Climbing the Priest, Castle Valley, Utah

Climbing the Priest

The Priest is an amazing formation in a stunning landscape, says photographer Jeremiah Watt, who took this photo of climber Madaleine Sorkin on the Excommunication route of the Priest, a freestanding tower in Castle Valley, Utah.  Watt had climbed in the area previously and was psyched to return to photograph for work.  The most surprising part of the climb is how short the route really is.  It’s technically rated one of the hardest towers in the country and is wicked imposing from the base.  But in reality it’s only three pitches of hard climbing with a short, moderate pitch to the summit, recalls Watt.

Getting the Shot

To get the shot, Watt tied himself into an anchor about 20 feet above Sorkin and rappelled off the top of the route where it leaves the arête and moves right into a crack.  We bivied on the ledge below Castleton that night in horrendous wind, but this shoot went really smooth thanks to the hard work and camaraderie of the crew.

Watt photographed with a Nikon D800 and f/4,16-35mm lens.

Find more of Watt’s photography on Instagram

Select the photo for the large version.