Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fisher Towers

Our next climb would bring us to the top of the wildest summit we've ever climbed. The Corkscrew Summit of Ancient Arts, 5.8 A0, at the Fisher Towers.

The Corkscrew Summit is the one in the center of the picture below. Note the sheer vertical wall of the Ancient Arts tower. We'll be coming back to that. The climb itself starts about a third of the way up, on the right side of the tower.

Here is Kristal (tiny in the lower right of the picture) at the top of the first pitch, with the summit up on the left.

The climbing to the base of the summit was pretty varied, highlighted by a long 5.8 chimney that was incredibly fun. This in spite of the fact that the rock quality was not always that great. They don't call these 'mud towers' for no reason. The best was saved for last of course. After 4 pitches of climbing you step onto the shoulder of the summit. Next up is a 20 foot walk along the 'sidewalk', which was one of the most 'exciting' things I have ever done. Remember the sheer vertical face? The other side of the tower is much the same at this point, and the sidewalk is a rounded ridge about 3 feet wide with 300 feet straight down on either side. Here is Kristal at the base of the summit, standing on the 'diving board', after walking across the sidewalk.

The summit is aptly named as you have to corkscrew up and around it to get the top. It also has it's fair share of excitement, with questionable rock quality and incredible exposure. Here is Kristal standing at the top.

The excitement didn't end there. Just as we got to the top we were surprised to here some yelling from above and spied two base jumpers floating down.

They came whizzing by about 20 feet from us. Super cool.

We also spent another day bouldering at Big Bend and had plans to climb another classic desert tower, Castleton Tower. Unfortunately some inclement weather rolled in the night before, and we decided not to wait it out. We might be back to try and climb it before we head back east, but for the moment it was time to move on.

Next up, the incredible, incomparable, and not to mention chilly, Indian Creek.