Rain Heavily Damages Castleton Trail

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Castleton Tower

A cloudburst on August 7 has badly damaged the climbers’ trail to the base of Castleton Tower, the iconic sandstone pinnacle near Moab, Utah. Approximately two inches of rain fell in less than an hour, wiping out portions of the steep approach trail that threads through scree and cliff bands. Last week a guide reportedly had to short-rope his clients across a now-dangerous traverse near the top of the trail.

Dave Erley of Utah Open Lands, which has managed the campground at the base of the popular tower in recent years, has marked the route of the old trail with pink flagging, and he asked climbers to stick closely to this route until the trail can be rebuilt. The trail route was carefully planned to avoid colonies of endangered plants that grow on the scree slopes below Castleton.

An Adopt-a-Crag event slated for October 24–26 at Castleton Tower is now likely to be dedicated to rebuilding the trail, with support from the Access Fund, the American Alpine Club, and Utah Open Lands. Erley urged climbers to volunteer that weekend; donations for the trail rebuilding effort will be solicited soon.

In the meantime, he said, climbers should try to avoid descending the washed-out trail from Castleton in darkness or storms.

Date of Storm: August 7, 2008

Dates of Adopt-a-Crag Event: October 24–26, 2008

Source: Dave Erley

Castle Valley from the Colorado River. Castleton Tower is the spire on the left. Photo by Luke Laeser.

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