Type: Trad, 130 ft, 3 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 9,097 total · 42/month
Shared By: grk10vq on Jun 3, 2001
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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This is an excellent route found on the tall and inviting, east side of Storm Mountain Island. Layback Crack offers a quality outing with a number of different options for ascending. Back when rock was young, this was most likely climbed in 2 or 3 pitches and without the use of fixed anchors. Today, you have the choice to climb this however you see fit. Originally this climbed the first corner to a ledge on the left (35 feet). It then continued up the corner until another, larger, more prominent ledge was found (75 feet). The route then followed broken terrain to the summit (20 feet).

Approach: If coming from the pay booth entrance, you will find the Layback Crack by crossing the first foot bridge and turning left down a small path to a few picnic tables (south). You will then follow a well-worn, but overgrown trail along the river to a striking 15' scramble up a corner.

P1: The first pitch starts directly up the obvious right-facing dihedral. Climb this corner for 35 feet and belay at an anchor on the ledge above La Creme De Shorts. For a quick and cleaner option, instead climb the corner for ~50 feet passing the first belay until you reach a wide, horizontal break below a small roof/corner. From here, head up and right across the face to a belay at chains about ~60 feet up. Continue ascending from this belay or lower. Alternatively, and possibly the best option, is to climb pitch 1 and 2 in one long pitch by sticking to the corner and going even higher to another large, right-facing, craggy corner to a belay ledge at the routes 3/4's mark. Another anchor exists here on a huge ledge. Stop here and belay or climb to the rim and build a belay. 

P2: Depending on where you stop, this next pitch leaves the first belay and follows the deteriorating and dirty right-facing corner from the first anchor up to another large belay ledge ~75' feet higher. If you skipped the first or second intermediate anchor, continue from the large upper belay ledge to the summit. If heading to the summit, build a belay under the bushes.

P3: If done in three pitches, the third pitch leaves from the larger, upper corner's ledge and involves a short stint up easy, broken terrain to the summit. Build a belay under the bushes.

Descent: If climbing to the summit, walk off the west towards the amphitheater and follow the trial around north and back into the picnic area. Otherwise rappel the route.


Take a simple rack of small to large cams, and a full set of stoppers. Bring a sufficient amount of slings and maybe some double runners if you plan to build a belay. a 60 meter rope is plenty for all options of climbing and a 70 meter will get you down from the the anchor below the summit pitch. 
First pitch is a great lead for first timers. Takes nuts way better than cams, but that makes it more fun. Aug 26, 2002
salt lake city, UT
icsteveoh   salt lake city, UT
I second the notion that it takes nuts better than cams, I think I used maybe two #1's just for practice. This was my second trad lead and it does have bolted anchors which I don't think the wasatch guide book states. Aug 13, 2006
Walt Haas
Salt Lake City, UT
Walt Haas   Salt Lake City, UT
I believe that the anchor chains at the top are newer than the guide book.

The route description doesn't mention it, but since the upper pitch is much dirtier and less fun than the lower pitch, a more rewarding way to finish is to walk from the chains at the top of the first pitch of Layback Crack south along a wide ledge to the base of Nice Little Crack and Storm Mountain Stupor, either of which is a much more enjoyable second pitch. Mar 28, 2007
Ryan Peterson
North Salt Lake, Utah
Ryan Peterson   North Salt Lake, Utah
This was my first all-gear climb, plenty of spots for gear and resting, and quite fun. Jul 14, 2007
salt lake city, UT
icsteveoh   salt lake city, UT
Walts super on... Do the traverse around from the belay spot on pitch 1. Takes good gear as well if your second is scared. Set up an anchor on the solo climbing bolts/rap bolts. Then do nice little crack or storm mountain stupor.

We did this to avoid the beginning hike over to the slips. Nice alternative.

I only placed 1 nut this time around :) May 18, 2008
Very fun!

There are a couple of tough-to-spot bolt w/ hangers (no chains - bring some webbing and a rap ring) at the very top of the 'island' to rap down (a bit to the right of the last pitch if I recall...goes through bushes though). Jul 1, 2009
Tryhard Scoville
Sandy, UT
Tryhard Scoville   Sandy, UT
I thought this was an excellent climb, and would recommend both pitches for beginning trad climbers. The second pitch was not difficult, but still interesting and very worth the time and effort. At the start of the second pitch I tried to go right, but did not find good pro in the dihedral. I backtracked and climbed straight up from the belay for 10-15 feet before returning to the dihedral. Taking this approach has the added benefit of limiting rope drag. At the top of the second pitch, I climbed past the chains and set up a belay using the bush and a few pieces of pro. Walked off. Cams above BD #2 not needed. Oct 15, 2009
Andrew May
Westminster, CO
Andrew May   Westminster, CO
Fun climb. We skipped the second set of bolts and walked off the back. There is a trail that brings you down by the amphitheater. Nov 11, 2009
Michael Buchanan  
Chill. I have put 5 or 6 beginner leaders on this route, and they all loved it. Chill climbing, great pro. Apr 26, 2010
North East Washington
lunabloomgirl   North East Washington
Really fun little route! Aug 26, 2010
We found a Geo-Cash at the top of this route Sep 11, 2010
Wenatchee, WA
DrApnea   Wenatchee, WA
If you do P2, go through the roofs. Adds some fun, but no harder than 5.7 Jun 14, 2012
There are new anchor chains above and to the right of the first belay ledge near a small tree. They might make sense if climbing just the first pitch lay back. Sep 18, 2013
Wenatchee, WA
DrApnea   Wenatchee, WA
The new anchors here are unnecessary, even for a 5.5 climb. They are in the middle of pitch 2. They are next to a tree. They are next to a gear anchor potential. They are only 20 feet from the prior established belay anchors that reside at a nice ledge. Whoever put these in needs to sell their drill. Pull them and reclaim your hangers before someone else does. Mar 10, 2014
A 70m makes it to the bottom of the route at the top of the 2nd pitch, not too much extra May 1, 2016
At the top of the first belay station ledge I noticed the new anchor chains 20 feet or so above and thought it was a strange place to put chains. But on the rap off I noticed that there was an awesome looking crack system on the slab wall next to layback crack that lead right up to the new chains.

I decided that it looked fun enough to climb. Pro is plentiful and constant. The climbing was a bit dirty but very exciting with a cool fingerlock on the thin crack near the top as the crux. Id say that it sends at about a 5.6 and is WAY MORE FUN than layback crack.

I think that the new chains should stay just for the new route potential. Apr 25, 2017