawn out of the woodwork because I heard it was all bolted up now, as someone has suggested.

By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 27, 2006

I still think this is the best tower route. I did it a few years ago before the rebolting effort.

A few notes on the pics.
-At the A-frame crux I went left instead of right as the climber in the photo.

-The Ear pitch is one my hardest sends but I did it with left side in. The runout at the top wasn't really that bad but the idea of having to climb on runout terrain on a offwidth pitch was stimulating. I guess that's a non-issue now.

By misterclimberman
Feb 27, 2006

im not entirely sure why people are so bent out of shape about the new bolt. it kind of amazes me that so many comments have been placed about the bolt, and very few about the actual route. if the bolt bothers you that much (and you are very concerned about the integrity) chop it. if you dont feel that strong, just dont clip it. it makes for the same adventure for you and makes the route safer for others.

By Scott McLeod
Mar 6, 2007

Incredible Route!

My Ideas:
-If you can, have the second lower or throw down the big cam after the crux start. you wont need it again and it is a pain to lug up there. we used a new #5 Camalot. BTW- the fixed off-set/stopper is no longer there...
-link the first 2 pitches, pretty straight forward, just bring enough runners (12-15), and if you have two ropes, alternate them appropriately.
-link the 3rd and 4th pitches. The third can be easily navigated by shuffling cams as you go up, thus eliminating drag and setting you up to link with next pitch. Again, use two ropes appropriately.
-consider bringing an extra #3 Camalot for 4th pitch
-link the 5th pitch into the Ear pitch (6th). Bring plenty of med-large stoppers for pitch 5 and again, you will need plenty o' draws
-link the last 2 pitches
-Have a damn good time!

My recommended rack:
Doubles
-blue & yellow TCU
-red and gold Camalalot

Triples
-orange Metolius
-purple and green Camalot
-blue camalot (more if you are not comfortable shuffling on this size)

-one large cam (old #4 camalot, new #5)
-Medium/large stoppers
-off-sets (if you would like for first move)

By toddgordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
Jun 9, 2007

For more info, click: www.joshuatreeclimb.com/Stories/premoses.htm

By Matt Pickren
Nov 13, 2007

This route is easily done in 4 pitches. We did the 5.8 pitch 1, linked 2 and 3. Then linked 4, 5, and 6 (the ear), then the last 2 to the summit. Our 3rd pitch was very long and we used a 70m, a 60 would make it with about 3-8 feet over simulclimbing at bad timing. Also, if you led the 5.11 first pitch and would like to return directly to your gear, or for any other reason would like to rappel Primrose, it is VERY easy and quick. I just did it with double 60s (mandatory). You first rappel from the summit to the top of the ear with a single rope. Then to the top of the 3rd, (the traversing pitch), this is a 58 meter hanging rappel but lands you right at the anchors. Then a 45-50 meter rappel past the 5.11 first pitch to the ground. Very quick and from all nice steel anchors. Enjoy.

By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Nov 24, 2007

This was my second time on top, first was the Dunn route 15 yrs ago. Good news, the torn fixed nut has been replaced with a new small nut on pitch 1. Definitely used all 3 of my #3 camalots on pitch 4 with some leapfrogging.

By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Jan 11, 2008
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

Early spring of 1978, Kim Holebrock, Scott Vischer and I made the first attempt of Primrose. We were stopped above the traverse-to-wild-stacked-flakes and did a storm rappel off the first two bably angles I'd ever placed. To hear that the drilled gear is all bomber is like a dream come true. Has Fred Beckey's route been replaced?

A new route on Moses looked both doable and sunny in the picture on page 44 of Ascent Mountaineering Journal, 1973 (article by Fred Beckey). With little confidence in my VW van, we backpacked in during several days of snowy-cold March weather, bagged the Zeus ladder, and struggled on Moses. Bad weather and a failure-guaranteed bolt stash kept us from getting up the Primrose Dihedrals. Ed Webster had the bolt thing much better organized than we. Lesson Learned! He was also a better climber than us, even as a soloist.

