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Airport Tower (Canyonlands) facts for kids

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Airport Tower
Airport Tower from SW.jpg
Southwest aspect from White Rim Road
Highest point
Elevation 5,812 ft (1,771 m)
Prominence 732 ft (223 m)
Isolation 1.61 mi (2.59 km)
Parent peak Monster Tower (5,880 ft)
Airport Tower is located in Utah
Airport Tower
Airport Tower
Location in Utah
Airport Tower is located in the United States
Airport Tower
Airport Tower
Location in the United States
Location Canyonlands National Park
San Juan County, Utah, U.S.
Parent range Colorado Plateau
Topo map USGS Musselman Arch
Age of rock Late Triassic
Type of rock Wingate Sandstone
Easiest route class 5.10 A3 Climbing

Airport Tower is a 700-foot (210-meter) tall sandstone butte located in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, in San Juan County, Utah. It is situated 1.64 mile east of Washer Woman, which is a towering arch similar in height. Each are composed of Wingate Sandstone, which is the remains of wind-borne sand dunes deposited approximately 200 million years ago in the Late Triassic. The nearest higher neighbor is Monster Tower, 1.6 mi (2.6 km) to the west, Tiki Tower is one-half mile northwest, and Mesa Arch is situated 3.2 mi (5.1 km) to the west. A short hike to Mesa Arch provides the easiest view of Airport Tower. Access to this tower is via the four-wheel drive White Rim Road, which is another option to see Airport Tower. The top of this geological formation rises 1,400 feet above the road in less than one mile. Precipitation runoff from Airport Tower drains southeast into the nearby Colorado River via Buck and Lathrop Canyons. This geographical feature's name was officially adopted in 1986 by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. It was so named because the rock formation resembles the appearance of an airport control tower.


The first ascent of Airport Tower was made in July 1994 by Galen Howell, Sonja Paspal, and Steve Swanke, via Wind Shear (5.11, A1, 5 pitches).

The second ascent was made in September 1995 by Mike Baker and Leslie Henderson via Sky Pilot (IV 5.9 A3).

The first free ascent of Airport Tower was made in 1998 by Bret Ruckman and Marco Corncchione via Wind Shear (class 5.12a/b), calling it a five-star route.


Spring and fall are the most favorable seasons to visit Airport Tower. According to the Köppen climate classification system, it is located in a Cold semi-arid climate zone, which is defined by the coldest month having an average mean temperature below −0 °C (32 °F) and at least 50% of the total annual precipitation being received during the spring and summer. This desert climate receives less than 10 inches (250 millimeters) of annual rainfall, and snowfall is generally light during the winter.


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