Identifying this obscure tower in the Valley of the Gods and ascertaining the route to the top involved much confusion. Like many of the formations in the area, this one seems to go by at least two different monikers. Its official name on the USGS map is Franklin Butte. However, Bjornstad's Desert Rock IV refers to it as "Sitting Hen". To add to the confusion, Bjornstad has mistakenly shifted the USGS name Franklin Butte to a neighboring formation to the west that is really called Battleship Rock. But wait, that's not the end of it! Another tower in the vicinity is named Setting Hen Butte on the map. Whether Bjornstad also mistakenly shifted that name to this butte, at the same time screwing up the spelling (its actually Setting Hen on the map and he calls this Sitting Hen), is unclear. Or was Bjornstad not to blame at all and simply quoting names from some older map? Head spinning yet? Personally I like the name Sitting Hen for this one.

Rooster Butta aka "Petard Tower" (left) & Setting Hen aka "The Anvil" (right) as seen on the approach.

Overcoming one of several minor cliff bands on the approach.

Derek gearing up at the base of the climb.

The technical climbing begins on the northwest side of the butte below an obvious crack in a corner. After some easy climbing through an initial bedding seam the rock quality becomes shockingly good. The majority of the pitch is moderate crack climbing, the crux being a short 5.9 offwidth section near the top. The topout at the next bedding seam in quite chossy.

From the top of the first pitch we carefully walked counterclockwise around around the tower on a ledge system formed by a chossy bedding seam to a short 3rd class slot on the south side. The slot led to a nice little belay alcove for the second pitch bolt ladder on the west face of the vertical summit block.

Easy but super chossy scrambling at the start of the short summit pitch.

Derek leading the second pitch bolt ladder.

As Derek pulled onto the summit he could feel electricity in the air and immediately rappelled back to the base of the pitch. We scrambled down the slot and hid under some overhung rock on the ledge below to wait out the short cloud burst. We waited out a second storm here as well before a short window presented itself, allowing us to both jug to the top.

Waiting for a weather window to return to the summit after getting buzzed the first time!

A storm rolling through the Valley of the Gods.

Derek on the summit with Battleship Rock in the background.

Preparing for the double rope rappel from the summit.

Battleship Rock. Bjornstad describes a 2 pitch 5.8 free route.

Pulling the ropes is a bit difficult.

Retracing our steps down the nontechnical base of the butte.

Hiking back to the car as a major storm forms.

After the climb we took a drive through the Valley of the Gods to soak in the spectacularly lighted landscape resulting from the impinging storm. A short while later the skies opened up, producing hail and electricity.

Castle Butte, aka "Eagle Plume Tower".

"Putterman in a Bathtub" & "Putterman on the Throne" (left).

"North Tower" (right).

Lady in the Bathtub.

Franklin Butte, Rooster Butte & Setting Hen Butte.

The Hand of Puttima (left), Putterman's Residence (center) & Eagle Plume Tower (right).

Clouds on fire.

Sunset at camp near Franklin Butte.

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