It’s springtime in Utah. You know what that means. It is time to get in climbing shape. The smart climbers out there have been at The Mine Bouldering Gym or Momentum Climbing Gym all winter staying strong. If you are like me, however, you were too busy to go to the gym because you were slaying the greatest snow on Earth in one of the greatest winters in a decade. I wouldn’t trade my 100+ powder days of 2016/17 to climb 5.13, but I AM paying the price for not climbing all winter. There are a few spring climbing destinations in Utah that are perfect for getting outside, shaking off the cobwebs, and getting strong.
Indian Creek, Utah
If you’re jones-ing for some crack climbing, Indian Creek is an excellent spring climbing destination. Get your rack together, grab some friends and their racks, and head to Indian Creek, just south of Moab. The splitter sandstone cracks require power, endurance, determination, and lots of cams. The routes here will certainly serve as an eye-opener and testify as to how good your winter training went or how horribly inadequate snowboarding serves as training for climbing. If you fall into the latter category, don’t be discouraged! Persevere, battle through the pain and frustration. A few days in the Creek will jumpstart that send train. When going to Indian Creek remember to bring plenty of water for the hot days, and your puffy jacket for the cold nights. This is spring in the desert, so be prepared for all manner of temperatures.
Don’t climb when the rock is wet (sandstone is soft), don’t use cat-holes (Wag-bag or hold it). Write your representatives to help protect our threatened public lands. Give back and protect the places you love to climb by volunteering each spring for Work Week in the Creek with the Access Fund.
Joe’s Valley, Utah
Joe’s Valley is a great Southern Utah spot for springtime bouldering fun and fitness. Just two and a half hours south of Park City lies one of the greatest bouldering destinations on the planet. Joe’s Valley boasts hundreds of sandstone boulders, problems of all grades, good friction, and a friendly atmosphere. Bring your crash pads, your friends, and their crash pads, and get psyched to wrestle some boulders. Necessities can be bought in the nearby town of Orangeville at the Food Ranch, but remember to bring the layers. Once again, the temps can vary greatly so be prepared.
Don’t climb when the rock is wet (sandstone is soft), don’t use cat-holes (Wag-bag or hold it). Write your representatives to help protect our threatened public lands. Support the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance in their project of protecting climbing access and protecting this delicate environment.
St. George, Utah
St. George is where you head to get your sport climbing on track. It is sunny and warm down there in the Southwestern part of the state. There are plenty of crags to choose from and plenty of bolts to clip. From sandstone moderates at Prophesy wall, to limestone forearm busters in the Utah Hills, you’ll find the sport climbing sublime. Once again, even though this is the desert and the days are generally toasty, don’t forget the puffy and the layers. Be prepared for anything.
Don’t climb when the rock is wet (sandstone is soft). There are plenty of services in St. George so hopefully you won’t even be tempted to use cat-holes (other options include Wag-bag or hold it). Write your representatives to help protect our threatened public lands. Support the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance in their efforts to support climbers like you.
When you’re looking for a post-winter thaw and a pre-season warm-up, heading to Southern Utah is a good call. For more details on all these zones, hit up Mountain Project online, or buy a guidebook. American Alpine Club members can always borrow one from the AAC library for free.
If you feel like you need a little instruction before heading out, then hit up the White Pine Touring Climbing School in Park City. All levels of instruction are offered in a friendly setting. Want to brush up on skills, learn some new skills, or do you need a guide? Look me up at White Pine Touring and you can check out my rack.
Now, go get your spring climbing on and be safe out there!