Of the handful of towers I've climbed to date in the Valley of the Gods, the Lady in the Bathtub is my favorite. Viewed end on it looks like a very narrow spire, but from the east and west it very much resembles a lady in a bathtub. Derek & I climbed a route called Angel's Fear on the west face that is almost entirely (clean) aid. And by "climbed" I mean Derek led the whole thing while my loser self simply jugged the rope.

We hiked the hour or so to the base of the climb in an eerie pea soup. The air was practically dripping with humidity; the Lady was apparently enjoying quite the steam bath. Our hair and clothing grew increasingly wet as we navigated through the fog by GPS. Would the soft rock be dry and fit to climb? I had my doubts but Derek remained optimistic.

The west face of Lady in the Bathtub.

Upon reaching the base of the bathtub we popped out of the clouds and were privy to a surreal inversion over the Valley of the Gods. Only the tippy tops of the surrounding towers and mesas pierced through the thick blanket of clouds.

The bathtub viewed end on from the west.

Pitch One: Technical Crux (5.8 C2)

The first pitch is only 20-25 feet but constitutes the technical crux of the route. Rather straightforward C2 aiding on smallish cams in relatively poor rock delivers one to a small, comfortable ledge. Theoretically this short initial pitch can be combined with the next 100 footer, but a pesky little rope eating crack and the fact that the next pitch requires many of the same small cams argue against it.

The route starts near the center of this photo.

Small belay ledge at the top of the first short pitch.

Pitch Two: 100 Feet of Easy Aid (5.9 C1)

The second pitch is 100 feet of enjoyable C1 aiding with a couple of free moves and Derek makes short work of it. An established anchor consisting of a bolt and a piton serves as a belay and rappel point at the top of this pitch. Double ropes get you to the ground from here. A single 70 might also work.

The second pitch ends at the top of the bathtub and a fixed anchor.

Pitch Three: Airy Summit Block (5.6 C1)

A narrow, crumbling catwalk leads to the base of the wild summit block. The final pitch is quite airy and involves a short stint of strenuous C1 aiding followed by easy 5.6 climbing.

The peculiar summit block lies on the other side of a narrow catwalk.

The clouds have mostly disappeared.

Setting up a belay for the final pitch.

The Summit

The summit of Lady in the Bathtub is a cool place. Small and airy but not tiny. Spectacular 360 degree views.

The Descent

The descent is straightforward and quick. One rappel gets you back down from the summit block. After reversing the catwalk a second rappel delivers you to the base of the route.

Lady in the Bathtub viewed end on.

The Seven Sailors as seen on the drive back to Bluff.

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