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Big Cottonwood Canyon

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Above and Beyond Wall 
Ambush Wall 
Aqueduct Area, The 
Art Major Wall 
Autumnal Wall 
Back of Beyond 
Battalion of Saints Wall 
Beachball Crag 
Beer Belly Buttress 
Brighton's Frighton Wall 
Broads Fork 
Burnt Wall, The 
Caesar's Palace 
Challenge Buttress 
Chips Wall 
Choss Garden 
Creekside Crag 
Dark Star Gully 
Dead Snag, The 
Dogwood Crag 
Face to Face 
Geezer Wall 
Generator Ribs 
Glass Ocean and Environs 
Gully of Higher Education 
Half Moon Rock 
Intruder Wall, The 
Inversion Therapy Wall 
Lone Pine Wall 
Lonely Challenge Wall 
Lonesome Buttress 
Margin for Air Wall and Environs 
Millstone, The 
Mineral Fork 
Molar, The 
Moss Ledges 
Mt. Raymond Slabs 
Mule Hollow Wall 
Narcolepsy Area 
Native American Crag 
Penguin, The 
Penitentiary Wall 
Powder Ridge Wall 
Power Plant 
Red Rock Wall 
Rolling Stone Area 
Rush Wall 
Salt Lake Slips 
Seldom Scene Gully 
Shady Lane 
Short Steep Stuff 
Silver Fork East Face 
Silver Fork West Facing 
Speed Trap, The 
Standard Ridge 
Storm Mountain Picnic Area 
Strone Crag 
Talk Buttress 
Tear Garden 
Treadmill Wall 
Tree Trimmer Wall 
Vector Madness Wall 
Water Crest Wall 
Wave Wall, The 
Wedge, The 
Wolverine Cirque 
Wrenched Ones 
Yellow Peril Wall 

Big Cottonwood Canyon Rock Climbing 

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Location: 40.6193, -111.789 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Eric Jacobsen on May 6, 2003
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Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, in 1869. A man can be...


Of the two Cottonwood canyons, BCC is the lesser-known, despite its amazing climbing. There are hundreds of routes on dozens of crags scattered throughout the length and on either side of the canyon.

Climbing is primarily on quartzite, which tends to be slippery and hard; however, the quartzite also offers numerous holds jutting out at all angles. Because protection may be more difficult in quartzite than in the granite of LCC, BCC has more sport routes than LCC, but the majority of BCC routes are trad climbs.

Some of the picnic areas have entrance fees.

Ice Climbing 

There are a handful of ice routes in Big Cottonwood. Almost all of them are on the north side of the canyon and receive a lot of sunlight so they don't often come in really fat.

When the lines do come in, however, it makes for some enjoyable climbing. Probably not recommended for beginners because the routes are mostly thin, but during a fat year one can find an occasional short climb with top rope potential.

BCC ice generally comes in late and leaves early.

Getting There 

Big Cottonwood Canyon climbs east out of Salt Lake City at about 7200 South. From the north, take the I-215 loop to Exit 6, the 6200 South exit.

Head east on Hwy 190, following signs to the ski areas of BCC (Solitude and Brighton). Turn left on Fort Union Blvd, which heads up into the canyon.

From the west, 7200 South becomes Fort Union. From the south, follow Wasatch Blvd and turn right on Fort Union.

Climbing Season

Weather station 0.4 miles from here

648 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',14],['3 Stars',175],['2 Stars',316],['1 Star',137],['Bomb',3]

Classic Climbing Routes in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Big Cottonwood Canyon:
Steorts' Ridge   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   The Dead Snag
Italian Arete   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Sport, 2 pitches, 160'   Salt Lake Slips
Outside Corner   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   JHCOB Wall
Eleventh Hour   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 530'   Sundial
Glass Ocean   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Glass Ocean and Environs
Coral Bells Arete   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Challenge Buttress : East Face
Hollow Man   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Challenge Buttress : North and West Faces
High Dive   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Glass Ocean and Environs
Dream Slate   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Narcolepsy Area
Witchhunt   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Salt Lake Slips
Chambered Nautilus   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Challenge Buttress : East Face
Better than Bitter   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Challenge Buttress : North and West Faces
The Fools Progress   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 180'   Back of Beyond : Dark West Face
Psychobabble   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Storm Mountain Picnic Area : Psychobabble Wall
Ribbon in the Sky   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Beer Belly Buttress
Goodro's Wall   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   Storm Mountain Picnic Area : Storm Mountain Island
Reasoning With The Unreasonable   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Red Rock Wall
Black Monday   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   S-Curves : S-Curve - Lower
Stone Ground   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Millstone
Cross-Eyed and Painless   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Dogwood Crag
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Featured Route For Big Cottonwood Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: From the anchors on "Sands of time". In ...

