The sport of rock climbing is seeing more and more people delve into it each year. Indoor climbing gyms are a great way to be introduced to this fantastic sport, but there really isn’t anything like getting in the great outdoors to test out your climbing skills on different types of rock. Here are five location recommendations to take the beginner climber out to get their hands on real rock. Keep in mind that not all of the locations have top rope areas available and some of the climbs are traditional, so you may want to have an experienced lead climber in both sport and trad climbing.
Red Rock – Draper, Utah
Red Rock is a quartzite crag located on South Mountain just east of the South Mountain Golf Course. It’s an easy approach to the wall (about a five-minute hike), and rumor has it that the routes were put up by a dentist which would explain the route names such as Baby Teeth, Cavity Bones, Bloody Impaction, and Gum Cheese. Route difficulty ranges from 5.6 to about a 5.11a. They are all labeled with the rating and name of the climb. All routes can be top roped or you can also lead climb. This is an ideal place for beginner climbers and for those that want to make an attempt for lead climbing. Visit http://www.mountainproject.com/v/red-rock/105739334 for route information and directions on how to get there.
Storm Mountain, located 2.8 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, has quite a variety of climbs that range from beginner to expert. This is a picnic area with toilets and fishing areas as well. There are several classic climbing routes that are fun for the beginner climber. The Storm Mountain Island area has the biggest selection of climbs for a beginner. Climbing routes are graded from 5.5 to a 5.12d, and it is a mixture of sport and traditional climbing. If you plan on using a picnic site and parking at the area, there is an $8.00 entrance fee. If you just plan on climbing and not using a picnic site, you can park outside on the highway and walk in for free. See http://www.mountainproject.com/v/storm-mountain-picnic-area/105798348 for more information on all climbing areas at Storm Mountain.
Maple Canyon is an ideal location to climb during the summer as there are shaded areas along the narrow canyons. It is located seven miles northwest of Moroni in Central Utah. Maple has some of the most unique climbing rock as it is cobblestone-sized conglomerate that has eroded to form cliffs and a natural arch. It has more than 550 routes with climbing grades from 5.4 to 5.14, and they are easily accessed from the road and various hiking trails. Make it a weekend and reserve a campsite. The Maple Canyon Guidebook is a fantastic book for climbing in Maple Canyon. You can also find information on the area at http://www.mountainproject.com/v/maple-canyon/105739298/.
Crawdad Canyon – Veyo, Utah
Crawdad Canyon is one of the largest privately owned outdoor climbing parks in the USA. It is located about 17 miles north of St. George and climbers experience climbing on basalt volcanic rock. There is a vast array of different climbs ranging from 5.3 to 5.13. There are over 180 bolted sport climbing routes up to 80-feet high. It’s really like an outdoor climbing gym. After a full day of climbing, you can cool off in the natural spring fed swimming pool for $7.00. Climbing is $8.00 a day per person. Camping is also available at Crawdad Canyon for $5.00 a night per person. For more information on Crawdad Canyon, please visit http://www.crawdadcanyon.com/climbing.html.
Ice Cream Parlor – Moab, Utah area
The Ice Cream Parlor is located in the Moab area down Kane Springs Canyon. There is some parking near large boulders, but about 100 yards down, you can park on the road, and the access trail is better there. This is an absolutely gorgeous area to climb in among the beautiful sandstone cliffs. Desert climbing is a different experience compared to quartzite, basalt or limestone as sandstone can get a little slippery. There are both sport and traditional climbing routes at the Ice Cream Parlor with grades of 5.5 to 5.12 trad. Best time to climb on this crag is in the morning or later afternoon after it cools down. This is also a popular area for base jumpers, so don’t be too alarmed if you hear parachutes flying open. Best Climbs Moab is a guidebook you’ll want to get for Ice Cream Parlor climbs. You can also check out http://www.mountainproject.com/v/ice-cream-parlor/105716967 for more information.