Rooster Butte is one of the first formations encountered along the Valley of the Gods loop in southeast Utah. This often overlooked area is just north of Monument Valley and the Navajo Indian Reservation. The remote location and chossy nature of the rock conspire to keep all but the craziest of peakbaggers away from this beautiful place.

Like most of the towers in the Valley of the Gods, Rooster Butte goes by an alternate name amongst climbers: "Petard Tower". A petard was a small bomb devised in 16th century France to breach fortifications. Bjornstad explains that this formation was so named because it was the first to be conquered in the area. To further complicate matters, he also says that the locals know it as "Prairie Dog on a Mound". Call it whatever fits your fancy! I like Rooster Butte myself.

Rooster Butte/Petard Tower (left) & Setting Hen/The Anvil (right) as seen on the drive in from Highway 160.

Rooster Butte's south side as seen from the road.

Rooster Butte's north side as seen on the short approach hike. Petarded.

A minor cliff band slightly complicates access to the base of the summit oddity from the north side.

Dominic investigating the minor cliff band.

View south toward Monument Valley.

Nearing the base of the climb on the northeast corner of the tower.

Setting Hen as seen from the base of the technical portion of Rooster Butte.

The first pitch starts with a surprisingly nice handcrack which leads to an easy offwidth/chimney system.

Useful features outside of the crack keep the climbing moderate.

Dom does a couple of french free moves to pass a small roof; I follow free and it doesn't feel harder than 5.9.

Dom finds a comfy belay with fixed anchor at the next bedding seam.

Popping out of the first pitch chimney.

Dom spies the curious squeeze chimney above and proclaims Christmas has arrived early.

We move the belay before beginning the second pitch. Rockfall is a major concern on the first two pitches.

Our belay for the second pitch.

The second pitch begins up a corner with loose blocks.

Delicate climbing up to the squeeze chimney.

Views up the second pitch corner and squeeze chimney.

Dom starting the third pitch bolt ladder.

The bolts are in various states of trustworthiness.

Preparing for the heady 5.10- mantle moves above the last bolt.

One of the better specimens and evidence of its predecessor.

Jugging to the summit.

Dom at the top anchor.

Setting Hen aka The Anvil as seen from the summit.

View west from the summit.

Preparing to rappel.

Dom on the short rap down the third pitch.

The anchor for the second and final rappel down the east side of the tower.

Double ropes are required, though a single 70 may be sufficient.

Mysterious display near the bottom of the final rappel.

The west side of Rooster Butte as seen on the hike back to the car.

Battleship Rock and Franklin Butte (aka Sitting Hen) to the west.

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