Trip Report > “You’ll Really Dig This Place”

The Oracle is a 700-foot pile of mud in the Fisher Towers, Utah. Being around 20 feet thick, the formation defies all laws of physics and gravity.

My good friends, Joe and Keiko, invited me to climb it with them.

“You’ll really dig this place.” They told me.

And I did. Literally.

Fisher Towers aid routes

Joe carefully excavated a passage up the first pitch until a giant mud-curtain halted progress. With no gear to stop a ground-fall, he balanced up on sandy smears and hooked a fairly solid plate of clay.

Aid climbs Fisher Towers

It broke.

Aid routes Fisher Towers

But he stayed in balance. He poked a beak behind a reasonably well attached mud-block...

Fisher Towers aid routes

... which disintegrated.

Fisher Towers big wall aid climbing

He stepped down.

But slipped on some sand and began to toboggan down a mud-ramp.

Fisher Towers big wall climbing

Somehow, he arrested the fall by getting his foot stuck in a crumbly crack.

Big wall climbing Fisher Towers

I reluctantly took over the vertical mud-swim.

Fisher Towers Big Wall

I pushed a beak into a neat constriction.

Aid climbs in the Fisher Towers

It didn’t work.

Aid climbing Oracle Fisher Towers

I placed a cam in a bomber part of the mud-curtain.

Fisher Towers Oracle aid climb

It didn’t work. Nothing would work.

I whimpered to the ground.

Fisher Towers Oracle

Joe and I made excuses...

Fisher Towers rock climbing

... while Keiko zoomed up the pitch.

Rock climbing Fisher Towers

And so began our journey up a gigantic pile of hardened cake-mix.

We ate some nice food...

Climbing Fisher Towers

... and climbed some classic pitches.

Aid climbing Fisher Towers

One pitch involved tunnelling through a mud chamber.

Another followed a mud-filled crack, where the mud in the crack was actually harder than the surrounding rock.

Aid routes in the Fisher Towers

On the crux aid pitch, Joe scratched the tip of a tiny beak into a mud-dimple. It was one of the most ridiculous aid-placements I've ever seen.

He attached his aiders and gingerly balanced upwards.

He then placed another beak tip in another mud dimple.

Fisher Towers aid climbing

And another. And another. And another. Hours passed.

He ended up climbing the entire pitch only using beaks, exhausting our almost infinite supply.

Fisher Towers aid climb

After a while, we couldn’t tell what was mud...

... and what was poo.

Fisher Towers rock climbing

We eventually arrived at the summit...

Aid Climbing in the Fisher Towers

.... two days late for work.

The Fisher Towers are still standing. They’re waiting for more ascents. Adventure is guaranteed. I highly recommend climbing there, if you like getting dirty too.

Climbing in the Fisher Towers

Route Information: Beaking in Tongues, The Oracle (V, A4). First Ascent: Steve "Crusher" Bartlett and Dave Levine, April 1997. This is the only route on the main Fisher Towers with no lead bolts, rivets or enhanced placements. It’s awesome. Climb it.

Buy VDiff a coffee

Like this story? Support VDiff by downloading an e-book, or buy me a coffee. Your donation keeps this website running, and means I can have more epics and write more stories.

- Neil Chelton
VDiff Founder

Related Articles