Utah is finally starting to cool down, so before the real climbing season starts, I figured I’d sum up my summer climbing trips.
Many of my rock climbing friends here in SLC moved away this summer, so it made trips out of town a little harder to make.
I recently started climbing outside with one of my friends Paul, who is super strong! We climb at about the same level and we’re both shorties too so he’s a great partner to have. I think it takes a little pressure off my girlfriend, Jacey, who doesn’t climb as strong and for a while, was my only climbing partner.
I have been super focused on bouldering for the past few seasons, so I wanted to try and take it a little easier on my fingers and work a little more on my endurance.
The perfect place for this is Maple Canyon. Long lines up great holds create amazing routes that test your endurance. I’ve always felt I was a strong boulderer, but it was a humbling experience to get shut down by some 12’s!
I started putting some effort into an amazing 12b king line called Power Trip. It lies just past the Orangutan wall up Left Fork. Power Trip traverses left along a giant crack through some of the steepest rock in the canyon. Took a bunch of falls figuring out the crux, but I was able to figure the whole route so hopefully I can come back for the red point next time.
There is so much diversity at Maple Canyon. You can get a very “gym-like” experience at many of the crags like Orangutan and Pipeline at Left Fork, or Minimum and Pipedream up Right Fork. If you’re feeling up for an adventure, you can try your hand at one of the many multi-pitch sport routes scattered all throughout the canyon.
Long routes and short routes, jug hauls and crimp fests, low angle and overhanding- Maple Canyon has it all.
We had never led any multi-pitch routes, so this year we finally geared up and gave it a try. I’ve always had a fear of heights, and dangling by some webbing 150′ off the deck has never sounded appealing to me, but to my surprise, I absolutely loved the exposure!
Many of the multi-pitch routes at Maple are 5.10 and easier, so its been a lot of fun covering tons of distance on mellow routes.
The people behind bolting these routes have spectacular vision and bolted some super classic lines. My favorite so far is called Tachycardia. Its a rough scramble to approach the climb, but the work it takes to get there only makes the summit better.
The first pitch takes you 40m up a low angle slab which already offers a little exposure and a stunning view of the canyon below. Pitch two is more of the same and takes you to a belay station below a bulge. Pitch 3 is easily one of the best pitches bolted in the entire canyon. Massive exposure right away as you start with a boulder problem as you navigate the starting bulge. Once you establish yourself on better ground, you make your way to the arete on the left. An extremely airy section of climbing follows as you turn the corner and suddenly the bulge you are on causes the rock beneath you to disappear from view and you’re left with 150 feet of space. No longer being able to see the belayer also adds to the feel of exposure as you climb the final headwall.
Another multi-pitch route that I became an instant fan of is called Exit Wound. The first 5.8 pitch is long “fin” and gets steeper the higher you go with perfect holds and good movement the whole time. At the top, you notice that the fin is detached from the next pitch, and you have to step over a gap to get to the next belay station. Whether you go feet or hands first is up to you, its scary either way, but pretty entertaining. This short pitch ends once you mantel up onto a ledge named Camp Blessing. This is the best place to relax during the climb since the summit a small and awkward space. The last pitch is a short, entertaining boulder problem that’s quite short but only v1/5.10. Enjoy the view from the top. Exit Wound is one of the furthest climbs up the canyon so the view is amazing!
We have been able to make a few trips down to Joe’s Valley when we saw the temperatures cool off a little. Often times it was still quite hot and we were chasing shade for the best conditions. Never the less, boulders were sent and fun was had. Early in the summer i managed to repeat Baldwin Bash, a v7 in Dairy Canyon. Throughout most of the summer the most tolerable place to spend the days are high up in Right Fork, and we spent some time walking around trying to find other new problems that we had yest to climb.
Most recently, I was able to send Lowtide, a hard v6 technical lip traverse up nasty slopers. I had worked on it for a little while a previous trip, but was able to send it first try on my most recent trip.
We’ve also been trying to climb around Salt Lake, but the heat here is hard to deal with, especially when you’re trying to climb on the slick granite boulders here. Driving up the canyon a few miles takes you to higher ground and cooler conditions though, and we were able to spend an afternoon climbing up at the White Pine area, among the giant boulders in the talus field. We had a few friends come up so the extra pads were perfect creating safe landing zones between the jagged rocks.
I had never climbed on some of the boulders in the upper talus field so it was an awesome experience. After warming up, we went to the Party Pit area, home of some classic LCC problems. Since it was a sunny and warm day, we found shade under the Party Pit Roof, a v6 roof problem halfway over a death-pit and a back breaking rock- Classic LCC problem.
We hiked a little further up the talus field to find the Tequila Sunset boulder. This block has one stunning line up the right side and is probably one of my hardest sends in the canyon so far, even though the guidebooks give it a modest v5. Great movement on perfectly sculpted holds up rock covered in a beautiful orange lichen. One more classic problem ticked off the list!
Now that things are starting to cool down a little, we’ll be making plenty of trips down to Joe’s and Ibex for more bouldering. Conditions up Little Cottonwood are also getting better, so I’ll be making a few more trips up there too before the snow starts to fall.