I haven't been climbing in what seems like ages, so when Marc_C
suggested that AmyZ
and I join him in Maple Canyon this weekend I jumped at the chance.
Maple Canyon is about an hour and a half south of SLC, a narrow crack in the Wasatch a few miles southwest of the hamlet of Fountain Green. That meant that our day began with an 8 a.m. meeting at Marc_C's house, which is downright inhumane outside of ski season, and I think that we were halfway to Sanpete County before my coffee and Marc_C's Euro techno/house music finally woke me up.
We parked at around 6,800 feet just below the Maple Canyon campground and climbed the short distance to what's known as the School House.
Maple Canyon boasts some of the strangest rock I've ever seen. The cliff walls are embedded with stones and larger rocks that look like they'd break off if you looked at them the wrong way, but surprisingly they're quite solid. Marc referred to it as like climbing up a vertical riverbed, and that's a better analogy than I could come up with. That makes up for an enormous number of holds, but some of them are quite rounded and therefore difficult to get a grip on. The routes themselves are also far more vertical than similarly graded climbing routes on other types of rock.
We were on the north side of the canyon, but large conifers provided ample shade and the canyon breeze was cool and refreshing at that altitude.
It felt liberating to climb again. I need to go more often this summer, especially because we were only there for a few hours before the weather headed south.
Another invading round of monsoon moisture brought with it afternoon mountain thunderstorms that forced us to retreat first to the car, then back to SLC hours earlier than planned.