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North America, United States, Alaska, Alaska Range, Little Switzerland, Royal Tower, Arizona Highways, New Route and Various Activity

Royal Tower, Arizona Highways, New Route, and Various Activity. John Mattson, Josh Zimmerman and I had originally started a route on the southeast face of the Royal Tower in June, 1999, calling the first seven pitches The Jester. On June 20, Mattson, John Burnhard and I returned and finished the route to the summit, renaming it Arizona Highways.

The first seven pitches offer 1,000 feet of excellent rock climbing with three 5.10 pitches. In June, 1999, Mattson and I climbed a variation first pitch (crack to the right, 5.10+), calling it The Blade. After the first seven pitches, the route is mixed snow and rock climbing to the summit. We summited at 1 a.m. under perfectly clear skies, then made at least 20 rappels to descend the route.

Down the Pika on the east side lies a small crag of rock known as Practice Rock. It looks small from camp compared to all the other formations but offers excellent climbing on clean granite. On the northwest side, we climbed a six-pitch route (5.9) on an exposed fin of granite. This was not a first ascent, as we found webbing at several belays. We may have added a couple of new pitches, one being a fun 5.9 finger crack.

In June, 1999, Mattson flashed the old aid route on The Plunger, a spire on the base of The Throne’s southeast corner, making the FFA at 5.12-. The crux is a slightly overhanging two-inch splitter on the southeast side.

John Burcham