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High Dive

5.9+, Trad, 150 ft, 2 pitches,  Avg: 3.6 from 107 votes
FA: Pat Contor, Gary Taylor 1988
Utah > Wasatch Range > Big Cottonwood… > Glass Ocean & Environs


High Dive is a really cool route. It can be done as one or two pitches, and has a couple of different approaches. One way to get up to it is to get on top of the large block on the left side of the Glass Ocean wall. Do this by either climbing Lord of Long Arms, Atlantis, or scrambling from the left. From here, the route climbs through some fixed pitons.

The other approach, which I used, starts from the anchors on top of pitch 1 of the Northwest Passage. I reached these anchors by starting up Glass Ocean, and traversing between routes after maybe 6 bolts. Either way, the route merges just left of these anchors. Climb up through a thin crack, which has a crux bulge when passing a good bolt. Traverse right using an easy crack system, then straight up a really fun finger/hand crack to the top.

One rope rap (60m rope) off of bolt and piton to the anchor on Northwest Passage. One more one rope rap to the ground.


Standard Rack. Lots of nuts and mainly smaller gear.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Lindsey on the last section of High Dive.
[Hide Photo] Lindsey on the last section of High Dive.
To dive or not to dive...that is the question
[Hide Photo] To dive or not to dive...that is the question
high dive
[Hide Photo] high dive
About to do a cannon ball off the high dive!
[Hide Photo] About to do a cannon ball off the high dive!
Lee Jensen, looking kinda happy after clearing the roof.<br>
Shortly after this picture, my camera committed suicide by taking a 200' swan dive (one bounce).
[Hide Photo] Lee Jensen, looking kinda happy after clearing the roof. Shortly after this picture, my camera committed suicide by taking a 200' swan dive (one bounce).
Starting the great 2nd pitch.
[Hide Photo] Starting the great 2nd pitch.
Rob on that insecure 1st pitch.
[Hide Photo] Rob on that insecure 1st pitch.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Nathan Fisher
St George
[Hide Comment] An awesome line. The 1st pitch suffers a bit, for a couple of reasons. First, the pins are about all the pro that you have until the third pin. Second, that second pin sounded like it was "really" bad. Third, the climbing suffered a bit, only a bit, mind you. Now after all that, my partner was able to back up the 1st pin with a "micro-nut", which probably wasn't much better than the old pin. There was a spot for a nut a bit higher. Now, with that said, the 2nd pitch was magnificent. A bit sketchy on gear, but magnificent. I wouldn't call it runout, of course, but, you need to be particular about bringing a lot of small gear. Also, I know this sounds silly, but a couple of #2 cams wouldn't have hurt. I didn't bring them, but sure wished I had. Also, the pin that is supposed to be on the 2nd pitch is not there.

The climbing is a length of very thin crack, insterspersed with pockets that were large. The edges were impeccable, the exposure was ever-increasing, and the finish was as hard as the beginning.There is an easy hand traverse as well, and for me, the mental crux was getting out of that hole at the end of the hand traverse. Do yourself a favor and do this route. However, it wouldn't suffer if you did any of the number of variations to the 1st pitch. Jul 21, 2005
Dave Budge
North Slope of the Wrangells
[Hide Comment] Repeated this the other day. My two cents: not 3 stars, too discontinuous and wandering. Solid 2 stars for BCC. Does the fact that High Dive tops out merit 3 stars when Glass Ocean is a better line but earns only 2? Sep 30, 2005
[Hide Comment] I think you can get off with a 60 if you use the rappel station to the right of the line. Makes a great linkup with Tsunami - not so wandering then... Nov 10, 2005
[Hide Comment] FYI: I pulled off a very large and key hold on this route last year (05) with Tenesmus. It caused me to fall (a good excuse for a change) and had plenty of chaulk on it from previous ascents. Tenesmus has since climbed this route this year and thinks the crux (before the rightward diagonalling crack traverse) may be significantly harder. Enjoy. Sep 1, 2006
David Shiembob
slc, ut
  5.9+ PG13
[Hide Comment] ugh, I struggled on this thing today. Too early in the season to be cruxing out above micro-nuts on quartzite. I found getting to the bolt to be the crux, but I think I was a little off-route to the left. The moves above the bolt are hard too, but you're above a bolt instead of tiny nuts, so it seemed much easier... Oh yeah, PG-13 by my standards anyway. Getting to the first pin is sketchy, the second pin is junk, and the thin face moves above small nuts is pretty heads up too. Great route though, do it as one pitch for sure, for the full value experience. Apr 14, 2007
Mark Michaels
Draper, UT
[Hide Comment] One of my favorites in Big Cottonwood, must do every year.

