The RECTORY/NUNS (Castle Valley)
Route: Where Have All the Wild Things Gone (5.11, 3p)

TR #: 383

Category: Utah       Summit Elev: 6,565 ft       Rock Type: Wingate sandstone 

Partner: Mike Cichon

A backup adventure climb to the top of The Rectory. (Hey, no crowds at least!) 


Mike and I were on the way to climb for Thanksgiving week at Indian Creek, and we decided to stop on the way and climb something in the Moab area. The plan was Fine Jade on The Rectory. The Rectory is a formation just north of Castleton Tower in Castle Valley and Fine Jade is one of the best 5.11 crack climbs in the area. However, that also means it's one of the most popular climbs in the area.....When Mike and arrived at the base of the route at around noon, there were already three parties on the route and three more waiting in line at the base. No thanks....

So Mike and I scoured the guidebook for a route we could do to the top of The Rectory. We finally decided on Where Have All the Wild Things Gone, which climbs a corner system between The Nuns and The Rectory. It looked like it would be pretty good. Plus, it was sunny and required nothing larger than a #3 (the largest cam we had brought for Fine Jade).

The first pitch corner was indeed excellent. We patted ourselves on the back for choosing such an excellent (and uncrowded!) backup to Fine Jade. But the second pitch ended up being a bit spicier than we had anticipated, with lots of questionable holds and small gear in soft rock. Mike executed an excellent lead up this pitch, on-sighting all of the moves and getting us safely to the notch between The Nuns and The Rectory. It was a pretty memorable lead, I would say. We then continued up a dirty crack/chimney to the top of The Rectory, a not-so-stellar pitch that lost some holds during our ascent, but at least it got us to the top. One of the best parts of the climb was the summit romp, enjoying the 360° views lit up by the gorgeous afternoon light. Since we had only brought a single 70m rope, we decided to rappel Fine Jade and hike back to our packs, rather than risking the unknown of the Empirical Route raps. Fine Jade does look pretty darn awesome, so I will have to come back and climb it. Just not on a Fall weekend I guess. 

The following page gives a trip report for our adventurous ascent to the top of The Rectory.

(After climbing Where Have All the Wild Things Gone, Mike and I drove to Indian Creek, where we planned to spend the rest of Thanksgiving week. However, an unforecasted snowstorm deposited 5 inches of snow on us after the first day. So we drove back to Moab and cragged a day at Wall Street, and after that managed one more day in the Creek.)



Photo descriptions:
Hike up the Castleton trail and continue along the ridge between Castleton and The Rectory to the base of The Rectory. Fine Jade climbs the obvious splitter on the south prow. To get to the base of Where Have All the Wild Things Gone continue on a trail under the western walls of The Rectory to the north end, where The Nuns merges with The Rectory. The route starts in a corner just right of an obvious area of calcite.
1. Driving into Castle Valley area.
2. The parking area for Castleton and The Rectory.
3. The Rectory.
4. Fine Jade climbs the obvious south prow. You can see three parties on the route in the photo. There were three more at the base waiting. Popular route.
5. Where Have all the Wild Things Gone climbs the corner just right of the obvious swath of calcite.
6. Mike gearing up at the base of the route.

5.11. Climb the steep right-facing corner, hands to tight hands to off fingers. The climbing is great. Two new Metolius rap anchors at the belay. Rap back to the ground, or continue up if you are feeling adventurous and really want to tag the top.
7. Looking up the corner.
8. Mike starting up the left side of the pillar at the base of the corner. You can also climb the right side of this pillar.
9. Corner.
10. Looking down while following.
11. Nice new Metoliius rap anchors at the belay, to replace the old bolts.

12. Cool calcite deposit out left.
13. A view of Castleton out right.

5.11. Climb the various finger cracks, edges, and flakes. Continue all the way to the notch between The Nuns and The Rectory and set a gear belay. This is a long pitch. Note: We felt this was a slightly scary pitch requiring hard moves on questionable holds and small gear in soft rock. Mountianproject comments tend to agree, but the guidebook makes no mention of the headiness of this pitch. A memorable lead for sure!
14. Mike starting up the pitch. Nice lead Mike! This was memorable.
15. Higher up on the pitch.

5.9+. To get to the top of The Rectory from the notch between The Nuns and The Rectory, climb the last pitch of the Empirical Route. This pitch goes up the north face via a hand crack to a dirty chimney, with some offwidth exit moves (a #4 would be nice to have).
16. To last pitch of the Empirical Route follows the dirty chimney feature in the center of the photo.
17. Looking back at the traverse from the notch to the Empirical Route's final pitch. The Priest is the tower behind.
18. Looking up the dirty chimney. I had a few holds come off as I climbed this, but I was prepared for it so took no falls.
19. Sure would be nice to have brought a #4....
20. Mike nearing the top of the dirty chimney.

21. On top of The Rectory.
22. Late afternoon sun. 
23. The Priest glowing in the afternoon light. Sister Superior is in the distance.
24. Climbers topping out on The Priest after climbing Honeymoon Chimney. This route is on my to-climb list.
25. Castleton from the top of The Rectory.

Rap Empirical Route with 2 ropes or rap Fine Jade with a single 70 and walk back to packs. We rapped Fine Jade since we had only brought a single 70 and also figured the Empirical Route raps could be sort of an adventure since that route is probably not climbed too often.
26. The first rappel anchor on Fine Jade.
27. Looking down the top rappel anchor on Fine Jade.
28. Nice beefy Metolius rap bolts. 
29. A climber at the 5.11 crux on Pitch 3 of Fine Jade.
30. Castleton basking in the day's last rays of sun.
31. Sunset: 4.59 pm.