Fisher Towers. In recent years, there has been a trend towards very fast repeats in the Fisher Towers. The spring of 1994 was no different and saw second ascents of some of the routes and speed ascents of others. Duane and Lisa Raleigh concentrated on speed records and pulled off some very fast times. In February, they blasted up the standard (Finger of Fate) route on the Titan in 6 hours, 10 minutes, probably the fastest time yet on the classic tower. This prompted a speed-climbing binge. The same pair climbed West Side Story—the complicated 12-pitch Grade VI on the northwest side of Cottontail Tower—in 8 hours and Jim Beyer’s Phantom Spirit (IV, A3) on Echo Tower in 4 hours. Both used simul-climbing techniques, where a 200-foot rope is used on a pitch by the leader and then tied off at a belay. While the second cleans the route, the first begins rope soloing the next pitch on the remaining rope. Also, both Beyer routes on the King Fisher have now been repeated. In 1993, Keith Reynolds and Matt Laggis made the second ascent of Jim Beyer’s Jagged Edge (V, 5.9, A4) on the King Fisher. Also in the spring of 1993, Chris Kalous and Rob Van Aernem made the second ascent of Death of American Democracy. They took 6 hours on the first pitch and 2½ days for the whole ascent. “We both thought it was an incredible route,” said Kalous, “with so few bolts for the ground covered.” Mike Baker, Leslie Henderson and Zach Merritt climbed a major new route on Echo Tower, Emotional Grafitti, (V, 5.10, A4). They approached as for the north-chimney route, traversed on a ledge to the west and a two-bolt anchor, ascended a pillar that moves onto the south-face arête and finished on the southwest face via an obvious crack system that took them to the summit.
Cameron M. Burns