Type: Ice, 600 ft (182 m), 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Ted Wilson & Rick Reese 1962
Page Views: 18,704 total · 91/month
Shared By: Allen Sanderson on Oct 29, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, D C

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Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details


The Great White Icicle is one of the most popular climbs in the Salt Lake area (if not the USA) due to the fact it's so close to the valley and has multiple pitches of ice that form up very regularly. It's a great lead and a fine climb for new ice climbers. Because of these reasons it's very often crowded, especially on weekends, so be prepared to wait and dodge ice. Always wear a helmet.


The climb is typically done in four pitches. The first pitch climbs a short moderate step (approximately 40') to the large boulder on the right side with a chain belay. From here wander up the snow slope until you reach the base of the ice at the start of the second pitch, a low angle (45-50 degree) 100 foot ramp that leads to the balcony. At the balcony there is a bolted belay to the left of the start of the third pitch and a rap anchor on the balcony proper.

The third pitch is known as the bulge and can be climbed on the far left (easiest), center (most common), or right side (infrequent). After approximately 160 feet there is a bolted belay on the left side. (Reaching it may require the belayer to walk to the start of the ice). After approximately 120 feet there is also a belay on the right side. Reaching it can be tricky and is not recommended for the new ice climber. Using this belay will require that another belay be used also on the far right side at the top of the ramp that is below the last curtain.

If using the belay on the left the final pitch can be done from here. The last curtain can be climbed on the left or right. Each have their own mini cruxes. Originally one climbed up the curtain to a short pillar on the left side. With the change in the creek (circa 2000) the pillar is bigger but still requires a bit of careful climbing. From the top of the pillar continue up where one can belay from the trees. Climbing the right side will require one to climb up the curtain, step to the right and the continue up to the top where one can belay from the trees.

There is also a vertical 20 foot curtain that often forms below the step on the right side. Climbing it can be good fun. However, it is best to let it fully touch down before climbing it.


While it is possible to rappel the route, DO NOT because of the number of other climbers that may be below. Instead, walk up the snow/creek approximate 100' to a level area where a well beaten path will cross the creek (climber's right) and traverse west over into the next gully. Descend until well into the trees and it possible to leave the gully on the up canyon side (skier's right). Continue descending next to a slab which brings one back to the near the base.


The ice climb is below a major gully drainage system. The area below the base was up until five years ago was a wooded area. All of the down fall was due to an avalanche. During big avalanche cycles the climb is best avoided.


In the 90s Alex Lowe climbed the route car-to-car in 19 minutes. Andrew McLean et. al. skied the route (albeit while belayed). After a heavy snow fall it is possible to bum slide the first and second pitch.

Edited Jan 2022 to reflect the current conditions.


Park about two miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Do not park at the Power Plant as there is no longer any public access, your vehicle will be ticketed and or towed. Park on the south side of the road well off of the white line approximately 100 yards down canyon from the power plant. Agan do not block or park in the parking lot immediately west of the Power Plant building (no trespassing signs may be difficult to see due to snow depth). Keep off the pipe, intake structures, and dam at all times!  This area is "no trespassing". During times of high water, use one of the bridges along the Little Cottonwood Trail provided by Cottonwood Hydro in partnership with the USFS.  Bridges are located approximately 1/2 mile upstream or 3/4 mile downstream of this location. When possible, carpool from a Park and Ride to conserve the limited available parking. There is usually a well worn trail in the snow from the parking that leads to Little Cottonwood Creek, cross the creek and the pipeline. Once you reach the main Little Cottonwood trail turn left and go up canyon 300' feet . The climber's trail leading to the base will be on your right. 

Edited Jan 2014 to reflect the current parking.


Screws, fixed gear, bolts. There are multiple fixed belays.