Rock & Ice Climbing
Rock Climbing in American Fork Canyon
In 1988 Jeff Pederson, Bill Boyle, and Boone Speed developed, bolted, and top-roped the first routes in Utah Valley. The pockmarked limestone cliffs of American Fork Canyon are what provide a unique and different challenge from more-prevalent granite.
Before you go: Stop by one of the local climbing shops for up-to-date route info, and to stock up on a few necessities. Visit the knowledgeable folks at Mountainworks (801) 371-0223, Hansen Mountaineering (801) 226-7498, and The Quarry (801) 418-0266 on your way to the canyon areas.
Equipment: The majority of the rock in the canyons is limestone, and with few exceptions, the routes are all bolted. A 60-meter rope is a nice luxury in the area, and necessary on a few climbs, but a 165-foot rope will get the job done. Bring a rack of 10-15 quick draws and several carabineers, and a tarp or rope bag to protect your rope from the scree at the bottom of the climbs. For the quartz routes in Rock Canyon, a standard rack is sufficient. Call one of the local shops for details.
Getting There: To American Fork Canyon, take the Alpine/Highland/Timpanogos Exit off I-15 just south of the Point of the Mountain. Head east on Highway 92 and continue through Highland until the road enters the canyon mouth 7 miles from the exit. A 3-day pass to the canyon is $6.00, and national Golden Eagle and Golden Age passes are honored. All mileage referenced for the climbs is from the flagpole at Timpanogos Cave National Monument.
Getting There: Rock Canyon is located in the foothills east of Provo. Take I-15 to the University Parkway South exit in Orem. Head east on this road until it winds into Provo. Turn left on 900 East, then right on North Temple Drive. This road heads toward the canyon and becomes 2300 North. Continue east and park in one of the two parking lots and continue the journey on foot from there.
Rock and Roll: In American Fork Canyon, warm up on The Membrane and Division Wall, two of the most popular sites in the canyon. These climbs have lots of protection from the sun, so they’re great routes during peak summer months. Parking for The Membrane is one mile from the flagpole. Find the trail at the east end of the parking lot, and follow it down to the stream. Once across the stream, The Membrane is staring you right in the face. The second bolted route to the right is Bad Faith, a good spot to start because of its solid hand placement and 5.9 rating. Next is the Caress of Steel, a 5.10a climb located the next route up-canyon from Bad Faith. Count five bolted routes and come to a route just right of a large evergreen. This is Riptide, and it’s hard to miss because on the weekends there are usually many people waiting to climb. This has a challenging proboscis near the crux, and a steep route up to it. If you’re not sweating yet, you will be after this 5.11c climb with an awesome roof and a right-hand spur named Flight Fright that finishes at the same spot. Stay left for the more popular shot, and finish with a smile on your face. Farther up the canyon (1.3 miles past The Membrane) are some pullouts on the right side of the canyon. Park here for Division Wall, and walk down the canyon to get to the action.
is located behind Little Mill Campground site #64, and with over 25 routes on one wall, it’s one of the most popular spots in the canyon. It’s crowded on weekends, and courtesy to campers and other climbers is a must for a harmonious experience. Work up from site #64, and start on 5.9+ Physical Therapy
, an interesting route and a good starter. Two routes down canyon is Litmus Test
, a 5.11c with a problematic roof. The furthest route up the canyon on this wall is another popular climb called Liquid Oxygen
. Lots of sweat equity needed here, but be sure and save some for the final push at the top. Rock Canyon
is notable not only for its quartzite surfaces, but also for its offerings to less-experienced climbers. Access The Red Slab by hiking a steep slope to the south out of the Turnaround Parking Area. Far to the right toward Ed & Terry Wall is Unknown
, an easy 5.5 bolted route 150 feet to the south of Kick. Mr. Cornflakes
is aptly named, and starts with some boulders up to the first shelf. It shares the finish with Mantle
, a 5.8 to the right of Cornflakes that has a better face and some good moves. For more difficult offerings, visit the nearly 30 options in The Projects
. This is an area where a 60-meter rope is necessary for several of the climbs. Hit technical Stilletto
, and get a brainteaser workout as well as a good muscle burn, or start with the long 5.11b Mutilation
as a warm up. The 5.13d Hey Whitney
and the 5.13b Junkie Pride
are for the barely sane or gluttons for punishment. Valhalla
is a traditional climb with solid holds and a challenging roof. Other favorites sections in the canyon are the Bug Barn
and Dance Wall
Bridal Veil Falls
Climbing in Utah Valley is a year-round venture , which means visitors in winter definitely don't have to go home empty-handed. One of the most popular and world-wide known ice climbs is in Utah Valley's very own Provo Canyon's 'Stairway to Heaven'.
To access this climb, head up Hwy 189 to Nunn's Park. From the parking lot, it's about 20 minutes to get to this ice climb.
It is said that this climb is one of the longest continuous climbs in North America. There are more climbs in both Provo Canyon and American Fork Canyon. Contact us for more information.
A breathtaking double cataract waterfall which drops 607 feet to the Provo River.
The Legacy Center is a recreation facility with a number of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Lowes Xtreme Air Sports is great for family fun! Huge open gym with several trampolines, foam pits, rock climbing wall, aeroball, tumble tracks, etc. Open every day but Sunday from 10:00 to midnight.
For the avid climber, Utah County has many places to go and scale the rocks.
The Byway winds through wonderful Provo Canyon, past Bridal Veil Falls and Deer Creek Reservoir, and on to Heber Valley.
True to its name, Rock Canyon is a geological dream. Located west of Provo in the Wasatch Mountains, Rock Canyon is known for scenic hiking and rock climbing.
Visit Seven Peaks Fun Center in Lehi. There are tons of activities to do for all ages.
The Quarry is in a constant state of evolution, with over 12, 500 feet of climbing.
Go ice-climbing with your own private guide. It's a whole new way to enjoy the beauty and majesty of the mountains.