Tow­ers of Power,



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

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