I'd done the NA the previous November in storms and thought I was pretty hot stuff. Later Ed did tell me how excessive my use of pins seemed. In case you didn't know, Ed Webster is a bonafide hardman.

By BenCooper
From: Wyoming
Nov 16, 2008

Climbed it in 5 pitches by linking P2 & P3, P5 & P6, and then went one pitch to the top from the top of the Ear. Make sure you bring some 48" runners for linking 2 & 3. P1 was the 5.8 traverse.

Rack: Triple set of cams, from blue TCU (nothing smaller is needed) to #3 camalot. We brought a #4 camalot, but never placed it; in other words, don't bring any cams larger than a #3 (unless you do the original first pitch). Four #3's would be nice on P4, but not necessary. Definately bring 1 set of medium to large stoppers for P5, they are essential. Two 60m ropes gets you down the North Face rappels.

Amazing climbing! P4 was like a #3 sized version of Incredible Hand Crack. P3 has some scary sounding flakes that are getting ready to peel. P2 seemed quite a bit harder than P4, as it was ring-locks and thin hands (for my hands) with some awkward roof moves.

On a final note: don't scratch your initials into the rock! At nearly every belay, initials were scratched in. We did our best to rub them out. NPS is aware of the problem and will hopefully be removing some of this graffiti soon.

By Adam Baxter
From: Estes Park, CO
Mar 13, 2009

This route is amazing. We climbed this on 3/11/09 and although we did the 5.8 variation 1st pitch, I had a look at the .11+ first pitch after rapping and found no fixed nut to speak of. Judging from the photos it looked as though it should be right around the beginning to middle of the A-frame. Might want to bring some small nuts to make that placement.

By Bill Duncan
From: Jamestown, CO
May 24, 2009

An alternative, very easy descent:
There is a route to the left of Primrose (Ed Webster route?) that has very good anchors every 50m or so. Three-bolt stations. To find it from above, rap the last pitch of Moses, and look for a large chimney, with a ledge inside leading to the south face. Walk all of the way to where the chimney meets the void, stick your head out and look to the right. You will see your first set of rap anchors within reach. Hidden until you poke your head out. Three 50m raps in a straight line gets you to the base. This was painless.

By nooky brown
May 25, 2009

Has that rte been rebolted? because those anchors were all chopped a few years back. If they are back I concur its a very quick and easy rap.

By Mike
From: Phoenix
Jun 14, 2009
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

An amazing route up an big tower in an incredible setting. We did the original (11+) first pitch and the next time will do the traverse instead. The original first pitch IMHO wasn't very fun and is out of character with the rest of the route. The fixed nut was not there as of APR-09.

I had heard that the ASCA had replaced all crappy bolts, but the last bolt on The Ear was very loose and can be easily pulled out by hand.

Moses has one of the coolest summits anywhere.

By morkel
From: Fort Collins, CO
Oct 21, 2009

The first pitch is great, and a great challenge too. There was a fixed wire as of 10-16-09 (somewhat helpful), but with a perfect # 3 Cam. placement just below it. A # 5 Cam. does indeed fit nicely in the A. Be ready with something like a .75 Cam. after this crux. As a warm up, I felt this pitch was less of a boulder problem than the Ear pitch.

The last two bolts of the Ear seem a bit loose, but nowhere near removable by hand.

We rappelled the route, great if no one else is climbing below. About 100 feet to the flat ledge; about 180 feet to the sloping ledge; about 180 feet to the ground. All good anchors.

--Steve

By Monty
From: Golden, CO
Oct 26, 2009

  • ***Single Rope Descent****
From the summit you can make a short rap back down to the shoulder, then rap the North Face (Pale Fire) in 4 raps easily with a 70m rope. Keep in mind if you are only carrying 1 rope you have no option of bailing off the route with out leaving something behind... I think...

By Casey McTaggart
From: boulder, co
Apr 12, 2010

hey all. we climbed this on friday 4/9/10. the last two bolts on the ear are gone- we didn't bring wide gear anticipating the bolts would be there, and they have been pulled or chopped or something. so heads up!
still a fixed wire on p1.

