The Desert, Various Activity. Numerous towers were climbed south of Moab in Joe Wilson Canyon, which can be found just south of Wilson Arch from US 191 (approach between mile markers 99 and 100 on US 191). Tranquillity Tower’s Feeding the Rat (5.7 C2, three pitches) saw its first ascent by Paul Ross and Gene Vallee in June. Also receiving firsts in June were Queen’s View (5.8 A2) by Wilson Goodrich and Mike Baker, and King Arthur’s Seat (5.9) by Paul Ross and Gene Vallee. The first ascent of Moby Dick’s Head (5.8 A1) was made by Paul Ross and Geff Pheasant in July.
Paul Ross was by far the most active pioneer climber on the Colorado Plateau this past year. Among his first ascents are the two Kachina Towers off the Island in the Sky Mesa, at the head of Hell Roaring Canyon west of Moab: Kachina Tower North (III 5.8 AO) with Paul Gardner, and Kachina Tower South (III 5.9 C1) with Andy Ross. Also with Andy Ross, on Tombstone, was Family Plot (III 5.9 C1) and Coffin Dodger (III 5.10+). Another Paul Ross first was Cenotaph Spire (III 5.8 C1) with Todd Swain and Paul Gardner. On Lost World Butte, Ross put up Golden Brown (5.10) and Mirage Crack (5.11b) with Andy Ross, and Gateway to the Lost World (5.8 C1) with Todd Swain and Donette and Paul Gardner.
New route activity in the Valley of the Gods in January, 2000, included James Garrett and Chris Donharl’s ascent of the spire that is separated from (right of) the main Tom-Tom Tower, via the route Tommy Knocker (5.10 A2, four pitches). On Eagle Plume’s south face (far left), Franziska’s Foresight (IV 5.8 A3+) was also climbed in January by Donharl and Garrett. The classic line is surely the most difficult route in the Valley of the Gods.
In March, near Mexican Hat, Bryan Gall, Smith Maddrey, Jeff Widen, and Cameron Burns made the first ascent of a 600-foot tower that they called “Mount Chomama.” Their route, Rednecks, Pistols, and Whiskey (III 5.9 A1), was climbed in six pitches.
In the Mystery Towers in March, Andy Donson and Kath Pyke made a clean aid ascent of the Doric Column’s Southeast Chimney (5.9 A2), the Forrest-Hurley route. The clean rating is 5.9 C2.
Just south of Monument Basin in Canyonlands National Park, in the Dabneyland area near the Pixie Stick, Steve “Crusher” Bartlett and Stu Ritchie made the first ascent of Captain Carbuncle Tower. The two-pitch tower was ascended by a crack on its north face in the spring of 2000. The 5.10+ route was named Maybe You Should See a Specialist; descent was made by a tricky, 200-foot simulrap that left no gear behind. There was no hammering or fixed gear left behind on the route.
Based on reports from Eric Bjørnstad, Cameron Burns, James Garrett, and Crusher Bartlett