Strone Crag Rock Climbing
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|Shared By:||John Steiger on Jul 24, 2006|
|Admins:||Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, D C|
The approach to Strone Crag is from Challenge Buttress. From the road, walk the well-trod Challenge Buttress trail to where it splits, then take the path to the right (the trail left goes to Challenge's East Face). After 40 or so feet, the trail splits again; stay to the right on the more level trail (going left leads to Challenge’s North and West Faces). For all routes except Standard Ridge, continue along this trail for maybe 200 feet (passing a collapsing, historic mining structure on the way) to where it starts up over watermelon-size rocks and scree, on the west side of a large scree and boulder gully. After 20 feet or so, cut back left and follow steep switchbacks up the rightside (west) of the gully. The trail is easily followed from here, except for one section of boulder hopping—just keep going up, and soon reaches the right-end of the ledge system from which all the routes start except for Standard Ridge, and Itchy and Scratchy and its variations. (For Standard Ridge and Itchy and Scratchy, the approach is described on those routes' pages.) The start of the ledge system is usually marked by a cairn.
The approach described above may sound complicated, but it isn't; it'll take about ten minutes to get from the road to Starstruck, the first route encountered on the ledge system -- that is, unless you're a flatlander. It is also possible to reach Strone via the approach to the Narcolepsy Area (see photodiagram posted on this page), but it is less enjoyable and potentially more confusing.
Strone Crag is the large, mostly north-facing wall between Challenge Buttress to the east and the Narcolepsy area to the west. As far as I can tell, at least up until 1979, when John Gottman published his guide Wasatch Quartzite, the crag was apparently known only as the "Standard Ridge," after the long moderate climb that catches the top of the cliff from its lowest point, across the talus field from the West Face of Challenge Buttress. (Standard Ridge, the route, is posted on a different page, as if it is a separate crag; I suggest that we use the name ”Standard Ridge“ to refer only to the route, and move it under Strone Crag, as its eastern- or left-most route.)
According to Stuart Ruckman, Dana Hauser gave Strone Crag its name, presumably around 1987, when Dana, along with Jim Hall and IME co-owner Scott Carson, put up Le Rap et Tap, one of the best 5.11s in BCC. Strone is Scottish Gaelic for nose, apparently in reference to the huge roofband in the center of the crag, bracketed by Wealth of Nations and Space Cadet on the left margin of the roofband, and Orbital Decay and Cat-O-Nine-Tails on the right margin.
The left side of the crag, between Standard Ridge and Space Cadet, comes into the sun mid-morning and into the shade mid-afternoon. The right side of the crag, between Orbital Decay and Starstruck, stays in the shade until mid-afternoon. Consequently, it's possible to climb at the crag throughout the entire climbing season.
Although a large part of the crag is not visually appealing, it actually climbs quite well, but it is BCC quartzite, so expect the climbing generally not to be continuous and to have some occasional, standard Cottonwood quartzite funk. Except maybe for those climbing mid-12 and above, it is well worth a visit for at least a half a day, regardless of your preferred grade, although pure sport climbers likely will be disappointed because many of the routes require at least a few cams. All routes can be descended with a single 60m, typically from chain anchors or Metolius rap anchors. A 70m rope is more convenient, however, to get off Kiss the Sky, Old Habits, Mad Calf, Cost of Business, Starstruck, Cersei, and Tyrion. For these routes, a 70m rope allows one to avoid a hanging rappel station (the hanging belay of Mad Calf) or an extra rappel (from the top of the first pitch of Cersei).
Aerial overview here.;cp=qs359d5pn1z7&lvl=18.91&dir=173.88&sty=b&where1=40.6214%2C%20-111.7461&form=LMLTCC
Classic Climbing Routes at Strone Crag
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