Moses Tower & Castleton Tower
Participants: Lynn & Gary Clark, Rick Smith and Mark Zander
May 9: Lynn & Gary Clark repeated the Kor-Ingalls Route on Castleton Tower. They found it underrated at 5.9, strenuous and punishing rather than enjoyable, and of undistinguished quality. In short, we hated it. A quick non-scientific poll of other climbers netted very similar opinions. I plan to remove it from my list of the 50 top classic climbs of North America.
Meanwhile, Rick Smith and Mark Zander climbed the very difficult (5.11) North Face of Castleton. The two parties met on top and looked over the edge while exclaiming banalities such as "woah, dooood, this puppy is steep!".
May 10: Rick Smith and Mark Zander took Gary in tow to do the Primrose Dihedrals route on Moses Tower, in the Taylor Canyon of Canyonlands National Park. The motivation was Gary's suspicion that this belonged on the top 50 classic climbs list, from all the enthusiastic comments he had heard. By constant prodding and the promise of free beer, he was able to induce Rick and Mark, both of whom had previously done the route, to return and carry the necessary big-wall hauling equipment to get him to the top. The feat was accomplished on a near-perfect desert day, and I can report this is one of the finest routes I have ever experienced. Beta: Pitch 2 is very strenuous, and easily the crux of the route. Take a few passive chocks and decent etriers for pitch 5. The "missing hangers" on the aid ladder have been replaced, but the top bolt is now gone (at least there is an empty hole), and the exit is WAY airy 5.10. Most important beta: take a 5.12 leader who can deal with whimpering.
May 11: Lynn and Gary and Mark returned to the area to hike around the base of all the towers and take photographs. This is an exceptionally beautiful and spectacular area, even for Canyonlands, and well worth the trip without doing any climbing. The highlight of the hike was Gary becoming very well acquainted with a certain cactus after a fall on the talus. Add tweezers to the list of ten essentials for desert hiking.