Type: Ice, 70 ft (21 m)
FA: Brian Cabe & Matt Scullion 08 March 2008 ?
Page Views: 1,364 total · 8/month
Shared By: Brian in SLC on Mar 12, 2008
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, DCrane

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


Approach: spy an open snow slot to the right of one of the larger pine trees (which is below and slightly to the left of the route). Call the avalanche hot line to make sure the snow slope is reasonably stable. This approach may be the crux of the route. Follow your partner (who is, no doubt, post holing in deep snow) up the slope, then decide whether to hang it out by climbing directly up to the ice on the short, but steep and mossy rock (exposed, take care!), or, try dodging around to the right and coming in from the lower angle slope. At the ice, there is barely enough room for two so one person might want to gear up from below this approach pitch. The ice can be thick enough here for a screw or two but tie off some icicles just for fun and plant those tools for the belay too. Hey, good habits serve a person well in the long run. Note: if the approach takes longer than an hour, turn around and head to the gym.

P1: Climb the icy right side of the gully. The low angle snow to the left is officially "out of bounds". Face into the ice and make sure to get your tools high enough that you can engage your front points in the steeper ice, and traverse to the left and up. Ice can be thick enough to take a variety of screws, but, don’t pass up any protection opportunities. Also, take care as some of the lower angle surface ice can be thin: no need to crash through into the bottomless sugar snow. Nearly half way, there will be a boulder down low (folks with bad backs should probably avoid this pro, and, maybe this route in general) that can take an SMC shallow angle piton (pick one up on ebay, plan ahead). A couple of moves up, and, the climb really starts to get interesting. A steeper bulge can be surmounted directly (straight across from the tall tree in the gully). You only need to hang in there for a few moves straight up, and, the climb ends at a nice rocky hole with a semi-hanging belay stance. Drink in the nauseating abyss.

Belay: Sling the loose, pointy boulder (hoping that it’s sorta frozen in place) and back it up with a piton in a loose block in the back of the mini cave. Note: this would be an ok spot to bivouac should the need arise, although, if it were really stormy, it might get pretty grim. Best bet would be to bail to the Cotton Bottom.

The git off: We thought it prudent, slightly more sporting and less hairball (than trusting the dubious belay anchors) to down climb through the crux, step across the snowy gully to the tree, and from here, either walk back down the snow ramp, or, down climb should the ice not be too hammered from the ascent. Take care. Spraining an ankle on this would be really, really embarrassing.


This route is in a hidden gully on the right side of the darker rock band to the West of Scruffy Band. Near some established bolted rock climbs (which face both north and west). Look for a prominent blob of ice guarding the entrance to the fearsome low angle gully. While some of this area might see sunshine, the ice seems to stay fairly well protected and is thicker and colder than the stuff facing the road.


10 to 17 cm screws, several pitons, full rock rack, quiver of pickets for the snow approach, stokes litter in case you blow it. A 150 foot rope might just get you off. Snow shoes, skis, a full compliment of scouts to pack out the trail all could be useful. Even though this route “seems” close to those houses down the way, as soon as you step up into the gully, this route has a real wilderness feel to it. It is not known if there is any cell phone service here, so, be super careful.