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Uh, what's a tower?
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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 30, 2006
...
To start off, this is a Colorado Plateau discussion. Who cares about towers anywhere else!? So for good arguments sake, and due to the fact that multiple parties have argued this topic in front of me in the last months. I pose the question, what constitutes a tower?

Some jumping off points (things that I have heard and agree with):

1- If you can piss over it, it is not a tower.
2- If it is wider than it is tall, it is not a tower.
3-
4-

There were more than two, but I have forgotten them.
For us inadequate persons who are tower counters, this shite matters, so help a brutha out. I need to make sure my tower list is legitimate! What a bunch of wankers we are...

For the record, my favorite type of climbing? Towers on the Colorado Plateau.

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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Nov 30, 2006
Future Goal
I have absolutely no authority on the subject whatsoever since I haven't climbed a tower... however I contend one of the qualifying characteristics of a tower is that the top can only be reached by 5th class or aid climbing. Or perhaps a helicopter or some other sort of aircraft, but that's poor style.

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By Buff Johnson
Dec 1, 2006
smiley face
A structure that takes advantage of its height, alone or as a part of a larger structure. What make a natural structure a tower? I would just go with taller than wider. Everything else seems subjective.

-- other things considered, this is comparable to some arguments as to what makes a 14'er a 14'er -- saddle hopping peak-baggers, go back down to the trailhead and climb the next friggin hill using an independent route.

#3 - Anything Dr. Jonathan Hemlock has climbed or would climb in the desert.

#4 - If yes on #1 to #3; Anything that scares the piss out of 2 members of a 3 party DLFA team.

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By Tea
Dec 1, 2006
just Jong it!
Free standing...or how about, if you have to ask if it's a tower...it's probably not.

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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Dec 1, 2006
Just a teaser
so then what would you call The Rectory? is it a tower or a butte? I'm leaning more towards a butte.

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By Buff Johnson
Dec 1, 2006
smiley face
And, is Castle Rock really a castle?

Possibly -- a structure that dominates the country-side.


What makes a structure a structure?

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By Tea
Dec 1, 2006
just Jong it!
Ok...here are some special cases to ponder.

Bottleneck Peak, the swell....Tower or Butte?

Candelstick Tower, Canyonlands.....Tower or Butte?

Devils Tower...Tower or Butte?

Hope that lists of "towers" is in pencil JG :-)

Dirty Virgins? I am gonna say Butte......sorry.

When I think tower, I think pinnacle.

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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 1, 2006
...
What is a pinnacle then? How do you define it?

What about a tower or pinnacle that is leaning against a butte? Tower? or just a part of the greater Butte area?

See, this stuff is complicated, it is like we are solving some great mystery.

Fisher towers... Is river tower a tower? Does Phantom Sprint climb a tower? , etc., etc. I agree that the Rectory is a Butte. Wider than it is tall.

Dirty Virgin not a tower? Ouch. But it is taller than it is wide!

Back on task... how tall does a tower or pinnacle need to be to be a tower or pinnacle?

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By Tom Hanson
Dec 1, 2006
Climber Drawing
Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?
Why do 7-11's have locks on their doors?
Why do they call them Hari Krishnas when they're all bald?
Why do they call them apartments when they're all together?
Why do they call it rush hour when everyone moves so slow?

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By Tea
Dec 1, 2006
just Jong it!
Back to my original comment.....if you look at it, and it doesn't scream TOWER...probably isn't. Or JG, you can go with my standard descriptor of many CP towers.....turdpile (this is a blanket descriptor for many butte/pile/tower objectives)

leaning against a Butte?...That's a pillar

Tower of Babel in Arches?...that's a butte.

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By Buff Johnson
Dec 1, 2006
smiley face
John J. Glime wrote:
Back on task... how tall does a tower or pinnacle need to be to be a tower or pinnacle?


Tall enough to get yourself killed on.

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By TomKingsbury
Dec 1, 2006
Spring 2005
Nice topic.

What about diminutive summits like Crooked Arrow Spire?


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By Tea
Dec 1, 2006
just Jong it!
Let us Examine example A: "The Virgin".

--- Invalid image id: 105892727 ---

I dunno man...looks like you got it on a technical, going by your taller than fatter equation.

Just busting your balls a little....:-)

X > Y = Tower? If it were me, I would call this or a Hoodoo..or a turdpile. Not ranking on the quality of your route here..like I said that is my catch all descriptor for things in teh desert that have summits, but don't really scream TOWER or butte to me. YMMV.

