September 15, 2020

Bouldering in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Bouldering in the 5 Mile area, Little Cottonwood Canyon

For the last 40 years, Salt Lake City, Utah has been at the epicenter of North America's burgeoning rock climbing scene. Beginning with the sport climbing boon of the 80's and 90's at areas such as American Fork Canyon, Maple Canyon, and Logan Canyon led by local developers such as Boone Speed and Jeff Pedersen, outdoor junkies with a counter-cultural streak flocked to the Wasatch Range to test themselves on the slew of newly developed routes.

Jacinda Hunter climbing Malvado, 5.13a, American Fork Canyon UT

At the turn of the 21st Century, a new generation of local men and women including Steven Jeffrey, Mike Beck, and Justin Wood, turned their attention to the ample abundance of boulders the nearby canyons had to offer. Thanks to their countless hours of hiking hillsides, scrubbing lichen, and building landings, several thousand new boulder problems were established.

Steven Jeffrey making the first ascent of Sunset Arete V11, Secret Garden Boulders, LCC

The vast majority of this bouldering development happened among the roadside boulders of Little Cottonwood Canyon, a mere 20 minutes southeast of downtown Salt Lake City. Today, with its short approaches and ease of access, LCC's collection of bullet-hard quartz monzonite boulders have become one of the most popular bouldering areas in the United States.

Mountain Project map of bouldering in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Whether you're a fledgling pebble-wrestler who caught the bug at the local climbing gym, or a seasoned hard-man willing to shiver for hours under your project in the dead of winter, LCC has something for everyone. Among the popular sectors within the canyon, the Secret Garden (0.2 miles up canyon), the 5 Mile Boulders (1.0 miles up canyon), and the White Pine Boulders (4.9 miles up canyon) stand out as having a great variety of high quality classics.

Max Zolotukhin projecting Hour of Power V13, Upper Gate Boulders, LCC

The best months to boulder in Little Cottonwood Canyon are September - December and March - June.

Chris Watts climbing The Big Guy V3, Swamp Boulders, LCC

The following is a list of must-do boulder problems in Little Cottonwood Canyon:

  • Fudge Ripple V1
  • Double Dyno V2
  • The Big Guy V3
  • Tequila Sunset V4
  • Ring Toss V5
  • Prowler V6
  • Shivers V7
  • Blue Steel V8
  • Wrist Rocket V9
  • Red Letter Day V10
  • Bully V11
  • Eclipse V12
  • Hour of Power V13
  • The Grand Illusion V16
Check out Tommy Rigby's video series Little Things: LCC Bouldering on Vimeo

If bouldering seems a little adventurous for you, Utah has something to offer everyone that feels the call of the wild, from gentle hikes to getting out on mountain bikes to scaling our most popular peaks.

For more information on bouldering in Little Cottonwood Canyon, check out Mountain Project or download the LCC Bouldering app on your mobile device!

Seven Slopes

Seven Slopes in a local's guide to what to do in Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Mountains.  The articles on this site were written by students from the University of Utah as part of a digital marketing curriculum.
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