Castleton Tower

  • Grades: US
  • Photos: 4
  • Ascents: 93
  • Aka: Castle Rock


Castleton is THE desert tower

Access issues inherited from Castle Valley

FRAGILE WHEN WET - don't climb after storms, holds will rip off.

CRYPTOBIOTIC SOIL - on the approach hikes avoid the dark crusty soil - it's a living organism.


From Moab, drive 15.5 miles east along UT128 then turn south into Castle Valley Road. Follow this for ~4.5 miles and look for a dirt road on the left that leads for 50 yards into a parking lots with toilets, information board and camping spots.

Hike up the wash through a usually dry canyon, follow a dirt road left briefly then take the hiking trail up to Castleton Tower. There is an 1,800' elevation gain on the approach.

Where to stay

There is a bivy site on the summit


View historical timeline

Castleton Tower was the feature of a 1964 Chevy TV ad:


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South Face Cliff
West Face Cliff
North Face Cliff


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Grade Route

Mostly in shade. The side that the trail reaches first.

2 5.11d
2 5.12b
2 5.11b

Two classic climbs: North Chimney, & Kor-Ingalls

2 5.9
  1. 40m (5.9) More of a crack pitch than a chimney, it looks intimidating for the grade. A low crux leads to the chimney and a double crack system. Straight up with lay-backing & jamming, well protected throughout, bring plenty of cams. There is a higher crux just before the belay through a bulge. DBB.

  2. 30m (5.9) A short and awkward off-width section just above the belay, bring a BD#5 to protect and ignore the manky old bolt. Continue up chimneying and passing a few loose chockstones. Trad belay with small to medium cams, although there may be fixed pitons in-place.

  3. 30m (5.7) Continue chimneying up, and exit to the right to a loose gravel chute with large loose boulders. Climb over these to a saddle and join the Kor-Ingalis route. Not great gear, but body belay behind boulder is fine.

  4. 15m (5.6) Nice climbing up flakes trending left to the top and rappel chains.

FA: Burgette & Erickson, 1970

  1. 110 ft (5.12b) Pro: single set of cams to 5", 7 quickdraws.

  2. 105 ft (5.13b) Pro: 16 quickdraws.

  3. 65 ft (5.12b) Pro: cams to 0.5-2", 3 quickdraws.

  4. 80 ft (5.12a) Pro: 0.75" cam, 7 quickdraws.

Descend with a 70m rope in 4 rappels down the south face of the arrow and then into the dihedral of 'Kor-Ingalls' to the bottom.

FFA: Chris Kalous & Sam Lightner Jr., 22 Oct 2012

The southern side

2 5.11b
2 5.11
2 5.11+
2 5.10+
2 5.11b

FA. April 13/14 2001 by Paul Ross ,Jeff Pheasent. Some wild situations. Unrepeated as of 2010. The Traverse uses 4 pitches of establised climbs and 5 new pitches.

  1. P1 of Kor-Ingalls.140' 5.6.
  2. Move belat to the right to join Arrowhead Left .Climb this pitch to the top of the Arrowhead (junction with Stardust Cowboys)100' 5.10.
  3. The long Ed WEbster bolt ladder is followed,then up to the right to a belay overlooking North Chimney.110'.
  4. Climb down 20' then over the massive chockstone near the top of P2 North Chimney. Traverse right across the slab to the bolt rap/lower ,and swing right onto ledges and 3 bolt belay at the top of P2 North Face route.110'.
  5. Up ledges to the right ,then climb down 12' to a beatifully exposed narrow slab traverse line.(some of the bolts used to protect this pitch need hangers ,nut and washers in place- bring 1/2" wrench,or use wires) Follow the slab crossing Sun,Moon and Stars climb to an anchor overlooking The West Face route.110' 5.9+ AO (with pro now in place should go all free).
  6. Lower 50' to an anchor on the West Face.
  7. Follow a thin crack up and right to a belay around the corner. C1 5.3.
  8. The long exposed crack is followed across theWest Face to a belay overlooking the Kor-Ingall route.80' 5.9 C1.
  9. From just up right of the belay, lower down a few feet to a horizontal crack. Follow it and then lower off into the Kor route. 170' C1.

Climb Kor or rap off... Gear Two sets of Cams from Metolius 00 to #4 Friend many biners for Webster bolt ladder ,Stoppers ,and perhaps hand drill as now route is getting old without second ascent.!

FA: Paul Ross & Jeff Pheasent, 2001

2 5.9
  1. 140ft (5.6) Up into an awful tight squeeze chimney. Maybe a better alternative is to start 20 foot right and climb up through blocks. Belay on massive ledge with massive bolts and chains.

  2. 100ft (5.8) Move across to the chimney and double crack system. Ignore the chimney on the left with the bolt (that’s “Black Sun”). Instead, on the right is a double crack system, the left crack is probably best. Climb over some loose blocks at the top to a comfy ledge with bolts and chains.

  3. 110ft (5.9) Layback up the corner, the crack widens and you move into and find a bolt, the crack narrows and you’re forced out for the crux which is protected by a bolt, you’ll stem with thin footholds and gratefully reach a large calcite hold for your left hand. More wide crack/chimney above before being forced out on to the right face just before the belay, bolts and chains.

  4. 80ft (5.8) The obvious line is straight up the off-width crack. However, easier climbing up right to join the North Chimney route, climb flakes up to rappel chains.

FA: Layton Kor & Huntley Ingalis, 1961

2 5.10b

The side facing the parking lot

2 5.11-

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