By lukas hill
Apr 12, 2010

If you want to protect the ear now that the last two bolts are gone, I would recommend a #6 BD and a #4 big bro. If you run it out from the last bolt to the next placement it is about 20 feet. You make the call.

By mtoensing
From: Boulder
Apr 26, 2010
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

Just to be clear the 2 top bolts are missing and free moves are required on the ear. I would have wanted 3 #.75 (green) cams and 3 #3 (Blue) cams. There is a drilled pin on the fourth pitch that allows you to run out the first #3 placement for a little bit. Spend time reading the summit register, it is great.

By Kurt Prond
From: Bozeman, MT
May 6, 2010

This is a great route-also the scardest I have been on a climb due to the fact that someone has chopped the top 2 bolts on the crux ear pitch, which forces you to run it out about 15 feet on very difficult offwidth. Whoever did that-shame on you for compromising others safety for the sake of your ego. I took a nice 20 footer there! Managed to muster enough mental strength to try it again and did it. Thank God.
So be prepared!

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
May 7, 2010

Chopped? A year ago they were sliding out by hand. Are you sure that they were chopped?
Or are you even perhaps referring to the retro-bolt that was added (for the sake of ego?)?
Just trying to make sure I understand which bolts are missing and understand how they actually got that way.

By mtoensing
From: Boulder
May 7, 2010
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

Tony, I am not sure which bolt you are talking about when you mentioned the "Retro-bolt" but just to clarify there is the one bolt for the anchor where you can belay for the hanging stance. Past that there are three remaining bolts which get you through the overhang pending you have to aid.

By Kurt Prond
From: Bozeman, MT
May 10, 2010

Yeah, Maybe they slid, but the sleeves are still there in the rock. Right now there's an old piton at the hanging belay(which we just linked pitch 4 and 5) then, if I remember right 4 bolts(one a piton) beyond that. They stop about 20 feet short of the anchors so it's a pretty good runout...but you can place a .5 about 15 feet above your last bolt. Hope that is helpful. I would hope someone wouldn't actually remove bolts, but who knows?

By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Apr 25, 2011

Climbed this 4/22/11. Fixed stopper on pitch 1 still present and quite necessary. The final 2 bolts on the ear are still gone, and a number 4 big bro is just barely TOO BIG to fit in above the last bolt. I would estimate the crack size to be 7 inches here. I liebacked from the last bolt to the belay ledge(5.10), about 20 feet, without placing any pro and it was quite exhilarating, easily a 40 footer if you fell pulling onto the ledge. I had 3 #3 camalots for pitch 4 which seemed adequate with some walking, but I could have used 4 .75 camalots for pitch 2. Nuts on the beggining of the ear pitch were very helpful. Linking pitches 2-3 was fine despite rope drag since pitch 3 is like 20 feet long. Rappelled the route with no problems. 2 short raps from the summit to the top of the ear, then 2 full 60 m raps to get down.

By Badger Mitchell
Oct 19, 2011

Climbed on 10/9 - top two bols missing. Still a fixed stopper on pitch 1. Combined pitches 1 and 2 and 4 and 5. Gear for us: TCU's: 1 purple, 2 blue, 3 yellow; Cams: 4 0.75's, 3 1's, 3 2's, 3 3's, 1 4 (for after crux 1). Ran out the last layback past the missing bolts - a bit scary...and an amazing climb.

By Naomi Galinski
Nov 1, 2011
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

Awesome awesome climb. Did it yesterday (31 Oct). We didn't see a stopper on the first 11d pitch. Very hard start off the ground! We linked p1 and p2. My partner climbed the ear and we brought a 9" cam with us and it protected the offwidth quite well. What an exhilarating summit.

By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Mar 10, 2012
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

Just climbed this today and the missing bolts have been replaced on the ear pitch.

By Jason Killgore
From: boulder, co
Apr 2, 2012

Outstanding climb! Note: both pens in the summit register werent working. Somebody should pack up a new one.

