North America, United States, Utah, River Road (Scenic Byway 128)

Publication Year: 1997.

Fisher Towers Area. Mike Baker soloed the northwest corner of River Tower, correcting its rating to III 5.8 C2. On the 900-foot Titan, Steve Haston, partnered by his wife, French alpinist Laurence Gouault, made the first clean (C3, hammerless) ascent of the popular tower by the Finger of Fate route. Pitches one and two were climbed at 5.11 and 5.12 respectively. Pitch 4 required only two points of aid. The bolt ladder on the arête was freed at 5.12, with less than a dozen total points of aid. The route is now 80% free at 5.11b. On Cottontail Tower, the West Side Story was climbed clean by Dave Goldstein and Mark Hammond over a three-day period in October (VI 5.9 C3). King Fisher’s the Jagged Edge was soloed by Andres Zegers (from Chile). Eric Kohl and Pete Takeda climbed Full Metal Jackoff on the north face of the 350-foot Forming Tower (5.8), and on the west face of Ancient Art a route christened Adjacent Art was climbed by the Takeda/Kohl team (5.8 A3).

In the remote Mystery Towers east of the Fishers, the Hunchback, a previously unclimbed tower, was climbed by James Garrett and John Sweeney, (5.8 A1). They also made the second ascent of the south face of Gothic Nightmare, establishing a final pitch to the summit (not accomplished on the reported first ascent). They dubbed the ascent Something Wicked This Way Comes. On The Atlas, The Wait of the World was put up by Bartlett and Chip Wilson (seven pitches, 5.8 A4).

The Hindu up Onion Creek was freed via the original Maverick Route by Haston and Gouault at 5.13b, probably the most difficult free desert tower climb to date. On the nearby Mongoose, Haston and Gouault free climbed the spire at 5.12b. The Sari in the Mongoose and Hindu group was freed a year and a half ago by the late Rob Slater and Stu Ritchie at 5.11a.

Canyonlands National Park. The first free ascent of Sharks Fin in Monument Basin was accomplished by Steve “Crusher” Bartlett, Haston and Gouault via the Fetish Arête (three pitches, 5.10 R).

Blocktop Tower above the White Rim of Canyonlands received a new route, Destruction of a National Resource (three pitches, 5.10+), by Kevin Chase and Tom Gilje. “Crusher” soloed a new route on Islet in the Sky, also above the White Rim, in three and a half days, via clean aid.