The majority of ice climbing in Utah is focused on the state’s various canyons, including Provo, Little Cottonwood, and Maple. The season is brief, with ice only forming reliably in December and January, and the crags are frequently crowded. Despite this, world-class climbing can still be found. If you have some time over the holidays and want to go ice climbing, Utah is a fantastic destination!
As previously stated, much of the ice climbing in Utah occur in the valleys of the Wasatch and San Pitch ranges.
As a result, climbers can expect quick approaches and lengthy days because the sun will not warm their routes and render them unclimbable. Crags are frequently accessible and provide a diverse range of climbing routes.
Utah, located in the western region of the central United States, is a convenient place to visit. Salt Lake City boasts a properly equipped international airport and is conveniently positioned as a starting point for any would-be travelers.
The Suitable Season
The one disadvantage to Utah ice climbing is the short season. Good-quality ice is usually only available in December and January, with February occasionally holding out for a little late-season play. Any early, and the ice becomes dangerous, and by March, spring has arrived, and climbers must pack their gear for the following season.
Locations for Ice Climbing in Utah
1. Provo Canyon
Provo Canyon, Utah’s most recognized ice climbing destination, is the state’s ice climbing hotspot. Provo boasts tens of ice climbs in one spot, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re a beginner, there are plenty of WI-2 climbs to learn the ropes on; more experienced climbers should visit Stairway to Heaven for some of the state’s most renowned routes. Provo Canyon will undoubtedly have two things: varying climbs and lots of crowds.
Because there are so many routes in the canyon, you can be confident that everyone in your group will have something to climb. Because they are less exposed to the ice, the paths on the south side tend to be a little more firm. However, if you want to hire a guide, you’re in luck! Utah Mountain Adventures offers ice climbing expeditions in Provo Canyon and would gladly supply you with all of the necessary equipment.
2. Little Cottonwood Canyon
Little Cottonwood Canyon, located near the center of Salt Lake City, boasts a good range of ice climbs, including the Great White Icicle, one of the state’s most iconic routes. Little Cottonwood is less beginner-friendly than Provo due to fewer routes and more multi-pitches. Instead, come here if you want to check off some of the state’s most exciting routes, such as Great White Icicle and Scruffy Band.
In the winter, road access might also be much worse. If there has been new snow, snow tires and four wheels are an excellent option.
3. Maple Canyon
Maple Canyon is a great place to go if you’re seeking a little extra adventure. This spot, smack dab in the middle of the state, offers longer approaches, steeper routes, and fewer crowds for any seasoned ice climbers out there. Legs are frequently covered in a fresh layer of powder, complicating life for everyone.
The climbs on the Maple, on the other hand, are well worth the effort. There are dozens of routes in the WI-3 – WI-5 range, many of which are multi-pitch or alpine routes. While it is not ideal for beginners, it might be a fantastic venue for a more experienced group to put their skills to the test. There isn’t much in the way of guided ice climbing at Maple Canyon. If you truly want someone to show you around, think about hiring a guide for the day and splitting the expense among your group.
4. Joe’s valley
Joe’s Valley has a few high-quality ice climbs without the crowds found at other spots. If you’re seeking a hidden gem in the state to make your trip feel more authentic, look no further. The climbs are more dispersed here, and the approaches can be more perplexing. However, if you’ve found a climb, you can expect to have a good time on solid ice away from the crowds of some of the more popular spots.
Joe’s Valley has a longer season than the rest of Utah, with climbing available from mid-November to mid-March. Highway to Heaven WI-4 and the Amphitheater WI-6 are two of the most well-known climbs in the area.