The Sands of Time 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  UT : Wasatch Range : ... : Mule Hollow Wall
This route is located thirty feet to the left of Ravages of time. Climb what looks to be the smoothest section of the wall. Small edges and some high steppin past seven bolts brings one up to a two bolt belay.The rock quality is superb! Enjoy!...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of Big Cottonwood Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Bone Yard Crag me on Bat Bone 5 11-
Bone Yard Crag me on Bat Bone 5 11-
Rock Climbing Photo: Zak Gerhardt on Herbalicious Bone Yard Crag 5 10d
Zak Gerhardt on Herbalicious Bone Yard Crag 5 10d
Rock Climbing Photo: This shot was taken near the intersection at the m...
BETA PHOTO: This shot was taken near the intersection at the m...
Rock Climbing Photo: Merrill Bitter high above it all on Conferring wit...
Merrill Bitter high above it all on Conferring wit...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sundial Peak July 2012.  Trip report:
Sundial Peak July 2012. Trip report:
Rock Climbing Photo: Crag Thug Life
Crag Thug Life
Rock Climbing Photo: From the top of Mt. Olympus, 2001. (Major two cany...
From the top of Mt. Olympus, 2001. (Major two cany...
Rock Climbing Photo: Storm Mountain circa August 2013
Storm Mountain circa August 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: topping out on sundial peak
topping out on sundial peak
Rock Climbing Photo: Sundial Peak July 2012.  Trip report:
Sundial Peak July 2012. Trip report:
Rock Climbing Photo: Skinning up to Willow Lake.
Skinning up to Willow Lake.

Comments on Big Cottonwood Canyon Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 28, 2016
By worfeus
Mar 4, 2006
I explored and climbed most of the crags from 5-3 to 5-11 + in Salt Lake for a full 10 years. During that time I had the best climbing days of my life in Big Cottonwood Canyon, meeting and climbing with some of the great old timers like Jerry Stovall, Stan Cantrell, Merrill Bitter, Gordon Douglass, Bobbie Bensmen and others.

They were great times, and the routes are some of the best juggy nobby quartzite sport and trad routes you can imagine, all in a beautiful accessible location.

You can't beat Big Cottonwood in this lowly climbers opinion.
By willsnow
From: park city
Aug 5, 2010
NO DOGS IN BCC!! its salt lake city watershed and i guess the water treatment plants cant handle dog pee. leave the pooch at home or in the car
By Fast_Eddie.
Aug 23, 2010
Its not the dog pee, but the crypto that some dog/human crap carries--Dog in watershed=class B misdemeanor citation=$1850.00.
By steve edwards
From: SLC, UT
Nov 8, 2010
Apparently they'll cite dogs in the car, too, though it would be hard to stick in the summer when BCC is a through road to Park City. But in winter they do look for dogs sitting in cars and ticket because, again apparently, they have been able to get away with it. The entire situation in these canyons is horseshit. “Keep it pure”?! Are they out of their fucking minds or just trying to jack off the community so they can continually develop?

Let's be honest, a dog creates about a million times less pollutants than any single car and/or construction project in BCC. The treatment plant doesn't account for dog shit? Umm, yeah.... It appears some of you are drinking the Kool-Aid. It's all a bunch of ridiculous low hanging fruit BS that comes about because it's a lot easier to get people to banish dogs than confine construction, commuting, and/or recreation. And it doesn't do a damn thing for the environment.

All you dipshits who support this should consider that the very next piece of low hanging fruit is climbers. Sure, you say, how much damage could we be doing compared to, oh, say cars or developers or picnickers throwing trash all over and cleaning diapers in the creek et al? And the answer is absolutely none. But that is not the issue in who gets restricted next. The issue is funds, or funding, and we are next in line because, well, Jackie Treehorn draws a lot of water in this community and you don’t draw shit. So before you acquiesce to some sort of “environmental” mandate consider the actual facts (crypto?!!, what in God’s name are you blathering about? Yeah, none of those picnicker/skier/hikers are dishing out any of that.) and then contemplate why, in fact, this is happening. Then perform you activist duty accordingly.

