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Psycho Tower
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Nameless Face S 
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Psycho-Path 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 180', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Steve Johnson, Charlie Fowler, Kevin Dunkak, 1996
Page Views: 6,994
Submitted By: John Peterson on Sep 8, 2009

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Psycho Tower.

Description 

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.

Location 

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.

Protection 

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.


Photos of Psycho-Path Slideshow Add Photo
Jim getting silly on the epic traverse.
Jim getting silly on the epic traverse.
One last look and then it was time for beers.
One last look and then it was time for beers.
Looking down "Nameless Face", which if u...
Looking down "Nameless Face", which if u...
Rapping down.  P2 starts on the right and wraps be...
Rapping down. P2 starts on the right and wraps be...
The crux.  This picture doesn't come close to port...
The crux. This picture doesn't come close to port...
Beta!
Beta!
Dolores River from the summit.
Dolores River from the summit.
Summit.
Summit.
Getting off before the storm.
Getting off before the storm.
Just a little bit further.
Just a little bit further.
Psycho Tower. The exciting traverse pitch over the...
Psycho Tower. The exciting traverse pitch over the...
First pitch.  We belayed at the rap anchor instead...
First pitch. We belayed at the rap anchor instead...
John Sasso rapping off summit. Photo by: Thomas Ha...
John Sasso rapping off summit. Photo by: Thomas Ha...
Mel follows P1.
Mel follows P1.
Mike about to start the last pitch 3-2009.
Mike about to start the last pitch 3-2009.
Hanging Chad on the first pitch.
Hanging Chad on the first pitch.
A couple of bolts up on pitch 3.
A couple of bolts up on pitch 3.
Mike Clinton starting the overhang pitch on Psycho...
Mike Clinton starting the overhang pitch on Psycho...

Comments on Psycho-Path Add Comment
Show which comments
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.
By PTZ
From: Chicago/Colorado
Sep 14, 2010

Not your average desert tower. Good, little outing.
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Jun 13, 2011
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

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
From: Ridgway,CO
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
Administrator
From: Los Alamos, NM
Feb 23, 2012
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

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.

By Stevie Johnson
Nov 12, 2013

The second pitch of the original Pyscho-Path (inspired by Talking Heads song Psycho Killer) was protected with a well-hammered large bong and our only big, horizontal Friend among other tricks.

Some traverse bolts were later added, lowering the rated difficulty on the second pitch.

My hand-drilled 3/8ths x 3" anchor below the summit pitch could use replacement if not already updated.

I strongly recommend leader and second carry 2 prussiks each. Never heard they were needed, but neither Charlie nor I wanted to be stuck flailing 'round in that psycho-space.

Steve Johnson
Telluride, CO