BETA PHOTO: Ben Kiessel and Walker Mackey on pitch two of Deat...
The Organ is the twin-towered butte that looms above the parking lot at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint. Standing roughly 500 ft tall this formation is impressive from any vantage, perhaps most so when it first comes into view on the park road.
For all it’s splendor though, the Organ sees relatively few ascents compared to its Courthouse Towers neighbors. This is due in no small part to the serious nature of climbing on the Organ. Soft rock and spooky free climbing are to be expected on every route.
The climbing history here is interesting in that each tower has two routes and all four of these routes were put up in a two year period by only 5 climbers.
Pete Gallagher and Steve Sommers nabbed the FA of the southwest tower in the Spring of ’86 with Death by Hands. The following month, Duane Raleigh put up Dune solo.
Then in the Fall, Pete went back with John Catto and they climbed Gates of Hell for the FA of the northeast tower. The following year, Jim Beyer soloed the Northeast Buttress.
Since then the only new routing that has been done on the Organ was by Stevie Haston and Laurence Gouault who pioneered a free variation to Death by Hands called Thelma and Louise in ’94.
Park at the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Organ:
This route offers a little bit of everything that makes Arches climbing great. You’ve got your poorly protected slab climbing right off the ground… there’s the thin aid in soft rock above a hard ledge… some chimneying and offwidth of course… a beautiful hand crack… some scary face moves… and a good old fashion roped-up crawl.Enjoy.Pitch 1. The first pitch is missing some of the original pitons and thus is somewhat runout and dangerous. Begin with gritty slab climbing up and left across huecos ...[more]Browse More Classics in UT