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North America, United States, Utah, Cottontail Tower and Echo Tower, Fisher Towers, 1988 and 1989

Cottontail Tower and Echo Tower, Fisher Towers, 1988 and 1989. I soloed a new route up the south face of Cottontail Tower in nine days with one bivouac. Intifada (VI, 5.10, A6) tours the south face and connects with Ed Webster’s solo route for the top third. I climbed the summit block from the south side at 5.10. No bolts were placed. I propose an A6 aid rating for routes which incorporate 1. good style and no bolts, 2. difficulty—sustained marginal placements (A4) while looking at a death fall, 3. suspense—sustained A4 right off marginal belay anchors, 4. danger—even odds of getting chopped, and 5. adventure— the possibility that the climb could end in total failure. Deadman’s Party (VI, 5.10, A5) was an eight-day solo siege on Echo Tower done in the winter of 1989. It starts at the bottom of Run Amok, diagonals left and climbs thin flakes and grooves left of an uncompleted line on the left side of the face. Four A4+ cruxes with two marginal belays in a row lead up to the A5 crux. The summit pitch (5.10) climbs all four summits and is perhaps the best free pitch in the Towers. This is the only major route in the Towers without a single bolt from the ground to the summit. It is the best psycho aid route, of better quality and less dangerous than Intifada, which has some rotten and ugly pitches.

James Beyer