THERE IS NO CASTLETON TOWER
(Department of Lost Causes)
Larry Hamilton, December 2002
On USGS topographic maps, the striking formation that climbers call "Castleton Tower" has always been identified as "Castle Rock" (or more poetically, "The Castle"). Nearby are Castle Valley and Castle Creek, and there once was a small settlement named "Castleton." Obviously, the town of Castleton, like the creek and the valley, was named after the Castle. Illogically, climbers have looped back to call the tower itself "Castleton." That is, they've named the tower after the town named after the tower. This travesty notwithstanding, it's a fine thing to climb.
Below: Steve Wunsch meditates on the summit after an early ascent of "Castleton Tower" (1971); and the following day leads an unprotected offwidth on North Sixshooter Peak.
When Steve Wunsch and I made our ascent in 1971, we
found just a handful of names in the summit register --
about equal numbers of famous climbers and helicopter
passengers. A few Kor bathtub bolts marked the route, and
we scrupulously declined to add more. One slide in my
collection still alarms me: I shot the picture while looking
down as Steve began to rappel off a single 1/4" bolt. Only a
short sling with the ropes is attached to this bolt; I had
unclipped from the anchor myself, so as not to follow him
overboard should the damn thing pull out.
Larry Hamilton climbing page