10as to 11as

In my quest for adventure I ended up East of Salt Lake  in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I had made it here one other time and it’s safe to say it’s a pretty unexplored area for me. We went with lofty goals to try working on the Right Pile a notable 5.11d climb in the area. However, when we got there we noticed that it was directly in the sun. 

I was also surprised when my friend parked directly in the sun when there was perfectly good shady parking on the other side of the lot. That is when I learned about crime in the canyons! It’s apparently really awful. Bad people seemed to have found out that climbing gear has a price tag on it and sometimes it is unsupervised. 

I’ve heard of these rumors, but I haven’t seen proof of it being so bad. Well my proof was on the ground at those parking sports in the shade. Car glass was everywhere. So much glass that I’m sure it was not just one car that I had a very very bad day. 

After getting out of the car and experience the sun in unshaded gloriousness we decided to head to a different area that was shady. From what I get most areas here have a lower and higher section. We went to the lower section that had a bunch of easy climbs on it. 

We played around on a few warm up routes a 5.8 and 5.9. I wasn’t worried, but I still impressed myself by flashing the 5.9! Even a year ago, but especially two years ago when I was first getting into lead climbing I was terrified on 5.9s. I would get Elvis leg so bad, I would panic and have to rest at every bolt. I would say a good summary was that my confidence was very low while I was leading. 

Once we finished our 5.9 the group next to us was super new to climbing and they didn’t have anyone experienced in their group. They came over to us and asked us how to clean a route. We walked them through it on the ground, then when we went up to clean our route they went up to clean their route. My partner hung out at the top and walked them through it since our chains were so close together. 

I’m really glad they reached out to us, and if they ever see this I hope they continue to reach out when they have questions. When done right climbing can be pretty safe but if done wrong climbing can be pretty dangerous. I would rather take time out to answer questions, then have someone next to me get severely injured. 

After we cleaned our route it was a lot shadier in the canyon. We decided to go back to the slips, but last minute decided to go to Challenge Buttress. I had never been here before and it was a tiny hike there which wasn’t bad at all. 

At the end of the hike my friend picked a favorite 11a route of hers. This route was 3 bolts to the chains, and short enough that some people treat it like a highball boulder. At this point I highest I had lead outside was a 10a. The highest I had top roped was a 10d. So I stared at this sport boulder for a while getting my courage up. 

The first bolt was very low and could almost be reached from the ground, so I decided it was a low risk. 

I didn’t realize that the 3rd bolt was the crux of the climb, and it was a little scary of a crux. I was worried about decking as I tried to clip the third bolt. With all the extra rope I was pulling up to high clip the probability of decking was a lot higher. So I cheated I dog boned the quick draw and clipped it, then I kept climbing. 

It was a really fun climb, it felt like a boulder too. Big, powerful moves from the comfort of being on a rope! I would love to go back to this area and try the route again! This area was a really good area to bring children too (minus the possibility of rattlesnakes). This makes it easier for my partner to get too so I think there is a strong possibility that we will be back here. 🙂  

After this short route, my fingers were shot and it was getting dark so we headed back to the park n ride to head home. 

I was bragging about it to my other climbing partners and one of them was familiar with the area. She thought that it could be set up as a top rope pretty easy, and that would be REALLY fun! And top roping is great for training!

This was actually a really big step for me to get on something that was hard. I’ve been so timid with my ratings that I would never get on something that would give me the possibility of a fall. I was so happy with myself that I smiled the whole way home and showed everyone my Instagram posts. See the video here! 🙂

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