Type: Trad, Aid, 375 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: Bill Conrod and Steve Ellsworth, Sept. 1965
Page Views: 2,100 total · 15/month
Shared By: bsmoot on Nov 14, 2007
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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


This was the first route on the steep, southeast face of the Black Peeler. No bolts were placed on the first ascent; in fact, this route stayed bolt-free until the early 1980's. Although seldom done compared to the Peeler Direct, this natural line, which follows the principal weakness of the face, offers some great climbing. This route and especially the Peeler Direct became a rite of passage for all early aspiring aid climbers in the Wasatch...training ground for Yosemite.

P1: Climb a short, clean flake (5.10 or C1) to a large ramp. Hand traverse left and follow cracks to a hanging belay underneath a long narrow roof...great pitch. (You can also belay at the hand traverse, 2 pins).
P2: Traverse right underneath the roof...the crack is wide and thin (C2/3 or 5.10+) to a belay on a sloping ledge at 2 bolts.
P3: Shuffle right to a thin aid crack (don't fall here) and ascend this beauty to another ramp. Belay at its end (C1 or C2).
P4: Climb a short groove to a steep hand/fist crack. Jam or aid this to the top. (5.7 C2 or 5.10).

Rap bolts will be seen to the east. Two ropes are needed (160').


"First ascent was in late September, 1965 by Steve Ellsworth and Bill Conrod. On an earlier attempt with Ellsworth, we ran out of time and rappelled off, leaving a fixed rope. It was pitch dark when it was my turn to start the vertical rappel by stepping out of aid slings at a hanging anchor. Very scary.

"The next weekend we made the successful climb on a nice fall day, but the days were getting short and we were benighted at the top. Being young and inexperienced, we had no extra clothing so passed the night by intense shivering. It hit 29 degrees at the SLC airport. Fortunately for us, we were above the down-canyon draft and had the high metabolisms of youth.

"We aided most of the climb, and it was the hardest and most sustained aid route in the canyon at the time. Aid climbing still had a bit of a Yosemite-esque mystique."

—Bill Conrod

  • The first 2 pitches to the midway ledges were freed by Jim Donini and Mark Ward in the early 80's.
  • The first clean ascents were done in the late 70's.


Use this ?Approach Map? to get you to the base. The approach is a little tough for the last few hundred feet.

Begin below and left of the prominent lower ramp.


Clean aid rack including wireds, offsets, cam hooks and sliders; mostly small stuff. A few big cams will also be needed.


Very cool description and story Brian! Nov 15, 2007
I would like to add a little to bsmoot history. No one had even noticed Steve or Bill was missing until they showed up the next day. Gotta smile at that. Nov 15, 2007
  5.10 C3-
  5.10 C3-
Hey Paul:

Thanks for checking in. Looks like you climbed the Bat Walk around the same time as Bill & Steves ascent of the BP. Do you know if the Black Peeler got done much in the 60's? Nov 16, 2007
Brian.... I knew that Steve and Bill were nailing a wall up canyon so Lenny and I went to heckle. While there we decided to check out the rock and do some climbing. The area was new to me and I didn’t remember hearing anyone doing much up there. Lenny had picked out the route and named it Bat Walk. I don’t remember any aid work on the BW but do remember that I placed a bolt on the first switchback because I couldn’t find any protection in order to mantle off of the ledge. I don’t remember the Black Peeler ever got climbed again while I was in the canyon. Nov 21, 2007
Was climbing around on the Peeler buttress the last few days and unfortunately discovered a new double bolt belay/rappel anchor in the very middle of pitch 3 of the Black Peeler. Totally ridiculous and completely unnecessary. Next time I go up there will be with tools to remove this anchor. Jul 5, 2010
  5.10 C3-
  5.10 C3-
That would be great Ben. I remember the first time I did this route. There weren't any bolts on the entire climb. Kudos to the FA party. Sadly this whole area has been over bolted. Jul 5, 2010
Just a little more peeler history. Ellsworth started the Peeler with Randy Hart and left a fixed rope on the 1st pitch. Bill Conrod then joined forces with Steve to move the rope across to the start of 3rd pitch and left a fixed rope . Bill's rappel in the dark. The following weekend, as paul tells, we went up to heckle them. Thus begins the history of the Peeler Direct. Where better to heckle from than the big ledge on pitch one. we did pitch 1, placed a old 1/4" rawl stud with a aluminum hanger (state of the art stuff in 65) to mark our highpoint, keep us on the wall while we heckled and our rap anchor. We then proceded over to put up Bat Walk which we barely finished getting off in the dark. Ellsworth had the car keys so we all spent the night in the canyon. Lenny Nelson S.L.C. 29 aug 2018 Aug 29, 2018
To answer Brians question about other peeler ascents. Bill and I made the 1st continuous ascent in the spring of 66. After that uncle sam had me for 3 years so don't know of others. Lenny Nelson S.L.C. 29 aug 2018 Aug 29, 2018
  5.10 C3-
  5.10 C3-
Lenny, that aluminum hanger you guys used was scary, the hole was nearly ripped out when we got there years later....very soft aluminum! Aug 29, 2018
Brian, the hanger sucked, it was a home made (K.D. special). There were no available "Leepers" at the time. However, 58 years later, I now only use the good stuff. Aug 30, 2018