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By Buff Johnson
Dec 1, 2006
smiley face
Why do they call them flatlanders when the're always up in my hills?

When x > 2y, 80<angle a & b<90 degrees -- both independently, JJG possible KIA, Dr JH goes FA, & DLFA cries to mommy, then tower...

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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 1, 2006
...
Lol...Tea, that is a funny ass diagram... you are working too hard today!

Someone help me here, HOW do you post photos to forum topics?

lets get it on...

By the way, Virgin Roadtrip is a dogpile , no doubt about it. But by definition, does it qualify as tower? This forum topic will hopefully get to the bottom of a long held question amongst desert goers.

James Garrett, we need to hear from you... EEE, how many towers did you climb on that route?

AND... for those that don't know me, this forum discussion is meant in good fun. Climbing is an ego stroke, no different here.

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By Buff Johnson
Dec 1, 2006
smiley face
John J. Glime wrote:
Someone help me here, HOW do you post photos to forum topics?


John, when you reply/post a comment click on the "TEXT FORMATTING FEATURES" link (just below the text input area) for some direction.

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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
Dec 2, 2006
Just curious, I was wondering if anyone knew about those tower-like structures near the entrance into Ute Mountain Park in SW CO? Legal or not? There were some others you could see to the north from there, any info?

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By Brad Brandewie
Dec 7, 2006
Maya's first trip to RMNP.
Oh what a time sink this is...
Here are a few random thoughts on the topic (which come from hours of discussion with partners)

The Rectory is a butte.

Fins can be towers (Tower of Babel, River Tower etc. are towers)

If you can continue climbing... you're not on a tower (Space Tower is not a tower)

All spires are towers

Bullwinkle is the lowest common denominator when it comes to calling things towers.

The Cobra is a tower.

If you can walk/scramble off the top, it's not a tower (the Tombstones in Kane Creek are not towers)

If you can piss over it, it's not a tower. TM

If I call it a tower, it's a tower.
If Ben calls it a tower... you should call me for final approval... he's soft ya know...

Also of note, if you are going for the 100 tower club... you have to submit your list to a committee (all of whom are already in the club) or you don't get your diploma.


Brad... 815 and counting...

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By Ben Kiessel
Dec 7, 2006
2003
Just remember one thing Brad, you started it.
So here we go...
First of all if you have only climbed 50 or less towers in the desert your opinion does not count.
(Brad, the offer still stands if you want me to show you the ropes of desert climbing)
mountainproject.com/v/utah/moa...

Brad, I would have to say that you can't make exceptions like the tower of babel, river tower, and the organ, because you have climbed them and then not count the rectory because you haven't. (I know what your thinking everyone, how can Brad consider himself a desert rat if he hasn't climbed Fine Jade and Crack Wars? Well the answer is easy his climbing ability tops out at 5.8 C2(ouch that hurt didn't it)) the rectory is a small butte.

I agree with the pissing over the tower comment.

How can you call Lost arrow Spire a tower if you don't call space tower a tower? Tower is in the name what more do you want? Maybe you should climb both of them before you spray about how they aren't towers.

I agree that the tombstones are not towers, they are walls without a doubt.

What about Church Rock everyone, there is mandatory 5th class to get to the top but it is way wider then it is tall. Maybe we should call it more of a dune hill then a tower.

I don't understand how Bullwinkle is the lowest common denominator, but then you call the cobra a tower. the cobra is shorter then bullwinkle

As for "the virgin" it appears that Tea did not measured from the shorter left side, which would make this lump of rock not a tower.

As for the "tall enough to kill your self on" to determine how tall it needs to be. I don't agree, I could die hiking up some of the talus cones out there, let alone the towers.

If it's leaning against a butte it's a pillar, but space tower is not really leaning.

here is a good one. on clueless tower this fall we were able to jump from the rim to the summit and then rap the route instead of doing the hike. is that a tower? the notch is about 50 feet down.

The fisher towers are definitely towers.

Although Devils tower is not on the Colorado plateau, it is a good example. I would have to call a butte because it is freakin' huge. it's too fat to be considered a tower.

Sorry Brad, when are we going climbing again?
And no comments about how you have to be 23 or older to have any authority on the subject either.

Ben... 5 towers and counting...

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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 7, 2006
Andrew Gram
I've always figured that a tower is a lot like pornography - i know it when i see it(that, and both get me fired up).

