Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details

Description

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.

Getting There

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.

18 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: The Thumb Area Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at The Thumb Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 39
The Summit Pitch
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 69
Indecent Exposure Variation
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 82
The Standard Thumb
Trad 11 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 4
Higher Expectations
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 19
S-Direct, Variation
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
 90
S-Direct
Trad 7 pitches
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 16
Spring Fever
Trad 4 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 7
Robbins Crack
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b X
 5
Nob Job
Trad 2 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 7
S-Matrix
Trad 3 pitches
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 9
Spring and Fall
Trad
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
 33
S-Crack
Trad 4 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 37
Coyne Crack
Trad
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 4
Monkey Lip
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Summit Pitch
 39
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad
Indecent Exposure Variation
 69
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 2 pitches
The Standard Thumb
 82
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 11 pitches
Higher Expectations
 4
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad 2 pitches
S-Direct, Variation
 19
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad
S-Direct
 90
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R Trad 7 pitches
Spring Fever
 16
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad 4 pitches
Robbins Crack
 7
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Nob Job
 5
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b X Trad 2 pitches
S-Matrix
 7
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 3 pitches
Spring and Fall
 9
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
S-Crack
 33
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a Trad 4 pitches
Coyne Crack
 37
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad
Monkey Lip
 4
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad
More Classic Climbs in The Thumb Area »

Sun & Shade

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
JPFox
SLC, UT
JPFox   SLC, UT
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 May 17, 2010
goatdavemac Mac
Flat Rock, NC
goatdavemac Mac   Flat Rock, NC
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"? Apr 12, 2013
Greg Gavin
SLC, UT
Greg Gavin   SLC, UT
mr. goatdavemac - you're speaking of the S-Matrix which has very little beta here. Check the guidebook for more information, and a topo. Apr 13, 2013
Charlie S
Ogden, UT
Charlie S   Ogden, UT
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. Apr 29, 2013
J Saarela
Park City
J Saarela   Park City
Don't underestimate the descent. Tried to follow the topo for the descent trail, but couldn't seem to find the route. Though coming down in the dark didn't really help. Unless you can find the trail on the topo, expect the walk-off decent to take a good bit longer than the supposed 1.5 hours. Nov 11, 2016
Descent: The walk-off is straightforward if you study the photos carefully. Even better copy them to your phone. It is however tick-infested, steep, and can fill your shoes with dirt. Not recommended after dark if it's your first time.
The photo labeled "An update on Greg's photo" shows you how to easily rappel the route with a single 70 meter rope. Read the comments below the photo. Jun 25, 2018
b Light
Salt Lake City, Utah
b Light   Salt Lake City, Utah
S Crack to the Standard Thumb is an excellent way to top this route. 12 hours, house to house.
Doubles, .4-3, single .3,#4,#5,#6. Nuts. No Offsets. Single C3/Small Cam Set. No Purple of Green BD C3.
6 sport draws. 6 mountain draws. 2-48 Inch slings. Sep 30, 2018