ON ROCK! Pullin’ the bong
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – I got out of town last week to go see some friends in Salt Lake City, see some live music, and play on some rock. It was a great break from the valley here to experience the “big city.” One of the great things about Salt Lake is the quick access to rock climbing. We spent a day cragging at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon on the superb quality granite buttress called The Bongeater Buttress. This is the buttress above the first parking lot, (on the left) as you go up the canyon, with the obvious dihedral. The trail begins at the northeast corner of the parking lot. Bongeater is the obvious dihedral. Some awkward climbing leads to a great hand crack which goes to fingers and finally to off-width, which can be liebacked (“pullin”). Bongeater (5.10d trad, 1 pitch) has been on my tick list for years, but, honestly, it looked too hard and scary for me to lead it. Fortunately for me, my friend had done it before, and promised me that not only would he lead it, but also it wasn’t that hard. Yea, right. For those of you that are not aware what a bong is in climbing terms, it is a piece of hardware used for protecting climbs that have big off-width cracks. I know what you’re thinking. These days, a Camalot #4 is a good replacement for protecting yourself on big, wide cracks. Well, my friend was wrong … the climb was terrifyingly hard! I hate off-width crack climbing! I always feel like I am on the verge of peeling off no matter how hard I pull and lieback. However, it was a great day trying to do other hard climbs there … but on a toprope. For gear: moderate rack with medium cams and stoppers, #4 Camalot for top of the OW, 60 meter rope, harnesses, shoes, and clip stick/quick draws for sport routes.
For Beta: stop by International Mountain Equipment store (3300E) or REI (next door). Or “Rock Climbing, Utah’s Wasatch Range” by Stuart and Bret Ruckman.” Rock On!