Another note: On P2, I stepped left around the prow after a steep section of .75 camalot. I ended up at the same level as the leftward traverse that starts p3. Bomber crack for anchor (hand size or finger size) and a comfy stance to belay the 2nd up p2 and the leader out p3. No need for double ropes or bumping cams, or sketchy second down climb. This stance was about 20' below a fixed pin and slings. The traversing moves were easy (<5.6) on positive holds and protected well enough. Not sure why one would go higher and deal with the downclimb?

By tsuji
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 22, 2012

Second best climb and desert summit I've been on (still can't beat Lightning Bolt Cracks although this comes super close). I couldn't believe how tall this tower was!

By Alexander Nees
From: Grand Junction, CO
Jun 3, 2012

This climb is amazing. For the whole experience, it's definitely one of the best towers I've done, maybe the best. Castleton's North Face or Fine Jade still win for actual quality of climbing though, I think.

  • **Single Rope Beta***
Every single guidebook and topo tells you to bring 2 60M ropes, but I don't know why, it's completely unnecessary. To reinforce Monty's comment from 2009, you can easily rap Pale Fire in 4 single-rope rappels starting from the shoulder. This is an awesome descent: the hardwear is all good bolts and chains, the line is straight down, and the wall is so steep that it would be almost impossible to snag the rope. This WON'T WORK with a single 60M rope; at least one of the raps is over 100 feet long.
The disadvantage is that you have to reach the shoulder of Moses (top of pitch 7) to do this descent. What if you have to bail before then? Are you screwed? Not really, check it: you can rap from the top of the Ear to the top of Pitch 4 with one rope, then rap to the top of Pitch 3 with one rope, then rap from there to the ground on a single line rappel, all from good bolt & chain anchors. You'd have to go get a tag line from your pack or car or something and jug your rope, then do a double rope rappel back to ground, but you won't get stranded up on the tower if you set off with one 70M rope, no matter what.

By Mark Melvin
Oct 2, 2012

Great route! No fixed stopper but crux at bottom protects fine with very small cam, like red BD micro. Used #5 in slot above crux, then never again. My recommended rack: 1 micro cam, 1-.3 camelot, 2-.4's, 3-.5&.75, 2-1's, 1-2, 3-3's, #5 only for post-crux at bottom. Pitch 3 start not really much of a downclimb. Pitch 4 wide is fairly easy, more of a lieback than wide, use all your #3's, could bring a #4 for second when easy. Pitch 6 only need draws, not hard to pre-clip two draws offwidth, then downclimb and pull lieback. Nice rests there. We rappelled two ropes top to P6, then P3 (too overhung to get to P4), then ground, not recommended because if P6 rappel doesn't pull, it will be hell to retrieve the rope. Might do Pale Fire rappel if did again.

By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Apr 24, 2013

Disagree with Alex's comments and agree with mark's: the rap from top of the ear(5) to top of pitch 4 is too overhung to get there in a single rope rap. You'll end up in space with nowhere to go. Best to just bring that 2nd rope if you are concerned about not getting up it.

By jspitzer
Oct 1, 2013

Climbed this uber classic tower on Sept 29th 2013.

Ton's of beta already above so just an update.

Road Condition: was good and easy driving in my Subaru Outback

Route: All the bolts are in place on the Ear. We linked the 5.9 pitch with the Ear (5.11) to the belay above the Ear. Highly recommend doing this.

Enjoy the amazing setting of this awesome tower!

By B Light
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Mar 10, 2014

Gear List
Full set of nuts (med to large are more important)
Single BD x4's (Red, yellow, blue)
(Qty 1) .3, #4
(Qty 2) .4,.5,#2
(Qty 3) #1
(Qty 4) #3
(Qty 4 or 5) .75
Single 70 m rope.
13 Runners (10 shoulder length, 3 long - Could slim this down to 10-11 slings)

Route Condition
According to the summit register, we were the 2nd party this year. A handful of the bolts could be tightened (by hand) at the belays, ear pitch and rappel stations on Pale Fire (bring a wrench?)

All bolted anchors except top of Second (bomber gear anchor) and below the ear.

Exiting the ear, the gear would be #2 & .75

Rappelling from the shoulder after the summit, might want to bring a cord and new biners to replace the existing gear.