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Tom-Tom Tower Area
Select Route:
Reach Around- Tommy Knocker to Tom-Tom Variation, The T 
Tom-Tom Tower- North Face T 
Tommy Knocker- South Face T 

The Reach Around- Tommy Knocker to Tom-Tom Variation 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Ben Keissel, Bill Grasse & Ian Allison, April 2012
New Route: Yes
Season: Spring/ Fall
Page Views: 543
Submitted By: IanA on Apr 23, 2012

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Tom-Tom summit.

Description 

Climb up Tommy Knocker via the South Face route rappel back to the saddle and the base of the bolt ladder (pitch 3).

1st Pitch of variation: 30ft Climb the wide crack off the saddle to a higher ledge. Build a belay here. 5.10

2nd Pitch of variation: 35m Traverse on ledge on the north side of tower via 4th class terrain,very loose (some small gear is possible) into the large chimney and the base of the last pitch of Tom-Tom.

Finish by climbing the last pitch of Tom-Tom.

Descent: same as for Tom-Tom.

Protection 

Same rack as for Tommy Knocker with a few extra wide peices. (2-3)#3 and an extra #4 Camalot.


Photos of The Reach Around- Tommy Knocker to Tom-Tom Variation Slideshow Add Photo
The sneak traverse.
The sneak traverse.
The pitch off the saddle between Tom-Tom and Tommy...
The pitch off the saddle between Tom-Tom and Tommy...
Bill struggling on the final chimney section.
Bill struggling on the final chimney section.
Green- Tommy Knocker. Blue- Reach Around (dashed l...
BETA PHOTO: Green- Tommy Knocker. Blue- Reach Around (dashed l...

Comments on The Reach Around- Tommy Knocker to Tom-Tom Variation Add Comment
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By Ben Kiessel
Apr 24, 2012

-When you join the original route you come into the middle of pitch 4. 5.6 up the chimney, then 3rd to the summit.

-This route is the safest option to the top of Tom-Tom. After leading the first pitch of rubble on the original route to retrieve our stuck ropes I would suggest it to no one.

-Also note that you will rappel down the opposite side of the tower and thus some shoes might be nice.
By Trevor Bowman
From: Sheridan, WY
Dec 2, 2014

A nice find that should become the standard route on the tower for sure (not that it gets climbed often).

The belay above the .10 wide crack requires some ingenuity. The traverse is mellow and can be sparsely protected with small cams. The final chimney is a cool spot. The summit fin is very cool.

We added a new rap anchor on the far southeast end of the summit (closest to Tommy Knocker and the road) which is marked by a cairn. 1/2" stainless bolts and chains get you to the notch between Tom Tom and Tommy Knocker and another new stainless 1/2"/chain anchor, rap to the ledge atop p1 of Tommy Knocker and another chain anchor. 3 raps with a single 70m rope (60m might work but would be close on the 1st and 3rd rappels). Thanks to the ASCA for providing most of the anchor hardware.
By Jeremy Aslaksen
From: Albuquerque, NM
Dec 3, 2014

Why the Hell is everybody running around installing new rap anchors when old ones were just fine?

Oh...convenience...that's right...I forgot.

Lighten up with the drill out there...geez.

Not everything needs to be new anchors so you can rap it with a 70 meter for fucks sake.
By Trevor Bowman
From: Sheridan, WY
Dec 3, 2014

Now tell us how you really feel Jeremy... If it eases your mind any I get the impression that not everybody is running around installing new anchors. I've yet to see any evidence of anchor maintenance or hardware updates on the few other routes I've climbed in the VOG.

I'm sorry that the addition of a new rap line bothers you so much, but I didn't go out there without some planning and forethought. After reading the account of the North Face route on Tom Tom, it sounded like a crumbling pile with aging anchors. Ben notes, "If I climbed Tom-Tom again I would bring some bolts to upgrade the anchors." It seems like a reasonable assumption that the Reach Around will become the new standard route on the tower. Instead of renovating several sets of old anchors on the North Face, which sounds like a less-than-ideal climb and rap route, I added one set of chains on the summit for a clean rap back the notch/belay shared by Tom Tom and Tommy Knocker. The set I added in the notch is to facilitate a single rope rappel line for both towers, so yes, it is a "convenience" anchor. This seems to be the source of your contention. I'm the first to admit that I'm not a fan of lugging two ropes around to rap off of 300' towers within spitting distance of the road if a couple of extra bolts would render this unnecessary. However, I'm not about to add "convenience" anchors at my whim on other people's routes. I contacted both Ben Kiessel and James Garrett and proposed my plan in detail, describing the addition of both new anchor sets and explicitly stating my purpose of adding the notch set to facilitate a single rope rappel. They both responded promptly, expressed no qualms, and encouraged the installation.

I don't respond with the intention of starting an ethics debate, simply to explicitly state the thought process behind my actions. I respect your desert adventure climbing, especially the amount of time you've logged in the VOG. You're into old hardware, tat anchors, and two-rope rappels--got it. Just maybe consider that not everyone else is.

Trevor
By Roy Suggett
Dec 3, 2014

The last comment was articulate, respectful, and based on thoughtful consideration. More folks should take note.