Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Main Hellgate

Devil Goat T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Hell Raiser T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Hellgate Highway S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Marbellous T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Monkey Paw S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Pearly Gates, The S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Spawn, The S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Till Hell Freezes Over T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Walking with Giants T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Wierdo S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b


Steeped in Wasatch climbing tradition, though long ignored, Main Hellgate and the climbers on it are in full view directly across from the Snowbird ski area. Most people would probably concur that the legendary alpinist Mugs Stump cut his teeth on the Main Hellgate Cliffs. During the early years of being a Snowbird ski bum, he climbed Virgo in 1976...two years before he went on to climb the first ascent of the Emperor Face of Mount Robson....his first really breakthrough climb. Hellgate choss had prepared him well for Canadian Rockies choss. Hellgate was the place for his early first ascent adventures. It is my understanding that most of the existing routes on Main Hellgate have been established from ground up and, therefore, provide that same alpine style adventure even today.

Though many routes are South Facing, this can be a cold and windy place. The rock is fractured limestone, and can at times have a chauky texture.

Natural rock fall as well as goat (the beautiful mountain goats that are abundant in LCC love this place) induced rockfall can be frequent. A Snowbird local who loved climbing at Hellgate was the fatal victim of rockfall while belaying below Tower 3, but no reports of any fatal accidents on the Main Cliff immediately come to mind. Maybe this is testiment to the lack of traffic on these climbs compared to the East Hellgate areas. These climbs are mostly multi-pitch, require supplemental gear placements, require route finding skills, have less fixed protection, receive more rockfall, usually require two ropes for descent, and generally are of a more serious nature. Needless to say, a helmet will provide some protection, but be leary of the big ones.

Belay in protected areas, check your holds before just lunging on up on anything that "looks good", and respect other climbers below.
Use the established trails Details
Park your car off of the main canyon road. Details
Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details

Getting There

Drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The biggest south facing grey limestone cliff is the one. Park off the road, if possible, and start hiking up an old unimproved road that may at times be gated. Find a trail that vears to the north up an old wash, connects with a worn trail, and eventually reach the Towers...continue skirting the base of these cliffs to Main Hellgate. I like to park my stuff at a huge Doug Fir that has a bit of a platform for gearing is also a sign that because it is still there, it may be a relatively rockfall free area. Carefully continue under the wall until at the base of the various routes.

10 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Main Hellgate Change
Type:  to 
Quality: Pitches:
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Main Hellgate

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
More Classic Climbs in Main Hellgate »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season



More About Main Hellgate

Printer-Friendly Guide
What's New

All Photos Within Main Hellgate (25)

Most Popular · Newest