Tower Mountain, Tower of Babble

Washington, Sloan Peak, Full Moon Fever
Author: Eric Wehrly. Climb Year: N/A. Publication Year: 2012.

Rolf Larson and I bushwhacked up Swamp Creek on September 4, aiming for a new route on the northeast face of 8,444' Tower Mountain, whose shattered rock is notorious for turning back adventurers. Only one known route has been established on this face (III 5.10, Pete Doorish and Alex Cudkowicz, 1989), and that route traversed onto the face at half-height before ascending. We hoped to climb the entire face.

From our bivy at Snowy Lakes, we approached over a col on the northwest side of the mountain and descended snow along the mountain's northern arm, getting a good view of the face. In the morning light, its looming steepness had us a bit skeptical. Rolf had attempted the face before but bailed a few pitches up. Lines leading directly to the summit appeared steepest and loosest, and we turned our attention to a more moderate and solid-looking buttress on the far north side of the face.

We began with two simul-climbing pitches of 5.7/8 below the big ledge, then some third class on the big ledge system to reach the line we had spied. The five upper pitches were the business and went at 5.10- (50m), 5.9 (50m), 5.9 (50m), 5.6, and 4th class to the summit crest. We descended the standard West Gully route and the next day climbed the insecure Northeast Arête of Golden Horn.

Eric Wehrly