The Early Bird | Steorts’ Ridge

Sun About to Rise Above American Fork Canyon

The sun is trying to peek his head out through to beautiful maw of American Fork Canyon while I was driving to pick up Taylor.

Saturday mornings have become my last bastion of adventure. Having a grown-up job certainly accommodates smaller windows of opportunity to get out and play. That being said, I haven’t been necessarily deprived of recreation, but my complex schedule doesn’t allow for me to plan outings that are going to last for more than 4 or 5 hours––except for Saturday mornings.

Utah is the home of a lot of ultra-classic climbs, including two routes on the “50 Classic Climbs of North America” list, and as a result, a Saturday morning is almost guaranteed to draw the crowds on any of the 3+ star climbs, often including tourists out on climbing adventures. This list of 3+ star climbs in the Wasatch includes such routes as The West Slabs, Outside Corner, Crescent Crack, Arm and Hammer, Bushwack Crack, and, of course, Steorts’ Ridge.

Taylor has been climbing for a few years, but has never had a partner with whom to do any trad climbing, so I thought Steorts’ Ridge would be a really great opportunity to give her a first-time look into whether it was up her alley.

Taylor By the Truck

It pays to be the first person in the parking lot, even if that means waking up at 5:30.

In order to avoid crowds, I left my house at 6:00 AM and we were in the parking lot by 7. We took a few minutes at the bottom of the first pitch to go over some basics of gear placement and removal, then it was time to begin heading upward. Don’t tell Taylor this, but it was my first time leading a route that needed traditional anchors, so I was really excited to use my new cordelette and try my hand at building a really bomber anchor.

We were first, but while I was setting up our anchor, another party arrived behind us. Fortunately we were a lot faster than this group, so we didn’t result in a bottle-neck. By the time we exited, there were 4 parties on the route, either waiting to start or on one of the pitches, plus the friendly free-soloist, who spun a few laps, passing everyone a three times.

There’s a reason why it’s an ultra-classic climb in the Wasatch range; it really is a beautiful line. Not only is the view spectacular from the summit, but the climbing is just really fun. It’s a variation of slab, edges, and crack climbing, with a small roof, and even a super-run-out third pitch that you can climb out on a highly exposed aréte. If you like to climb multi-pitch routes, this should be next on your list.

What routes are on your must-climb list? What would you recommend for others to climb? Let us know in the comments.


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