Top three reasons to rock climb the Desert Towers
A multi-pitch wonderland full of classics for every skill level
The landscape is a swath of varying sized tower groups that call out to be climbed
Gravity defying, easily accessible, and surprising pitches are just the start
Moab’s towers are the ultimate draw for climbers, and nearby Desert Towers are classics that must not be missed in the area. Even intermediate routes present challenges with fickle pitches, technical terrain and a staggering sense of exposure. Climbers haven’t been able to resist the siren call of these stunning sandstone spires since the sport first gained popularity in the 1960s. Moab’s sheer rock faces and desert tower cruxes offer aerial perspectives that are ideal for spring and summer pursuits. Imagine sweeping views, thrilling verticals and red desert as far as the eye can see. You’ll want to take your camera for this one. Find out more about why Desert Towers in Moab are one of the ultimate USA rock climbing destinations from Cody Bradford, an AMGA Certified Rock Guide and 57hours Ambassador.
March through May and September through November
All towers are about 30 minutes away from Moab
Half-day to Full-day
Intermediate to advanced
Most Popular Itineraries
Beginner: Climb the Looking Glass Arch
Unlike its fellow towers, Looking Glass is fairly welcoming to rookies and a great introduction to multi-pitch climbing. It’s a 5.5 summit at most, with an attainable low-angle rib and views just as spectacular as those from the top of the more daunting spires. Expect a decent amount of airy exposure and memorable free-hanging rappels through an astonishing window of an arch!
Intermediate: Climb the Fisher Towers’ Ancient Art Tower
Gravity defying, easily accessible, and surprising pitches are just the start. Ancient Art is a towering chimney you can’t miss. Ancient is unique for desert towers because it’s mostly intricate face climbing. Don’t let that scare you away. With a solid 5.10 crux section being avoidable through a 5.8 variant, this route should provide a great challenge for various skill levels with breathtaking views awaiting at the top.
Advanced: Climb the Castleton Tower
Even if you don’t know it by name, Castleton is the iconic tower that comes to mind when thinking about Moab. This 5.9+ memorable desert spire will challenge you both physically and mentally. Not only will you be getting a mean work out, your brain will have to wrap around an array of techniques. The exposure is superb, its cracks steep, and the views… unimaginable.
Meet your guide
Red River Adventures
1000% recommend. Even if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for on their website, give them a call!! They may be able to accommodate.
My girlfriend and I called Red River asking for a half-day of instruction for installing our own outdoor top-roping anchors for rock climbing. Even though that specific activity didn’t exist on the site, Carl happily agreed to teach us at a reasonable rate.
He met us in Wasatch and provided outstanding instruction. The whole experience was safe, educational, and a total delight. It was exactly what we were looking for.
Carl is a great teacher and a great guide to spend some time with. We highly recommend Red River Adventures.
Our guides was outstanding and we had a great time! Two adults and a 8 and 9 year old child. Morgan was able to keep us all going and challenged, he showed great patience with our kids and we all got some climbing in. Highly recommend it, they even provided all the equipment (helmets, harnesses, and climbing shoes).
We booked 3 trips with Red River Adventures while visiting Moab in August 2019. We were very fortunate to have the same guide for our family for each trip. A big shout out to Mary who made our trip so much fun. She made us feel right at home and her extensive knowledge not only of the area but her technical knowledge within each excursion (Canyoneering, Rafting and Rock Climbing) made us feel safe, secure and well instructed the entire time. Mary was patient and encouraging making sure we all had successes to celebrate! Mary took the time to explain everything she was doing and why she was doing it, then she had us practice and replicate the steps. That made us feel very confident especially during the rock climbing excursion. We had an awesome time and highly recommend Red River Adventures when visiting Moab.
Nik was awesome – super dialed systems, strong lead climber, and patient. We moved quickly and topped out in just over 2hrs from base to summit!
Things to know
Covid measures in Moab
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Moab, please refer to the Discover Moab website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
This is what you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, certified climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A half-day or full-day of guided rock climbing based on your chosen itinerary
- All technical climbing gear
- Transportation to and from the crags
What’s not included:
- Transportation to Moab
- Food and snacks
How fit do I need to be?
Save for a few routes, a high level of fitness is a must. Rock climbing is all about proper techniques, so you’ll want to be fit enough to balance your weight and perform long holds. You can count on these sport routes to push your limits, both physical and mental.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
A lot of the classic, most sought after spires are rated 5.9 and up, meaning beginners will have to gather some experience before attaining them. Hone your skills at Moab, the ideal classroom for rock climbing.
If you’re comfortable with 5.7s, your guide will hook you up with routes that will hone your technique and help you gain confidence on multi-pitch terrain. You’ll be getting an adventure catered to your capabilities — a perfect mix of relaxation and challenge, complete with striking views.
For intermediate to advanced climbers, Desert Towers have loads of routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.
What about required equipment?
All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
- Rock shoes* (included in the price, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Water bottle
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — optional
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- Group sizes are usually between 1–3 people with one guide, but you can also go with a larger group.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows for these private tours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
- Climbing days can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Climbers under the age of 18 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but a guardian will need to provide a signed waiver before an outing with the guide.
- For most options, kids aged 8 and up can go out and try climbing!
If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
The closest airport is in Grand Junction, about 100 miles from Moab. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to Moab, where you will meet your guide. Once you get to Moab, it’s about a 30-minute car ride to the desert.
If you don’t have transportation of your own from Moab, you can carpool to the Towers with your guide free of charge. If travelling with your own car, you’ll meet your guide at a predetermined location and follow them to the Desert Towers.
The exact climbing location will be discussed after booking, as guides make that decision after considering the skill level of the group and factors such as crag traffic and weather.