I prefer to start on Glass Ocean and then meander left to the anchor on NW passage. The orignal route's pins are scary, with little other option for gear...worth doing once for the experience, but the second pitch is what all the fuss is about.

The second pitch gear is not bad, I'd say PG, or perhaps PG-13 at worst. Bring your TCUs and a set of small stoppers and you'll be fine. It will feel harder if you wander TOO far left at the start of the second pitch. Try working up and right when you're directly under the bolt. The finish is airy and spectacular. If 10c is past your limit, TR the final pitch of NW Passage.

The top anchor at the high dive was beefed up a couple years back so you're no longer rapping off rusy pins. Jun 8, 2007
[Hide Comment] This is my favorite BCC route. The pins seem fine, and the protection is great the entire route. Bring about 8 full length slings because the pitch does wander. I feel that this should be rated 3 stars instead of 2, but that will vary from climber to climber. When combined with Lord of the Long Arms, this makes truly great climbing with fun exposure. May 21, 2008
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.9+ PG13
[Hide Comment] This is a great route! From the block at the top of Lord of the Long Arms there are 3 pins as shown in the Ruckman guide and then one bolt on the right, which is not in the guide, just before you reach a small ledge. Once to the ledge make sure the small pro is handy because that is where the small crack starts. I'll agree with the previous post that the route is discontinuous, but only until you reach the crack system I just mentioned. After that the line follows the wall's natural weakness to the top. This route makes the steep slippery Glass Ocean approach very worthwhile. I'll be coming back to do it again.

Because our climbing was threatened by rain we climbed to the top of the wall in 3 pitches. First, we climbed Lord of the Long Arms where it started sprinkling. Second, we climbed past the 3 pins and one bolt to the Northwest Passage anchors, from which we were going to bail if the rain didn't stop. Since the rain did stop, we continued to top from there. I'd recommend combining pitches 2 and 3.

Since I hadn't climbed this prior the chalked hold coming off I can't provide a comparison, but my partner thought this climb had a few 5.10 moves on it. In my experience, however, 5.9+ climbs always have a few 5.10 moves. Also, my 60m rope only had a few feet left on the rappel from the Northwest Passage anchors so watch the ends. Jul 17, 2008
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] One of my favorites on the wall. The fact that it's got some excellent fingers makes it a classic 3 star in my book. Didn't see a piton after the bolt though (like guide indicated). But wasn't necessary as the gear was solid. Would consider putting a couple extra small nuts on the rack for this one next time. And bring plenty of runners as the rope drag can be horrendous! May 26, 2009
Aaron Collins
Spring, TX
[Hide Comment] I got on it last night and it was awesone! BCC's Coffin Jul 29, 2011
Stan Pitcher
[Hide Comment] Excellent route! If you climb as 1 pitch from the ledge above Atlantis, use long runners on the 3 pins at the bottom (bolt is on Tsunami) and at both ends of the traversing crack above bolt to minimize rope drag. With a 70m rope you can rap to the large ledge above Atlantis and walk off. Jul 26, 2012
Ryan Arnold
[Hide Comment] Super fun. Safe except for getting to the bolt at the crux... if you have microcams (smaller than #1 metolius) they would probably work well on that section. Nuts were pretty fiddly there. Jun 2, 2014
Crag Turkey
Holladay, UT
[Hide Comment] My Favorite line on Glass ocean.To protect the second pitch I used almost all of my micro offset nuts, a good deal of micro cams, and one number 3 Camalot towards the top. I approached via left tributary to northwest passage. Made for a great sport/trad combo. The exposure at the top is epic! Look out for some lose blocks in the crack at the top. they are super chalked up, so probably been there for some time. I found it pretty easy to avoid them with some friction and crimps. Jul 16, 2015
Gary Jones
Cottonwood Heights, UT
[Hide Comment] Gear is solid, pins looked good! Top finger crack in bcc! Jul 13, 2016