Peak Climbed: "Hidden Tower"

Peak Height: 5,774'

Route: Rubble Rouser

Difficulty: 5.9 C2

Location: Valley of the Gods, Utah

Trailhead: VOG Loop Road

Mileage & Gain: 5 mi & 1,000 ft RT

Date Climbed: April 20, 2019

Hidden Tower is a formidable formation and, at least until very recently, probably the least visited of the big towers in Valley of the Gods. Before this trip, Hidden Tower and Tom-Tom were the only two major summits in the Valley that I hadn’t attained - I'd more or less written them both off as above my pay grade.

Bill Forrest and George Hurley did the first ascent of Hidden Tower in 1977 via a meandering, dirty aid route on the north face. That route has seen only one other known ascent (in 1984) and is reputed to be loose and dangerous. In 2012 Steve “Crusher” Bartlett and Chip Wilson established a line on the south face which involved nailing and large gear. As far as I know it has not been repeated. Finally, in 2017, Trevor Bowman & Emily Rinsel pioneered a friendlier, clean aid line on the north face that paved the way to the summit for climbers of the more mortal variety. Their route has attracted at least three more parties (including us) to date.

It was only with Derek’s encouragement (who had climbed Trevor & Emily’s route a month earlier), that I set my sights on Hidden Tower. I knew it would be a bit of a challenge for Patrik (who I’d only recently taught how to aid climb) and I (a complete pansy) but I was excited to give it a try. It became the #1 objective for my annual post tax season trip to the desert.

The day got off to a rough start, with me forgetting half the damn rack in the car! My pack had sure FELT heavy enough! But hey, at least it’s a long approach. I ran almost all the way back to the car, farther than I’d run in years, and reappeared at the base of the climb a couple of hours later with the goods.

Patrik graciously took the first long pitch, learning some more about aiding in the process. I then summoned the courage to take the shorter second pitch. It all seemed more reasonable than I’d envisioned, but was of course not without the usual Valley of the Gods choss. The most exciting moment came at the very end though when I realized I’d almost rapped onto a rattlesnake at the base of the route!

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