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North America, United States, Utah, Standing Rock, Monumment Basin, Canyonlands

Standing Rock, Monument Basin, Canyonlands. The big news in Canyon- lands in 1993 was Keith Reynolds’s and Walt Shipley’s free ascent of Standing Rock. Although the tower was first climbed in 1962 by Layton Kor, Huntley Ingalls and Steve Komito, it is considered one of the all-time classic desert towers. In recent years, a great deal of speculation has centered around a free ascent. Although the records are sketchy, it is likely that this was the first clean ascent of the tower. Reynolds, who had climbed the tower previously, coaxed an unbelieving Shipley up the route on October 26, leading the third and crux pitch all free at 5.11c for the 40th overall ascent of the tower. Reynolds led the first 150-foot pitch at 5.10+, then Shipley climbed the second at 5.10+/5.1-. Portions of these pitches had been climbed free previously. Reynolds then led the third pitch, taking a fall 15 feet off the belay, when a handhold broke. He lowered back to the stance and tried again, redpointing the lead on his second try. The climbing was up face features, not the crack used for aid ascents. The entire route was done clean, but it used fixed gear already in place.

Cameron Burns