Go for a climb this “Rock-tober”


(Photo Courtesy of Tommy Barker)

Are you feeling it, too? It’s really quite beautiful, once you think about it. Things are happening around Utah. The backgrounds of our Instagram selfies are changing to beautiful hues of gold, red, and orange. The soft smell of decaying leaves (and is that pumpkin spice?) is gently blowing in the breeze. It’s that time: Fall is upon us.

Send-tember is over, and Rock-tober is in full swing. What does this mean? Well, if you like to climb, you may realize that the temperatures around the state are beginning to calm down. The canyons in the Wasatch and the desert towers in central Utah are not quite as swelteringly hot. Plus, at least normally, for one glorious month out of the year, conditions around the state become just right to open up a veritable buffet of climbing opportunities.

Let’s do some math. Fall Break is nine days long. That’s nine uninterrupted days of pure freedom. Better still, that’s nine whole days of prime climbing time. I’m no math major, but that’s seven more days than our average weekend. Sounds to me like an opportunity.

While many people may be finding themselves running home to their families or going on sight-seeing trips around the state and beyond, you could be taking advantage of this prime weather to head down and climb in southern Utah without having to worry about getting back late Sunday night in time for classes the next morning. Or you could stay in the valley and climb along the Wasatch Front. Each day is a new opportunity for morning pump, mid-day crushfests, and evening epics.

If you’re still not getting my message, let’s look at average temperatures in the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons during this time of year: low- to mid-60s. What does that mean? Your climbing ability rises about two to three whole letter grades in this temperature. I don’t make the rules — these are just the facts, people.

Need some ideas? Grab a few crash pads and go bouldering in the Secret Garden, located near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon (only about 20 minutes from campus). Or, for more of an adventure, head down to Moab, camp for a few days, and go climbing at the infamous Wall Street. Not too far away is Indian Creek, which is well-known for its top-tier sandstone crack climbing. Now is not a bad time to make the drive and experience what all the hype is about.

If you don’t quite have all the gear, check out Outdoor Adventure’s equipment rental program. They have quite the inventory, and U students receive a small discount on rental fees. A bouldering pad is $6 for the day. You can even rent climbing helmets, harnesses, and shoes. Or grab a tent, sleeping bag, and every other camping essential you need to sleep at the base of your next objective. Now there’s really no excuse.

So get out this Fall Break and go climbing. The weather is great, school is a non-issue, and your friends finally have no excuse to not act as your belayer for the day.

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