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Finding a climbing adventure you’ll enjoy in the Utah Valley is easier than you think, no matter your experience or skill level. Whether you’re bouldering through Rock Canyon or scaling limestone walls in American Fork Canyon, there are a few things you should know about rock climbing in the Utah Valley.
Know where to go: Rock Canyon
In both real estate and climbing, location is everything. Luckily, the Utah Valley is home to some of the best rock climbing in the state. In Provo, rock climbing is primarily found in Rock Canyon, the canyon offers nearly 500 routes, ranging from “quartzite rocks that offer some fun, challenging little edgy climbs, as well as a whole host of big juggy climbs,” according to provo.org.
Some of the canyon’s most famous spots are the ACDC Wall, which includes several bolted routes depending on your skill level and desired difficulty level.
However, the most popular rock in the canyon is The Kitchen. The site has a particularly easy access; In fact, you can park in the Canyon’s main parking lot. Routes to The Kitchen vary from 5.4 to 5.10, all within a 20ft alcove
Knowing where to go: American Fork Canyon
More experienced climbers will flock to American Fork Canyon, where steep limestone is the main attraction. The most popular – and most difficult – place in the canyon for climbers is Hell Cave. The “great, smoke-stained cavern is the heart of the Helllands and features many radically steep classics.” Hell Cave features 13 climbs ranging from 5.7 to 5.11
Outside the Hell area you will find dozens of climbs. In fact, there are more than 150 routes in American Fork Canyon. To get the most out of the classic, notched limestone, head over to Mountain Project for a comprehensive list of the most popular and highly rated routes.
Photo: Explore the Utah Valley
Getting the season right
While rock climbing is always a good idea during the sunny spring and summer months, don’t let the cold keep you off the rocks. If you have the skills, consider taking on world-famous ice climbing at Provo Canyon—a canyon that Ascentionism.com calls “the state’s ice-climbing mecca.”
Provo Canyon has ice climbs for everyone, from WI-2 routes, perfect for beginners, to the more treacherous Stairway to Heaven.
Find the right team
While rock climbing can be a sport in its own right, there’s a lot to be said for finding the right climbing partner or team – after all, your team is literally there to help you stay alive. Sport Rock offers some pointers when it comes to determining desired characteristics in a climbing partner. First, they need to pay attention to detail – especially when it comes to security. You also want someone who is willing to use safety commands, has excellent knot tying and belaying skills, and someone who can step up in stressful situations.
Of course, having a good time is also important, so make sure your team includes people you know and like.
Photo: Explore the Utah Valley
From sheer limestone to world-famous ice, rock climbing in the Utah Valley is an epic adventure. But whatever your experience and skill level, safety is always paramount. Most climbers understand the basics of climbing safety, but if you could use a refresher (and most people could), Trip Savvy has a high-level checklist to ensure you don’t overlook an important safety practice.
For example, always wear a helmet when rock climbing—in or out of the Utah Valley. Also, always check your straps and knots and those of your partner or team.
Using the right ropes and always keeping your head while climbing is also crucial. And of course always take enough – and suitable – equipment with you for your trip.
When you’re ready for another epic climbing season, it begins in the Utah Valley. For more information, see Explore Utah Valley.