Peak Name: Castle Butte aka "Eagle Plume Tower"

Peak Height: 5,700'

Location: Valley of the Gods, Utah

Trailhead: VOG loop road

Difficulty: 5.10

Round Trip Stats: 0.7 mi, 350 ft

Date Climbed: 4/22/2017

Eagle Plume Tower is the centerpiece of climbing in Valley of the Gods, if there is such a thing. Viewed end on from the Valley of the Gods loop road, Eagle Plume commands the attention of all passers by, taking the form of a strikingly narrow pillar, or an eagle feather standing on end. Eagle Feather, the classic 4-5 pitch route up the middle of the broad south face, has a fair amount of decent crack climbing amongst the choss. This was the first formation I climbed in the Valley back on my first trip to the area with Derek in November 2014. And the rest is history. I've fallen in love with this place.

Last time Derek led the route in 5 pitches. Knowing what to expect we did it in 4 instead this time, passing the intermediate belay on the 3rd pitch. Patrik led the first two pitches: crappy 5.8 choss then tricky 5.10 crux. I led the last two pitches: long 5.10 crack and short 5.9 dihedral. The protection is good for all of the difficult climbing. Three easy raps down the south face with our single 70 meter rope got us down efficiently. A single 60 won't cut it.

This was by far the hardest leading I'd ever done on a tower. And my fist time doing any significant leading on chossy rock. It felt great. Just another special day in the Valley.

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