CASTLETON TOWER, KORINGALLS (III 5.9+)
Made famous in Steve Roper and Allan Steck’s Fifty Classic Climbs
of North America, Castleton Tower perches atop a huge talus cone and features superlative views. Castle Valley, Round Mountain, and the Porcupine Rim spread out before you. To the south loom the La Sal Mountains, Utah’s second highest range. These mountains remain snowcapped much of the year in contrast to the red desert below.
The route follows the obvious chimney system on the south face for four pitches of steep, in-your-face terrain. Pitch three is the money pitch and a great intro to desert offwidth, with two bolts down low providing much-needed protection. Higher, the crack widens to swallow you whole—you may want a no. 6 cam. The final pitch feels a bit spicy, but protection appears just when you need it. The summit is expansive—in fact, in the 1960s, Chevy famously helicoptered a car onto it for a TV ad.
Expect lines: Arrive early and preferably on a weekday. FIRST ASCENT: Layton Kor and Huntley Ingalls, 1961
RACK: Standard rack with doubles of no. 2 and 3, single no. 4 (optional no. 6)
RAPPEL: Either rap the route—four rappels with two 60-meter ropes— or rap the North Face via three double-rope rappels.
GETTING THERE: From Moab, follow Highway 128 east. In around 15 miles, turn right toward Castle Valley on the La Sal Mountain Loop, where a 2002 Utah Open Lands (UOL) purchase helped open a low-key climbers’ campground below the tower. A small donation is recommended. The campground makes a great base for Castleton and the Fisher Towers. Follow the climber’s trail for 1.4 miles and a gain of about 1,400 feet.
DEAN COOL WORKNG FOR IT ON THE CALCITE-COATED OFFWIDTH CRUX OF THE KOR-INGALLS.