This is THE classic desert tower in Colorado.
This was my 27th desert tower and the first rock climb I’d done in Colorado. I climbed it with Christian and Dennis on October 20. Christian hadn’t climbed in 7 months (when the three of us climbed Looking Glass Rock), Dennis had only climbed a few times this summer, and I’ve been focusing on climbing mountains–not rocks–this year. None of us were in good climbing shape. Dennis and Crisco were headed out to Colorado to go mountain biking (which I’m not into, apart from the very occasional ride), but Crisco called and asked if I wanted to head out there with them and climb Otto’s Route.
Otto’s Route is a climb I’d been wanting to do since 2004, but never gotten around to doing. It’s a classic climb on a big (350-foot) sandstone tower. The route (and tower) was first climbed in 1911, exactly 100 years ago by a guy named John Otto. He hand drilled holes into the rock and hammered pipes into the holes, creating a series of ladders to the top. He also chopped steps into the soft rock.
Today the pipes are all gone, but the holes and steps are still there, making for unique and relatively moderate climbing.
I got to lead all of the pitches, and it was awesome. The whole route was fun, but the last pitch was stunning.
[As always, click any of the photos for the larger version]
[If you can’t see the video below, click here]