The Thumb Area Rock Climbing
BETA PHOTO: Centered in this photo is the Thumb Area.
This buttress is the biggest chunk of rock in the canyon, and the only place in LCC where you can link 10 or 11 pitches of quality crack, slab, and face climbing and choose between ratings from 5.7 to 5.12 to reach the summit. The view from the top of the Thumb is superb and well worth the all day outing. "S-Crack" defines Thumb climbing, and with the "S-Direct" variation proves that the boys (including the Lowes and former mayor Ted) had their S*** together way back in the 60's when they developed this rock.
Park at the Gate Buttress. Then, prepare for a bit of a slog. Follow a series of paths that head left from the Gate Boulders. I've done this a dozen times or more and I don't think I get the same trail twice. Either way, head west until you get to the huge talus field. Head west across, and simultaneously up the talus hill until you reach the base of the Waterfront buttress. This is the steep, dark-stained block above the dense scrub oak forest. From here, traverse west along the base of the buttress (harder than it sounds) until you reach an area where you are tempted to scramble up, out of the trees. Don't do it! Down hike just a bit to continue west and then move back uphill to the base of the buttress, and shortly you'll emerge out of the forest and you'll be on the trail at the base of the Plumbline wall (a great warm-up climb is the Plumbline 5.10a). Stash your packs in this area, as this is where you'll end up on the descent. From here, traverse west and up for about 200 feet and you'll be standing at the base of the Thumb routes.
Weather station 3.2 miles from here
18 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in The Thumb Area
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Thumb Area
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Thumb Area:
S-Direct 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
R Trad, 7 pitches, 800'
Spring Fever 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Nob Job 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
X Trad, 2 pitches, 300'
S-Matrix 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
S-Crack 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad, 4 pitches, 350'
Featured Route For The Thumb Area
From: SLC, UT
May 17, 2010
The approach to The Thumb has improved, following the directions above if you keep an eye out there is a tracked out path along the base of the talus field, (very easy to find on the way out) and as the "trail" heads into the woods around the Waterfront Area there is a pretty obvious trail now, it goes all the way to the base
From: Flat Rock, NC
Apr 12, 2013
I was on the Thumb formation last fall, and had to bail....but, looking at the photos of the decent/rap options, is there a route that climbs the right angling crack in the "big roof"?
By Greg G
From: SLC, UT
Apr 13, 2013
mr. goatdavemac - you're speaking of the S-Matrix which has very little beta here. Check the guidebook for more information, and a topo.
By Charlie S
From: Ogden, UT
Apr 29, 2013
It is possible to rap the entire buttress down the main face using double 60m ropes. Some are a stretch, and the first couple of raps are so low angle that you'll be fighting with the rope.