Towers of Power,
FIVE MUST-DO MOAB MODERATE SPIRES
Photographer John Evans lists five must-do moderate Moab towers that keep the difficulty manageable at 5.10 or below, while topping some of the desert’s most spectacular summits.
Southern Utah is home to more tower formations than anywhere else in the United States. Formed from rock dating back to Jurassic times, these striking sandstone spires represent the last untoppled remnants of ancient seabeds that have been worn down by erosion’s never- ending course.
For most climbers, towers have a special allure. Perhaps it’s their defined summits, the fact that they’re only accessible via technical means, how climbing them feels like being on the side of a skyscraper, or just the sheer adventure of it all. Because of their overwhelming sense of exposure is the fact that they often perch high atop talus cones, exposed to the elements. Even in the desert, swift- moving thunderstorms can descend in minutes, bringing lightning, hail, and other nasty surprises to tower aspirants .
The five towers outlined here are all, at 5.10 or easier, within reach of most mere mortals. For many, they’ve proved to be the launching point for a life- time of tower- climbing exploits. As a photographer, it was great to revisit these routes, some of which I first climbed almost 20 years ago. Along with the magic of spending time in the desert, the highlight of this project was introducing people to Ancient Art, a precarious swirl of Cutler sandstone in the Fisher Towers that astounds even the most jaded and accomplished climbers.
“On a desert tower, the standard is not to be measured in difficulty, but adventure.” — JOHN SHERMAN