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The Recess

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The Recess Rock Climbing 

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Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Joey Faust on Aug 4, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: This is The Recess as of 7/7/2011. Huge aspen tree...

Located in a National Forest Fee Area MORE INFO >>>


The Recess is a traditional climbing area on Uinta quartzite, there are no sport routes here. No bolts even for anchors. Good anchors skills are a must for climbing here. Most of the climbs are in the shade. There are about 20 climbs ranging from 5.5-5.11b between 35 to 45 feet. A standard rack and extra webbing or cordelette is needed.

Getting There 

To reach the crag head up the mirror lake highway just past mile marker 14 or just before the Soapstone Basin. Park and look to the Northwest. You need to find a small notch in the cliff band, once you find it head for it. Hop over the talus field. Go through the notch and start climbing. ETA is about 15 minutes.

Climbing Season

For the Uinta Mountains area.

Weather station 12.5 miles from here

14 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]

Featured Route For The Recess
Rock Climbing Photo: Blake around the crux

Grim Reachy 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  Utah : Uinta Mountains : The Recess
The name says it all. Some reachy but very cool moves to horizontals to a easy finish. Be careful at the crux, there is potential to fall into the aspen right behind you! ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Utah

Photos of The Recess Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Big pine that starts the trail head this
BETA PHOTO: Big pine that starts the trail head this
Rock Climbing Photo: I apologize for the crappy picture, but it's the b...
I apologize for the crappy picture, but it's the b...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 21, 2014
By Tristan Higbee
From: Ogden, UT
Aug 2, 2009
The guidebook and this MP page fail to do this area justice. It's really, really fun! There are a ton of climbs in a really small area. The climbs are all in a sort of mini gorge the likes of which I've never seen before. The routes are in the shade most of the day, and the area is very cool in general. I really enjoyed myself here, have been there twice, and plan to go back to tick off the rest of the routes. Definitely worth a trip... or three or more.

As a side note, I think it's stupid that there aren't anchors on the routes. I'm fine with not putting any bolts on the routes themselves but come on, messing around with building anchors on these things is a pain the ass. It's an interesting paradox: on one hand you've got to respect the FA's wishes and ethics (Though you wonder were they just being cheap or lazy? I doubt it in this case, but still, it makes you think). On the other hand, you want as many people as possible to enjoy these routes. At the same time, if adding new routes, are you stuck with the original ethics of the area as far as not adding bolted anchors? I want as many people as possible to enjoy my routes, you know? And if other people happened to find and develop the crag before me, does that mean I can't add anchors on routes I do the FA of? Just something to think about... As far as I'm concerned, building anchors adds nothing to the 35-foot-high cragging experience and I don't feel that bolted anchors would lessen the traditional nature of the crag. Just something to think about... I'd be interested in seeing what others think.

(Edit: To clarify, I'm not really trying to make a case here for adding anchors to these existing routes. I just wanted to express my opinion and hear others' opinions.)
By Fett
Aug 3, 2009
Climbed there on july 2 and found some new artwork scraped to the left of Grim Reachy. Someone wrote Wade 09 with a Homer Simpson like drawing, its an eye sore now. Climbed a cool route just left of "Streaked Prow" and Black Board. Was another fun classic route with big reaches to horizontals and took gear very well, great rock and a new piton at the top (which was nice for the move and to use for a back up anchor). I noticed a lot of tick marks all over every route. Its was nice but I think it took away the adventure to the climbs (not worried about route finding). The routes are so short here that walking off is easy and doesn't take long. This is like a miny hard grit area, I think Woodward wanted to give UT a taste of what it is like to climb in England. This is a very cool area and does deserve attention because the rock is quality and the climbs are fun. If I were to add some bolts I would do it for the sick high lining options you could do. Woodward has chopped bolts around this area before, just a heads up (I wont chop em and dont tell jonney! :) I agree that the guide book sucks and some of the grades are way off. I went for what looked good and what looked doable for me.
By Brian in SLC
From: Sandy, Utah
Aug 4, 2009
I think people should respect the FA folks who "opened" routes here and not add anchors to the routes without their permission. Even DK, someone who's not afraid of putting in bolted anchors, respected the tradition of this crag with his route and didn't add a top anchor.

