I received one of the kindest emails a couple months ago from a fellow local climber who had read on my blog that I was interested in hopping on some 5.12s. He had already cruised through the majority of local 12s and so sent me a list of his personal favorites. It was such an incredibly nice gesture and an email I have often referenced.
Rainbow seen on the walk down from the Millstone.
I thought that a similar listing of my favorite Wasatch routes by grade (updating this post as I continue to climb) might be of use to readers. The following routes are listed as name, grade (broken down by letter grade for 5.10 and above), location and my comments.
Shaft on Wrecking Ball (5.10 – 11) with SP on Hollow Man (5.9).
- Maudlin – Salt Lake Slips, Big Cottonwood – This is a new route to the left of Italian Arete. It is long, requiring a 70mm rope and 12 quickdraws. Great for beginners.
- Geronimo – S-Curves Upper Wall, Big Cottonwood – Fun!
- Hollow Man – Challenge Buttress West Face, Big Cottonwood – Great warmup with fun “Big Cottonwood” moves.
- Ionic Binding (9+) – S-Curves Lower Wall, Big Cottonwood – I have learned to really enjoy this climb, even though it gives me flash pump ever time I run it. I swear 9+ is one of the hardest grades. =)
- There are two fun 5.9′s at Storm Mountain. The wall is newer and not in the guide book. I will update when I figure out the names and area. They are in essence right across from the small reservoir.
Goreham leading Litmus Test (5.11c).
- Caress of Steel (5.10a) – The Membrane, American Fork – The foot holds are a little polished, but it is definitely still worth one’s time. An AF Classic.
- Twist And Shout (5.10a) – The Escape Buttress, American Fork – This climb has a warm spot in my heart because it was my first 5.10 lead / redpoint.
- Total X (5.10a/b) – The Watch Tower, Ferguson – This is a mixed route with the bottom being a 5.8 gear line with the top bolted section being a 5.10 pump-fest. Fun!
- Uncensored Society (5.10b) – The Watch Tower, Ferguson – One of Ferguson’s best.
- Hidden Agenda (5.10b) – Industrial Wall, Little Cottonwood – Great slab route, which means I did not lead it nor ever will. =) However, if you love slab or are top roping, definitely do this route.
- Union Dues (5.10b) – Industrial Wall, Little Cottonwood – Another great slab route, which means I top-roped. If you love slab or on a top rope, this one is splendid. =)
- Salem’s Lot (5.10c) – Salt Lake Slips, Big Cottonwood – Cragbaby readers might disagree on this route, but for some reason I love this line. The book doesn’t give it many stars, but I think I like it because it was one of the first 10’s I ever worked on. I remember top-roping it on numerous occasions and being scared of falling into the huge pine tree when starting to lead.
- Wrecking Ball (5.10 – 5.11′ish) – Challenge Buttress West Face, Big Cottonwood – This climb is to the left of Hollow Man and pulls a roof with a couple tricky moves. Some call it a 11b, some say it is easier.
- Winky and Waxman Go Bolting Extension – (5.10 – 11’ish) – Challenge Buttress West Face, Big Cottonwood – Link the Winky and Waxman line (the book says 11b, but I think it is more like a 10) with the long 5.10 line that finishes at the top of the crag. Fun and pumpy!
- Cecret Lake Wall, Albion Basin, Little Cottonwood – the whole wall is a row of 5.10s, with each climb better than the next. The surrounding is a beautiful meadow with a stream by the crag.
The Route Slayer on Right Pile (5.11d).
- Black Monday (5.11a) – Lower S Curves, Big Cottonwood – Uber classic! I have yet to meet a person who does NOT like this climb.
- Stone Ground (11b) – Millstone, Big Cottonwood – Due to the bolting, I think this route seems hard for the grade. The moves are fantastic, but it is quite a bit heady.
- Misery (5.11b) – Broad’s Fork, Big Cottonwood – The book only gives this route one star, but I think it is a fun line that includes lots of stemming. Plus it is surrounded by other great climbs.
- Firewoman (5.11b) – The Watchtower, American Fork – Crimpy and fun! Seemed hard for the grade.
- Primal Magic (5.11b) – The Hard Rock, American Fork – The AF guide doesn’t give this route any stars, but I really like it.
- High Dive (5.11b/c) – S-Curve Upper Wall, Big Cottonwood – This is the second pitch above Geronimo. Short, sweet, and very similar to Black Monday.
- Eight to Eleven (5.11b/c) – The Hard Rock South Face, American Fork – A two pitch, very enjoyable route!
- License to Thrill (5.11c) – The Membrane, American Fork – Just go do it! One of the classics!
- Litmus Test (5.11c) – Division Wall, American Fork – Easier climb with one tricky move over the roof. A good first 11c.
- Right Pile (5.11d) – The Pile, Big Cottonwood – I absolutely love this climb as it was my nemesis for almost a year. Very hard, pumpy 11d that I finally sent with the use of two heel-toe cams and numerous attempts. A must do!
- Reaching for Razors (5.11d) – Hell, American Fork – Some people mention that this climb is polished (as it is one of the very few warmups in Hell), but I found it to be superb.
- Mach (5.11d) – The Speed Trap, Big Cottonwood – The book gives it only one star, but I really like this climb. Note that between the 4th and 5th bolt it is quite heady as it seems a bit run-out, though the holds are all there.
- Dumb Broads (5.11d) – Broad’s Fork, Big Cottonwood – Pumpy little thing!
Brian on Gordon’s Link-up (5.12a).
- Liquid Oxygen (5.12a) – Division Wall, American Fork – Uber classic!
- Naked Nebula (5.12a) – White Wave Wall, American Fork – I hate the slab portion of the climb, but the actual 12a climbing is a beautiful jug / heel hook haul.
- All Chalk and No Action (5.12a) – Perhaps Area, Little Cottonwood – Beautiful!
- Gordon’s Linkup (5.12a) – Dingo Boy Wall, Upper Membrane – Boulderey start with pockets the rest of the way.
- Big in Japan (5.12b) – Storm Mountain, Big Cottonwood – Interesting, but scary.
- Isotoner Moaner (5.12a/b) – Division Wall West Face, American Fork – Thin with a couple distinct cruxes (at least for me).
- Left Pile (5.12b) – The Pile, Big Cottonwood – This might be one of my favorite routes. Great movement, with a safe fall.
- Beeline (5.12b) – The Billboard , American Fork – Long with two cruxes, but real fun.
Triznut leading Big in Japan (5.12b).
Other Wasatch routes that I hear are classic, but I have yet to try include the following. If interested in getting on these lines, drop me a line.
- Concrete Jungle (5.11c) – Tower of Babel, Ferguson
- Step Right Up (5.12a) – The Watchtower, American Fork
- Mission Control (5.12a) – Cannabis Wall, American Fork
- Teeanova (5.11d / 12a) - The Hard Rock, American Fork
- Fuego (5.12a) – Tower of Babel, Ferguson
Sorry, but my list caps out at 12b as that is the hardest grade I have actively worked, merely toproping a couple 12cs. I will keep the list updated and would welcome any route suggestions from you readers.