Type: Trad, 300 ft (91 m), 2 pitches
FA: FA: Rick Reese, Ted Wilson, and Milt Hokanson, 1963.FFA: Rick Reese, Jim Gaddis and Wilf Bruschke, 1963.
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Shared By: John J. Glime on Jun 18, 2003 · Updates
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, D C

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Warning Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

This is a pretty great route on the verge of being two stars due to a kind of lame traverse on the last pitch. However this can easily be remedied by the Crescent Crack Direct Variation plus or minus Final Link (although this increases the grade to 5.9). Overall I still give the climb three stars as the rock and moves are just so good for a relatively easy climb and it puts you in a great position to finish the climb in a much better style.

When you hit the buttress from the trail hike left until you come to a well worn dirt "platform" below an angling groove gully.

Pitch one:Climb left up the chimney in the gully through to some trees. There are some great easy crack moves here, very well protected. Probably 5.6 climbing. If you only have a 50 meter rope you may need to belay at the trees as I am not sure if it will reach the chain anchor above. (This would cause the climb to be three pitches.) A 60 meter rope will reach, so continue up past the trees to the belay anchor. There is a move of 5.7 perhaps as you pull a bulge reaching the anchor.

Pitch two:Climb the crux offwidth above the chains (5.7), kind of hard to protect. I don't want to give the answer away, but there is an easy way to climb this and a hard way. See what happens. This only lasts 10 feet or so and then you are on an angling crack moving up and right. You will come to a point where you will have the opportunity to traverse down a sloping slab to the right. BE SURE to protect the second here as you traverse down. Belay at the big ledge.

Descent:Scramble up right and then down the gully. It is a walk off.

FYI: To put this climb in perspective, the first time my partner and I roped up to climb this classic we were joined by a guy who was soloing the route at the same time. I think he lapped me about 5 times while I methodically climbed the 2/3 pitches. It was impressive, and I am sure he was doing laps before we even got there.

Protection Suggest change

Standard trad rack is fine.   A BD number 4 and even a 5 are helpful for the crux.

History Suggest change

Some ancient history from the walls of Little Cottonwood via Rick Reese and Ted Wilson:

While working on notes for the Marriott Library climbing archive, Rick and Ted discovered the notes Ted had made in the 60's—for what was then hoped to be a guide book to the LCC granite. The book never happened, but the notes document the first ascent of "The Bulge", the route that shortly came to be known as "Crescent Crack". The first ascent was done by Rick Reese, Ted Wilson, and Milt Hokanson in May, 1963. It was 5.6, A2 because they nailed the bulge.

When Rick returned a few weeks later with Jim Gaddis and Wilf Bruschke, they did the bulge free as Rick was able to place a bong-bong deep in the crack, affording the protection needed to step out and around the bulge to the right. Rick said that this probably sounds ridiculous by today's standards, but that was long before sticky rubber, and the old Vibram soles on mountaineering boots made some of those moves a bit more scary that they are today.

When Rick climbed the crack in more recent years, he noted how nice it would have been nice to have a big Camelot that could be slid into that huge crack to the left of the bulge itself. In the old days, one had to bury oneself up to the waist to place a bong in that crack.

—Allen Sanderson