July, '04

S-Crack Direct in Little Cottonwood Canyon with Ian

    It was a simple plan, we were going to climb the longest route in Little Cottonwood Canyon. We left Logan at 5am and drove to Salt Lake wondering which would be worse, the 5.11 crux or the runout 5.9 friction near the top? It didn't matter really, we had reached that point where we knew we were going to try.

    As it turned out, the crux was beyond our free climbing abilities that day, even on toprope. It was an easy aid pitch though and I don't really think about it when I remember this climb. What I do remember is the 5.8 poorly protected chimney pitch just below.  This has a lot to do with the fact that I fell out of it and took a 20 foot ride scraping my wrist along the way.  Bummer.

    More spectacular climbing which included the "s-crack" pitch,  a really fun 5.6 pitch of steep jugs,  and two dicey friction pitches took us up to the summit block which we climbed with a rope. It was hard to believe that we were standing on top of a 9-pitch route in Little Cottonwood Canyon but we were and it felt good. The descent took a while but passed smoothly and we were soon driving home to Logan perfectly contented.


Ian above the 5.8 chimney on pitch two. George Lowe was a bad ass if he thought that was 5.8!

Ian approaching the 5.11 crux of the route which, of course, we aided. :)

But not before we both tried to climb through the thing. Here is Ian on lead still thinking it might be possible. It was quite hard even on toprope.

A wide angle view of the long and beautiful 4th pitch. This is the crack that actually forms the "S" after which the route was named.

Ian approaching the flaring and awkward crux of this pitch which was again rated 5.8. This was a more accurate rating than the chimney below.

It still had it's moments though right at the end of the rope length. Here Ian ponders which sequence offers the most hope.

Success!  And what a beautiful hold to finish the pitch... for more than 100 feet below, there had not been one positive hold, just a flayred crack.

Higher on the route, there are multiple friction pitches which felt spicy enough with the spacious bolting.

Hanging out at belay in the middle of the two friction pitches.

Enjoying the view down to the Salt Lake valley after 9 pitches of varied and remarkable climbing.

Taking a break and enjoying the day on top.

On the descent from The Thumb.

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