Ataxia tower - 5235' - Ashtar command class 5.9
HEADACHE route PAGE ON SP
Jacob and I went to Zion in March of 2013 to try our luck with some multi-pitch climbing. On our third day we met up with Dow who offered to climb The Headache with us. Although Dow led this for us, It still stands as one of my all time favorite climbs as it's a perfect handcrack the entire way for three full pitches. This climb is located just above the Mount Carmel Tunnel and one of the area classics. Photos from this climb are also shown below.
After this climb, Dow told us we should climb Ashtar Command, a 5.9 two pitch climb up Ataxia Tower located right above the last switchback before the Tunnel. So the next day this is what we set out to do. It's only a 5 minute hike off the highway to the base of the route. I led the first 5.7 trad pitch which followed a low angle hand crack with abundant face holds in the form of big flakes. Jacob followed and continued up the second pitch which is a sport climb with bolts spaced quite a ways apart. He started up by first traversing well to the right then rounding a corner and continuing up on the arete facing Mount Spry (shown in the photo at left). This pitch was very exposed and many tourists were watching us from the road below.
Finally Jacob yelled "off belay" and I climbed the pitch which was just beautiful. Perfect crimping holds with lots of air! I reached his anchor and we scrambled an additional 10 feet and stood on top of my first desert tower. The view was beautiful and since the tower is on the east side of the high cliffs above Zion Canyon, we were nicely in the shade. Three rappels on bolted anchors got us back to the ground.