I’m from California where, in many instances where I’ve worked on access far too late, we’ve lost it because of some bullshit reason where every single amount of scientific evidence points in our direction but we simply had the least influence. Conversely, I’ve been on the winning side in many situations where I’ve approached land use management earlier enough to get the rules written in our favor. The latter situations are not necessarily better for anything—especially environmental—than the former; I’ve simply been there first and held my ground as opposed to situations where they’ve pointed fingers at a group with little money and influence (think Cave Rock).

If you want to continue to climb in these canyons I suggest that you stop behaving like spineless dweebs. Get aggro and stand your ground. We have rights to recreate in the open space that we pay for and don’t need to act like schmucks who are willing to be pushed around.
By Brianm
Jun 11, 2011
I've noticed while perusing for sport routes in BCC that the search for "sport routes" turn up a lot of routes whose description says certain trad gear is needed.

Some say optional, but a surprising number just list gear. Why is that classified as a sport route?

Is it possible to climb these with draws only? Is it run out without gear? A more thorough explanation would help.

By grk10vq
Jun 11, 2011
When a new route is entered, you can check off TRAD/SPORT/TOPROPE or any combination of the three. Chances are, which ever routes you selected may not have been checked off as TRAD/SPORT when entered. That being said, if they were properly checked off as TRAD/SPORT, when you do a search for SPORT, all routes checked off as SPORT or TRAD/SPORT come up in the search.

Too many routes come to mind, but most of the mixed routes in BCC will require gear if listed.
By chadhut
Jun 14, 2012
Quick question. I saw a climb today just to the right (West) of narcolepsy at the top of the the loose rock that goes down to the road. Anyone know what the name of that climb is? I added a photo if that helps.
Rock Climbing Photo: Whats this climb called up Big Cottonwood?
Whats this climb called up Big Cottonwood?
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Jun 14, 2012
JHCOB Wall - Outside Corner
By Peter Hayes
Jul 28, 2012
Another route in the area, Steort's Ridge, is one of the premiere multi-pitch climbs in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and it is popular because of the terrific exposure, the variety of skills called upon and the excellent is THE stand-out route on the crag. Consequently, many parties are forced to retreat when weather comes in, or when one in the party is over their head. Currently, there are no fixed rap stations (paired bolts with chains) on the route itself, forcing a retreat from webbing (which becomes crispy and unsightly tat) or sacrificed gear. I have a suggestion: erect quality rap stations at the top of pitch one and two. There is a single Leeper-Z and a single ring-less pin at each of these stations, and that fixed gear has been there for decades: fixed gear at these belays is nothing new. In most of the areas I have climbed (Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Tahquitz, Suicide Rock) popular moderates are all outfitted with rap anchors. It's a public service, and it eliminates the need to leave unsightly tat, or ones own gear in a forced retreat. I thought of going up there and simply putting this in, but I wanted to avoid any sort of bolt chopping issue. I think the raps could be positioned away, to climber's left, from where the anchors would routinely be erected, which would allow retreating parties to not interfere with those who choose to remain on the climb.
By Mark SLC
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 29, 2012
Steort's ridge is fine just the way it is. No rap anchors needed for convenience in my opinion. If someone gets in over their head and has to bail off gear that's unfortunately part of the learning curve. Climb long enough and you will soon collect more booty gear than you bail off of. As for the weather, if you can't trust the forecast wake up earlier or get better at placing gear so you can top out faster. It's 3 pitches, or 2 with a 70. And this classic sees enough traffic as it is.
By Mary Ellen Man
From: Midvale, UT
Jul 10, 2014
What is going on with all this bolting of existing trad or mixed climbs. I just went to the Creak side wall yesterday and there were bolts all over 3 existing trad/mixed climbs. Why? They were all so much fun just the way they were. This has got to stop or some day all trad lines will be bolted. I never minded to much when the Geezer wall was bolted since I have never seen a climber on it until they were bolted but that does not mean some one can start bolting all of our fun trad lines in the canyon.
By Erik Kowalczyk
From: Fort Collins, CO
Apr 28, 2016
Does anyone know of any Camping that costs less than $10 in the area?

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