Have I mentioned that I love living in Salt Lake City? Since moving here permanently in July, I’ve been having one great outdoor experience after another. I’m like a kid in a candy store down here . . . except instead of candy I’m gorging myself on cycling, mountain biking, hiking, bouldering, rock climbing, canyoneering and trail running. Whoever said “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing,” obviously never got the chance to live in SLC.
After spending this past winter climbing at Momentum and the early part of this summer bouldering in Little Cottonwood Canyon, I finally got the chance to head to Big Cottonwood Canyon for some real rock climbing. For those of you who don’t know, Big Cottonwood Canyon is a great place to climb, offering routes for beginners (such as myself) to challenging routes for the seasoned climber (such as Nick, my patient teacher).
We decided to head to Reservoir Ridge, which offers seven routes that are perfect for fine tuning your top roping skills and practicing sport and trad climbing – which is exactly what we intended to do. To get used to climbing outside, I top roped my first two routes (Iraq In The Back Attack, Error of Our Ways). Both were relatively easy with ample foot and hand holds – perfect for my first outdoor climbing experience.
With my confidence up and the light quickly fading in the canyon, I decided to attempt leading my first sport climb. I returned to Iraq In The Back Attack, a 5.6 climb, and started climbing. I quickly realized sport climbing is a whole different animal requiring patience, skill and confidence in your climbing ability. There is much more to think about when sport climbing such as rope and carabiner placement, making it both fun and challenging. Luckily, I made it to the top, successfully completing my first, and definitely not my last, lead on a sport climb.
Was there anything negative about this experience? Yes. I’m now thoroughly obsessed with climbing, which adds another expensive hobby to an ever growing list. Can you say second job?