Grand View Spire
& Terra Tower
Written by Ben Kiessel
Brad had the weekend off and I could get a ride to and from Grand Junction with a group of mountain bikers for Sunday. The plan was for Brad to solo Remnant's Tower and Grandview on Saturday since I had already climbed them. Then on Sunday… As often happens the plans for a day start off big and then just get bigger as the date nears. By Friday night the plan for Sunday included something like 20 miles of walking and around 15 towers. Easily achievable for a motivated duo.
Obviously I was a little concerned about achieving this goal when I showed up on Saturday night to hurricane force winds at the campground. I was even more concerned when I learned that Brad had a rope fixed on pitch 1 of the Southwest Defile Route on Grandview Spire. This was not part of the plan. Apparently he was on the route and it got a little windy so he bailed. You might ask why I climb with such a lightweight, and the answer is easy. Look at his freaking photos; the man makes my pudgy ass look like a super hero! I regress.
So we wake up early and make the 150' rappel to the notch, then jug the fixed first pitch. Brad FREED the second pitch (Yes you heard it here first, Brad was actually out of his aiders for a full pitch! Can we get a round of applause?). After pulling on some gear I join Brad on the ledge below the summit. All that stands between the summit and us is a fifteen foot 5.8 off-width. A few minutes later I'm belaying Brad up and we are looking in the registrar at some super early ascents of the tower. Super cool! Another few minutes and we are back in the car driving to get a start on our 15 planned towers.
Before the trip I had been in contact with a Grand Junction local that had recently done a new variation to a climb called Bazaar on Terra Tower (or as Eric calls it in DRIII Liberty Cap Tower ). Thanks to his beta we were able to be our lazy selves and skip the giant 4 pitch face and walk around to the shorter 2 pitch side.
As Brad was starting pitch one, I was watching some golfers on the course far below and thinking what a different sort of recreation that was. I am jerked from my wandering mind when Brad says, “ Watch Me. ” I look up and see that he has gotten to a sandy section and he is going to step out of his aiders and free climb a little. He climbs up to a nice little stance with a splitter crack and starts riffling through the rack. After double and triple checking the rack and both packs on the ground it is apparent that we forgot the 3.5 camalots in the car. The only cam that would have fit the crack is a #4 that is 20' below Brad. There is no way that he can safely down climb the loose free section and there is no way that he is going to run it out any more then he already is, so it is up to me to get that cam. I tie off Brad to a juniper and start rope-soloing with the 8mil. tagline. I give the #4 to Brad, lower back to the ground, put him back on belay, and proceed to watch the golfers below. The line is soon pulling tight and I clean the rest of the cams, managing to cut my hand and bleed quite a bit in the process.
Pitch two starts out as a chimney with little gear, but as you ascend you gain sight of a splitter begging for a cam. Easy climbing above leads to a big ledge and a crazy looking free move to the summit. This move is supposed to go free at 5.11 but goes much easier at French free. Brad is soon up and I realize that to catch my ride back to Gunnison this had to be the last summit we stood on for the day. Even though we didn't get our 15 towers in, it was a beautiful day and great fun with a great friend.
Grand View Spire Pictures
Terra Tower Pictures
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