By that measure, I don't think the Rectory or the Convent is a tower, but I do think the Tower of Babel, River Tower, and the Organ are towers. I have hard time thinking of short little hoodoos like the Cobra and Lizard Rock as towers, but then I let them slide after I have a beer and remember that there is no way i will ever get to 100 if I don't take advantage of that sort of gray area.

I don't even worry about stuff not on the Colorado Plateau. If its not sandstone and on the Colorado Plateau, its not a desert tower. Hence I don't really care what Devils Tower is.

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By Tea
Dec 7, 2006
just Jong it!
C'mon guys! the tower of Babel is such a Butte!

Especially with JG's criterium of taller than wider.

And I agree..Bullwinkle is way more of a tower than that sketchy turdpile the cobra.

Basically I revert back to my original post, and to agree with Andrew....

If I have to ask if it's a tower...it probably isn't. Towers just scream TOWER!

On a side note...how many millions of dollars in man hours are lost every year, to pointless internet discussions like this? good stuff.

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By Brad Brandewie
Dec 7, 2006
Maya's first trip to RMNP.
Ahhh Benjamin,

To begin... you can't say that I started it and then provide everyone with a link to the page where you obviously started it.

Next, and most importantly... I climb WAY harder than 5.8, C2. I mean come on... I climb at least 5.9, C2+! What the hell?!?! How do you think I got up all those things? Do you think I'm out there enlisting the help of a young upstart who hasn't yet realized that he's mortal? Wait a minute...

I never claimed to be a desert rat... I think of myself more like a desert jackalope.

Moving on, it was a nice try for 23 years old but facts are facts and you have to be at least 30 before you're opinion on this topic matters. See you in nearly a decade.

Also, the Tower of Babel is at least twice as proud as anything on that knoll in Castle Valley that everyone seems to like so much. Next thing you'll be comparing the Nuns to the Three Sisters in Monument Valley. Sheesh... And another thing... if you're going to establish a standard for desert rat status it should be more telling than whether or not you've climbed Fine Jade.... something more like... oh I don't know... you have to have actually climbed in Monument Basin or something...

As for Lost Arrow Spire... who cares... that thing is granite.

The Cobra counts because of it's complex proportionality aspects. It's all very technical but I would be happy to discuss it with you when you finish calculus.

On a more personal note... I understand it's painful but you're going to have to let go of some of those things you've fixed in your mind as towers. It's like a breakup that you know is coming... better to do it now... I'll help you get started... you can remove the following from your list and save yourself the embarrassment of being rebuked by the committee...

Space Tower
The Nuns
Clueless Tower
Fear
Church Rock
Pensive Putterman
The King's Hand
The Rectory
The Black Box Boulder
and anything else that I haven't climbed.

Brad
816 and counting... (shit... look there, I just got another one sitting at my desk)


PS. Maybe it's just me, but when I'm at the base of the Tower of Babel that thing IS screamng TOWER!

Fins are not buttes.

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By btraxler
From Prescott, AZ
Dec 7, 2006
butte - An isolated, generally flat-topped hill or mountain with relatively steep slopes and talus or precipitous cliffs and characterized by summit width that is less than the height of bounding escarpments, commonly topped by a caprock of resistant material and representing an erosion remnant carved from flat-lying rocks. Compare - mesa, plateau, cuesta. HP & GG

I found this in the "Glossary of Geologic and Landform Terms" online. No mention anywhere in the Glossary about the term Tower. I think that tower might be a common term? So, if you think its a tower than tick it off the list o summits! I do think someone should come up with a proper definition. Maybe 1. Taller than it is wide 2. On the Colorado Plateau. 3. Summit Unobtainable other than by 5th class assault!! 4. Sandstone 5. Flat top 6. Fits the description.......What the @#$% just go climb some shit!

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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 7, 2006
...
T,
This is obviously much taller than it is wide (okay, by errr... 15 feet) I went back this weekend, just to take this picture to prove to you that dammit, it may be a skanky bitch of a tower, but tower it is! (okay, i took this picture awhile back.)

Looking north across the interstate.  Virgin Roadtrip is on the other side of the tower in the picture.
Looking north across the interstate. Virgin Roadtrip is on the other side of the tower in the picture.

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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 7, 2006
...
What am I? I think I am a tower, but a bunch of computer hacks want to call me a pillar... a pillar! Can you believe it?

damn tower?
damn tower?

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By John J. Glime
From Salt Lake City, UT
Dec 7, 2006
...
I still want to know what those nubbin things are on EEE...
that little titan thing looks pretty wimpy eh?
EEE in profile
EEE in profile

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