Where, in Salt Lake, to do your first Outdoor Lead.
Salt Lake City is a sort of mecca for rock climbing.
There are routes at all ranges and various rock formations that can keep even the most attention deficit climber occupied.
.....and the sport is gaining huge momentum and popularity.
Yet every climber, regardless of how good and experienced they are, has had to go through the process of their first lead climb outdoors.
It can be daunting, at times, when you don't have the padding of the gym to cushion a fall. When you don't have every move, every foot placement and handhold marked out for you in a cool color coded schematic from bottom to top. When wind, potential rain and dust seem to have a profound effect on the mental psyche. When you look down and realize that you are on.....a cliff. When you really need to trust your gear.
But like anything else that's difficult.....
...all it takes is a small step in the right direction.
...the process begins to become familiar.
...fear is displaced.
So, for all you would be outdoor climbers that haven't made the transition from the gym.
We suggest you head to the Salt Lake Slips up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Located a couple miles up and on the left (north of road) it is easily accessed, through most of the season, and offers a low range, low grade climbing experience for those looking to send their first outdoor lead. Get out your Mountain Project App or book, if you're a nerd like me, and start with ROLL THE BONES. It's a light 5.6 that's super fun. If you're looking directly at the crag it's the sport route up and to the right. I have been with a few people who have made this climb their first lead. After that simply move left. Thieving Magpie is a super fun 5.7 with Entre Nous an enjoyable 5.8 immediately after. Head around to some cool temperatures and the Big cottonwood river rolling by your belay station at Goth Girls, Witchhunt, Salem's Lot, and Nosferatu, a conglomerate of 5.10's.
Trust your feet..
The quartzite rock holds some amazing ability to grip with most climber shoes. You'll be surprised to see your feet still clinging on to very slight pockets or fissures in the rock. It's good practice both for your feet and for your mental game.
We'd like to hear from you...
Let us know in the comments or drop us a line and let us know how you did on your first outdoor lead climbing experience.