Lotus Flower Tower and The Cirque of the Unclimbables

Lotus Flower Tower

Nahanni National Park Reserve

Northwest Territories, Canada

Lotus Flower Tower is the crown jewel of the Cirque of the Unclimbables and one fine night upon sunset, down on Bikini Beach in Vancouver BC, I met a man that had climbed the Lotus Flower Tower to the summit. This distinguished rock climber shared his captured photos on his phone and told us the most amazing story, that I will never forget because you need to understand how remote this place is.

A legendary bush pilot owns the camp where the team of 3 rock climbers had to wait 10 days just to get a weather window, then a hair-raising float plane landing and drop-off, to an almost Juraisic Park type of setting. Totally mystical. They had 8 days to summit and return, the most amazing achievement.

Can you see the climber on the wall? click for full size. Image by Aaron Formella

The Bush pilot helped the young athletes by letting them stay at the resort and arrived right on time and with a case of cold beer and sandwiches to celebrate the victory, then harrowing, death deifying takeoff against the wind and weather, to fly back to the very remote lodge. It’s the love of the sport of rock climbing that has inspired the legendary bush pilot to continue operating the lodge, which also caters to sports fishermen but it’s the climbers paradise.

Below is the description from Mountain Project also check out the information about The Cirque of the Unclimbables

The crazy thing is that the other 4 climbs, since the total is 5 to conquer the complete Cirque of the Unclimbables, which I was told was discovered by Royal Robbins, are beyond the Lotus Flower Tower. To reach the base of the other 4 mountains you must go completely around and past the base of the first mountain, this requires twice the provisions and one of the mountains requires inflatable rafting to approach the base (after days of hiking in).

Royal Robbins (February 3, 1935 – March 14, 2017) was one of the pioneers of American rock climbing. After learning to climb at Tahquitz Rock, he went on to make first ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite. As an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing, he, along with Yvon Chouinard, was instrumental in changing the climbing culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s by encouraging the use and preservation of the natural features of the rock. He went on to become a well-known kayaker.

Mountain Project Provide the Following for Rock Climbers

Elevation:8,334 ft
GPS:62.113, -127.696 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views:94,502 total · 529/month
Shared By:Jay Knower on Jan 7, 2007 · Updates
Admins:Braden Batsford
Source: Mountain Project


Lotus Flower Tower is one of the most distinct pieces of rock geometry on the planet. Since it’s inclusion in the Fifty Classic Climbs book, 9 out of 10 climbers who go to the Cirque are intent on climbing Lotus Flower Tower. And rightfully so, as it’s most popular route, The Great Line, is absolutely that. Other routes also climb the face but no one ever does them.

Getting There

From Fairy Meadows, walk to the base of the tower. A snow field must be crossed en route, but it’s not much of an issue. It’s about an hour hike from base camp to route.

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