Towards the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Margin for Air Wall sits around 1000 feet above the road on the north side of the canyon. It faces the south west and bakes in the afternoon sun. The long approach up talus slopes and scrub oak keeps the crowds away. The rock quality is a fantastic rounded quartzite with a thin layer of salt crystals or dirt in places. It is far more weathered than the sharp, blocky edges found at the S-Curve. There were a few loose rocks wedged in the crack and a hollow sounding flake, but none of them pulled out. There are three routes on the wall, two of which are classics. They range in difficulty from 5.9+ to 5.11d. The Margin for Air Wall Looks like a toppled stick of butter with cracks, bulges and roofs on the southwest face. There are similar rock formations in the area, but the Margin for Air Wall is taller, more vertical, and sports a lighter color.
Plan on a 30 minute hump up loose talus and dirt with occasional bushwhacking through scrub oak. Park in a pullout on the north side of the road across from the brown sign that says there is no camping less than a mile from the road. You should be able to see the Margin for Air Wall throughout the approach, which helps to keep your bearings. A small trail heads to the West from the turnout. Turn off the trail once you reach the slope filled with rounded river rock. You'll arrive at a small grove of junipers, and the loose talus starts here. Eventually, you'll find what's left of the old aqueduct. From here, the talus slope gets steeper, looser, and dirtier. A short bushwhack through the scrub oak to the West leads to a talus slope with an easier grade. Once you get up past the small ridge to the East, traverse to the East and hike down around the scrub oak, and then head up the gully to the base of the Margin for Air Wall.
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Margin for Air 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a Trad, 1 pitch, 150'
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First off, let me admit that this is a project of mine. I have made it past the pin before the crux, but I don't think I've actually made it to the crux yet. I fell once on a green camalot, then again on a red camalot higher up. I took two falls on a #3 camalot past the pin, then tried to protect the next sequence with a #00 C3. It tore out when I fell again, and I whipped upside-down and injured my heel. Did I mention that I got stung by a wasp? My first epic! Needless to say...[more] Browse More Classics in UT
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