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Utah has Castleton, Arizona has the Mace, Oregon has Monkey Face, and Colorado has Psycho Tower. This is a fine route on a fine tower - a must do for those who appreciate a good summit.
Although generously bolted, this isn't a sport climb. Trad gear and skills are needed!
Pitch 1: Start from a bolted anchor at the saddle on the north side. Follow two bolts up and step right (big air!!) into a crack / corner. Climb this to a ledge, up a step to another ledge (fixed nut), past the rap anchor on the left up a short corner to yet another ledge up and right.
Pitch 2: Follow bolts to the right. It seems a little airy at the start but you haven't seen anything yet! You arrive at an amazing stance at the left of the huge beak. Three more bolts take you right and up to a large ledge. The topo says "exposed" and Charlie's not kidding. The pucker factor is at max here. Your feet are just inches above the void - a fall would leave you hanging in space. I'd suggest leaving a long sling on the middle bolt to pull up on if you blow the move - lowering out is NOT an option! Just as much air as Rosy Crucifixion except you're even more in space than that. Fortunately this spot isn't long and the bolts are close together. Easily aided by pulling on biners (I should know ...).
This pitch gains little elevation and takes you almost 180 degrees around the tower.
Pitch 3: Follow 4 bolts and a short crack to the top. A few hard moves (9+) but well protected.
Many of the hard moves were height-dependent - shorter climbers found the crux easier but other parts harder.
Start from the "crow's nest" like saddle on the north side of the tower. A double bolt anchor marks the belay stance. A short but exposed section of 4th class leads to the start.
Rap in one 150' or two 75' drops. If you have a single rope, be careful to look for the mid-height anchor as you go up.
The first pitch takes a variety of cams from #3 or 4 down to small ones. A couple of hand-size cams are needed on the last pitch.
Hanging Chad on the first pitch.
Mel follows P1.
The crux. This picture doesn't come close to port...
Dolores River from the summit.
Rapping down. P2 starts on the right and wraps be...
First pitch. We belayed at the rap anchor instead...
Getting off before the storm.
Looking down "Nameless Face", which if used as a f...
John Sasso rapping off summit.
Photo by: Thomas Ha...
One last look and then it was time for beers.
Jim getting silly on the epic traverse.
Mike Clinton starting the overhang pitch on Psycho...
Mike about to start the last pitch 3-2009.
Just a little bit further.
A couple of bolts up on pitch 3.
Psycho Tower. The exciting traverse pitch over the...
|By Allen Hill|
From: FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Sep 9, 2009
I witnessed Czech climbing legends, Peter and Zorka Prachtel free solo this thing. At the time, Peter was 68 and Zorka 60. I regret not telling Charlie about their feat. Check out the topo Peter drew of his traverse of Long's Peak the same summer in my profile.
Sep 14, 2010
Not your average desert tower. Good, little outing.
|By Kevin Sainio|
From: Durango, CO
Jun 13, 2011
Sweet tower. I would have to say that 5.9+ seems a bit steep. If you are a confident 5.9 climber, you shouldn't have a problem. The only problem is you will wish it were longer.
|By Aaron Ihinger|
Oct 15, 2011
This would be a sweet tower climb if your 12 y.o. son and his 14 y.o. buddy didn't steal your truck and drive to Phoenix while you were on it.
|By Alexander Nees|
From: Grand Junction, CO
Nov 6, 2011
Good rock, good bolts, fun climbing, an incredible but well-protected traverse pitch, beautiful views and no people! What else could you want? ...maybe a little more length, but if you do the direct start it feels like a substantial route. Stellar climb all around, and well worth the drive down there just for this one route.
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Feb 23, 2012
This route on Psycho Tower is super fun. Never scary nor difficult but with some wild exposure and great summit. Extremely well-protected too. One doesn't need much of a rack other than ~10 slings/draws. We only used two pieces of gear on the entire route (on pitch 2); a red C3 and a #2 Camalot.
Psycho Tower makes for a great introduction to desert tower climbing.