Plenty of rock in the Uintas.
By jonathan knight
Aug 4, 2009
From bolted cracks in Rock Canyon to traditional crags like this one, I hope that the different styles can be respected. This is not a case of laziness or cost determining how the routes were put up. It's a matter of aesthetics and efficiency. Why waste resources and leave your trace when you don't have to?
By James Garrett
Aug 6, 2009
Not every place needs bolted anchors, they aren't accepted anywhere in the UK (that's why maybe they all come over to drill and clip!?), and though inconvenient, it is still an awesome place to climb. Bolted stations are not obligatory everywhere in Utah...try Minnesota, where they seem to have a no cleaning, no chaulk, no bolting, no leading tradition/ethic. You'll start thinking we are actually a progressive state in this ONE way and we have it pretty good!
By Blake Summers
From: Park City, Utah
Aug 9, 2009
The Recess is fun little area that needs no bolted anchors. I think the FA's had it right leaving it natural. I live less than twelve miles from the Recess and enjoy the "land of the lost" feeling of the place. It bummed me out the other day when I went up there and found hundreds of tick marks and graffiti scratched on the walls. I imagine bolted anchors would bring more of the same. Building a natural anchor is not so hard. Please, let it be.
By Mike Stearns
Sep 21, 2009
I too was really disappointed to find ALL of the routes here ticked (Aug 20th, 2009). Whoever did this is really missing the point of this area. I know that they probably won't ever read this and the people that will already know better, but I had to express my frustration and disappointment somewhere. Don't do this ever, unless you are going to rap every route and brush them off.
By Blake Summers
From: Park City, Utah
Jul 7, 2011
There is a newly fallen tree in the recess. It lies near the old one though it rests at the top of Ups and Downs. Top notch and ups and downs are now well blocked from climbing. Maybe, over time the tree will clean up. Ha.
By Kurt Howes
Sep 12, 2011
Remind me again why a few bolted anchors are such a bad thing. Cause it's safer? No. Cause of the FA's intention? What if the dudes were just poor or didn't want to bother, or were lazy? Just because I was the first one to establish a route in a given area (public land mind you) doesn't give me some special right to dictate how that area should be used for the rest of time. Would anchors at The Recess be unsightly? Give me a break; nobody but climbers go up there save the rare, random, possibly lost soul. Don't pretend you're somehow better by using natural anchors, and don't get me wrong cause I love em' as much as the next guy. Some areas should remain natural, but not because of the FA's intention. I couldn't care less if someone found my routes, renamed them, bolted them. Maybe I suffer from an under-inflated ego? Bottom line - The Recess could use some anchors. Nice place you could spend a whole day at. Good to have a party of 4 so you can TR the other couples route and avoid fiddling around and wasting lots of time with natural anchors.
By Fett
Sep 12, 2011
Read the comments above, figure it out and get over it... sheeesh!
By rking101
From: Evanston, WY
Sep 7, 2012
Nice little place.

Was hard for me to find. In the middle of MM 14 and MM 15 there is a big pine and a snow removal sign. Head toward it and stright up. There is a slight trail.

Take some webbing 10 to 20 ft and a few quicklinks or rap rings. Seen a little bit of posion ivy but is was not a problem at all.
By Joe Auer
From: Moab, Utah
Aug 21, 2014
I remember the initial topo that JW drew up for the routes at the Recess all had British E-ratings. I love seeing a nice shiny two-bolt anchor as much as the next chap but leave this place as-is for those who want the "old school" experience. Rigging natural anchors for top roping is one of the first things I learned as a beginner and I think it's become a lost art these days. Any climber worth his/her salt should be able to set up a bomb-proof, equalized anchor in a few minutes and demanding bolted convenience anchors at one of the few bolt-free crags is just lazy and entitled.

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