American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Various Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

Little Cottonwood Canyon, Various Ascents. The most significant new climbs in recent years have mostly been slabs put up in traditional groundup style. Chris Begue put up Bright Shining Lie (5.11c) and Cold Blue Steel (5.10c) by hand, on lead, in the early 1990s. These routes, and Chris's style, were an inspiration. That inspiration led me to create Dancing in the Moonlight (5.9+, 400 feet), De Opresso Liber (5.10d), and Home of the Brave (5.11d R) in 1993 and 1994. John Maddux and John Hansen also put up some slab routes on lead. The most notable of their efforts was Acapulco Arête (5.10c) in the Altered States Gully. Meanwhile, Johnny Woodward climbed one of the most difficult cracks in the United States. Trench Warfare (5.12d+) is a relatively short off-width hand crack that continually climbs through a roof. This is located down canyon at the Hanging Slab Area. To date it has still not seen a second ascent. Mike Pennings and John Meisler put up an incredible alpine route in Hogum Fork in August of 1993 called Hogum's Heroes (IV 5.11c). James Garrett calls it "The Walker Spur of the Wasatch." The Gate Buttress even saw some action last year. It took 23 years and four different teams to finally link up a route directly to the middle of the Gate Buttress. The result is being called The Gate Direct (5.12a or 5.10d A1). The first section of this beautiful friction line is a new route I put up on lead in May. The new route, Talus Food (5.12a), is essentially a direct start to Mind Blow. When combined with Mind Blow (Houser, Downs, 1972), The Hook Variation (Unknown FA) and The Hook Direct (Stump, Roberts, 1977) it becomes a perfectly straight, 300-foot slab route that was all drilled on lead.

Also of note is an exhaustive project taken up by John Hansen and me. We have replaced over 400 quarter-inch bolts in Little Cottonwood Canyon that were originally placed some 20 to 30 years ago. No bolts have been added en route and all expenses have been out of our pockets. Several of these routes were grade III and IV, requiring a significant effort on our part. The most significant of these routes include: The Standard Thumb, The S-Direct, Plum Line, The Viewing, Exsqueeze Me, State of Confusion, Intensive Care, and Bald Headed Babies.

Tony Calderone

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