North Chimney, Desert Towers Route Photo

North Chimney 5.9-

Castleton Tower, Castle Valley

  • North Chimney Sun ExposureRoute quality:
  • North Chimney First AscentDan Burgette, Allen Erickson, 1970
  • North Chimney Pitch InfoNumber of pitches: 3
  • North Chimney Approach TimeApproach Time: 1-1½ hour
  • North Chimney Climbing TimeClimbing Time: 2-4 hours
  • North Chimney Descent timeDescent Time: 30-40 min to base
  • North Chimney Sun ExposureSun exposure: Mostly shade
  • About the Climb

    North Chimney is a popular climb, and is the easiest and fastest way to reach the top of Castleton Tower. Although rated easier than Kor Ingalls (5.9), it is slightly more sustained in nature and might feel a little more committing, with more loose rock and no rap anchors past the first belay. The first pitch of North Chimney is one of the best of it’s grade in the desert and shouldn't be missed. Although the route ascends a prominent chimney system and appears to be very wide, the climbing is mostly jamming from fingers to hands with one short chimney section. Althought the chimney section has a bolt, it is old and should not be trusted. Bringing a big cam to back it up is a good idea. Overall, this climb protects very well, but it has a fair bit of loose rock and moving blocks/flakes. North Chimney is a great alternative if Kor Ingalls is busy.

    North Chimney is a relatively short climb, and stays in the shade most of the day. It's a good choice on a warm day, but can be extremely cold on a windy winter day. Because of the rockfall potential, try to avoid climbing below another party and wear helmets. Come early and be ready to climb something else if it's busy. Good nearby alternatives include Kor Ingalls (5.9), Fine Jade (5.11a) and Honeymoon Chimney (5.11b or 5.9 A0). These climbs are located just a few minutes away from North Chimney, and it's not too difficult for a competent party to climb two routes in a day.

    Note that free campsites and wag bags (donation box) can be found at the trailhead to Castleton Tower. No water or toilets are available, and the space is limited. Thanks to The Castleton Tower Preservation Initiative, Utah Open Lands (UOL) and the Access Fund. Please respect and protect the integrity of Castleton Tower and its surrounding landscape.

    North Chimney (Desert Towers) GearLoopTopo {North Chimney (Desert Towers) GearLoopTopo

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    The GearLoopTopo

    Our GearLoopTopo for North Chimney contains all the detailed information you need for the climb, starting from the parking along Castle Valley road, just below Castleton Tower. Driving instruction on how to get to Castleton Tower from Moab are also included.

    Similar Climbs

    Kor-Ingalls (5.9), located just around the corner on the south face of Castleton Tower is similar in grade and length to North Chimney. Both climbs offer a great deal of chimney, but Kor-Ingalls has a longer, more commiting chimney pitch. If you want to extend your day after climbing North Chimney, it is easy to climb the 1st couple pitches of Kor-Ingals and rap back down (double ropes or 70m needed), or climb both routes in a day.

    Another great climb with a similar grade is Stolen Chimney (5.10c or 5.9 A0) on Ancient Art. This climb has a super fun 5.8 chimney second pitch on soft "muddy" rock and takes you up to one of the coolest, and most exposed summits that the desert has to offer. It also features short sections of well protected face climbing.

    If you like chimneys and want a little more challenge, you should check out Honeymoon Chimney (5.11b or 5.9 A0) located on The Priest, about 15 minutes away from Castleton Tower. It features wild and exposed chimneying and stemming, as well as some great face and crack climbing. If you feel like you need to work on your chimney skills a little more and get away from the crowds, Walden's Room (5.10c or 5.9 C1) also has a great chimney pitch.

    Download the North Chimney PDF file or visit the PDF Center.

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