Monday, November 30, 2015

Loving the Granite of Little Cottonwood Canyon

I've arrived back in England so now I've got some time to do some retro-posts from my time in the States.  I'll start out with some pictures from Utah's beloved Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Hope you enjoy.......

Little Cottonwood Canyon seems to be one of those areas you either love or hate (for the record I lean heavily towards loving it).  This boulder strewn canyon is located just 20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and is a huge selling point for climbers that move to the city.  Regardless of whether or not you think LCC is destination worthy, there is no denying that is would be a phenomenal place to have as your local haunt.  

Little Cottonwood of course refers to the entire canyon but the bouldering is actually quite varied depending on which of the many sectors you visit.  The entrance to the canyon provides climbing at lower elevation for the colder/snowy months and the alpine areas high up provide a respite from the sweltering summer months.  You can even optimize temps by choosing either the sunny or shady side of the canyon and if you really want to get nerdy you can select you area by the rock itself as the granite can vary between areas.  

The climbing itself tends to cater to more technical climbers and it helps to be good at mantling as crux lip encounters are common and many a strong gym-rat have left the area with their egos slightly bruised (this also might explain why some folks don't like the area).  That said, the bouldering is pretty extensive so I'm sure you can find something to fit you style....... 

Here are some photos

Located at the Secret Garden sector, Copperhead is a crimpy test-piece on one of Little Cottonwood's best boulders.  It essentially boils down to bearing down on the sharp crimp Ann is reaching for in the picture.  I actually never thought I'd do this problem but having done all the other straight-ups I figured I'd give it a shot and miraculously found myself on the top.  Sometimes I surprise myself.  

Elizabeth stares down the crux of Lance's Dihedral.  This problem is on the same boulder as Copperhead and is not to be missed if visiting the area.

Dain give St Nicholas a raspberry.  Also at the Secret Garden this problem comes highly recommended and is one of the first problems I'll go back to when visiting the area.  Unfortunately I don't have a photo that shows the problem better so you'll have to settle for Dain looking swoll.  

The Round Room is a hidden gem that is worth seeking out.  This gentle scoop requires some technique to make the use of non-holds and is fun for the whole family......unless you are short, in which case you'll find yourself reduced to tears.

Another angle of Kyle on The Round Room just reaching for the crux move.

Bronson Arete at the Riverside area is one of my favorites.  In this shot Noki sets up for the big move out right, which he was just able to span. 

Austin on Bronson Arete

Also at the Riverside area is Alzheimers.  There are two solutions to the crux final move and Carrie opts for the heel-hook right hand up method instead of the deadpoint/dyno with the left hand.  Both options are hard and it's just a matter of what fits you better.

One of my favorite problems from this trip was the tricky Gerbils.  While it might not look like much this problem packs a considerable amount of climbing into its two moves and should be a rite of passage for folks hoping to master the subtleties of Little Cottonwood.  Tommy trying to find balance for the reach to the lip.

Just to the right of Gerbils is Duct Tape.  It is also a two move problem but of a very different style from Gerbils.  You do get to use this amazing sloper and hope it provides enough purchase to do the dyno crux.

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