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Glen Canyon
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The Middle Finger Tower 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a A3-

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 2 pitches, 170', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a A3- [details]
FA: Bill Duncan, Steve Anderton
New Route: Yes
Season: spring or fall
Page Views: 1,751
Submitted By: Bill Duncan on Aug 24, 2006

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Chip Wilson starting the second pitch

Description 

The route starts on the south side of the spire.
The original description:
Climb a short 5.8-9 dihedral to get to the good ledge (the knuckle). The route follows the obvious weakness above, which is a crack that start on top of a large square block and zig-zags up. Use some bird beaks, and thin to medium pins or clean aid to get to the shoulder. A couple of beaks in drilled holes get you close to the summit.

Newer/better description courtesy of Crusher (thanks!):
1. Climb crack in a dihedral, 5.8, to a small ledge, then a couple aid moves to a ledge/shoulder. Belay in rubble field, from pins and a single bolt (30', 5.8, A1).
2. Mantel onto block, then gain a left-angling crack that starts 15 feet above the bolt (tricky). There were no existing pin scars in this crack. Work up and left to 10-foot dihedral. Up this to rubbly shoulder. Build complex belay (might be safer, but less comfy, to belay from bomber cams in the dihedral below) (50', A3-).
3. Up to small roof, then short steep thin crack to mantel onto loose ledge. Angle left and up, past two drilled holes (pins in horizontals bypass the scary-looking holes), to free moves onto the summit (30', A2. 5.7).
Great summit. Lying on one's belly and peering over the northwest edge of the summit is highly recommended.

Location 

This tower is located about 10 miles down the road to the Maze District of the Canyonlands NP. Turn north about a mile west of the bridge over Lake Powell, near Hite Marina, and follow the dirt road around Rock Canyon. The tower will be a couple of hundred yards from the road to the south, you can't miss it. The photo was taken from the road.

Protection 

Small desert rack with a few bird beaks and a couple of knifeblades or short-thins will do the trick.


Photos of The Middle Finger Tower Slideshow Add Photo
The Middle Finger Spire
The Middle Finger Spire
The Middle Finger from the north.
The Middle Finger from the north.
Chip Wilson on pitch 2, about to fix ropes and retreat
Chip Wilson on pitch 2, about to fix ropes and ret...

Comments on The Middle Finger Tower Add Comment
Show which comments
By -mn
May 10, 2007

Bill - Was the bolt to the right of the "large square block" placed on the first ascent???
By Bill Duncan
From: Jamestown, CO
Nov 6, 2007

The only fixed gear that we might have left were the rap anchors on the summit. I think they were drilled pins. This was in '92, so it's a bit fuzzy now. Back then we only placed drilled pins, not bolts, so that thing must be a retro.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
May 1, 2008

Climbed this last fall. Nice route, up a bizarre feature. Part of the second pitch may have fallen down since the first ascent. The bolt is perhaps a retreat bolt? Or a belay bolt, as the existing gear at this stance is not the best. Interesting rock; hard and very brittle, like old china.
Here's what we found: Start in dihedral on southwest corner.
1. Climb crack in a dihedral, 5.8, to a small ledge, then a couple aid moves to a ledge/shoulder. Belay in rubble field, from pins and a single bolt (30', 5.8, A1).
2. Mantel onto block, then gain a left-angling crack that starts 15 feet above the bolt (tricky). There were no existing pin scars in this crack. Work up and left to 10-foot dihedral. Up this to rubbly shoulder. Build complex belay (might be safer, but less comfy, to belay from bomber cams in the dihedral below) (50', A3-).
3. Up to small roof, then short steep thin crack to mantel onto loose ledge. Angle left and up, past two drilled holes (pins in horizontals bypass the scary-looking holes), to free moves onto the summit (30', A2. 5.7).
Great summit. Lying on one's belly and peering over the northwest edge of the summit is highly recommended.

Gear: 4 Toucans, 4 Knifeblades, 6 Lost Arrows, 3 Baby Angles, 2 Standard Angles, 3 Leeper z-pins, 2 sets of cams from tiny to 3.5 inch. 1 #4 Friend, 1 #4 Camalot. Selection of nuts.
By -mn
Mar 25, 2010

Not so heavy on the iron. I only wacked in three pins - toucan, thick kb and a la. Hand placed small angles for the finish were handy - and a bathook. Would probably go clean but you'd be lookin' at a ledge fall if you blew it. Tricky climbing, great location.