Belay Specs Blog

This blog has less to do with Belay Specs and more to do with our employee's climbing and outdoor outings.  We'll talk about exciting news about Belay Specs but we'll talk much more about the trips we've taken and the places we've checked out.  We'd like to share some of our experiences in the hope that they inspire you to check the areas out for yourselves. If you read about an area or activity in one of our posts and have questions on beta, route recommendations or anything else, leave a comment and we'll try to fill you in.

After Buddy and Nora joined us, we were a ground of 5 climbers and one gimp. After going through the guide book looking for a crag with morning shade and easy routes, we ended up back at Roadkill Wall. We put up a few easy routes: Porcupine Mush (5.6), Canned Beaver (5.9), Armadill Waffles (5.8). These three routes used to be pretty short but have been extended at some point to be around 70 feet long. The new Wolverine guidbook lists them in their short state which confused us for a little bit. Nora hasn’t led many routes but she tackled Porcupine Mush without a problem, a nice confidence builder for a new leader. Buddy and I got on Worm Hole Boodie (5.10c) on the far end of the wall. The route is short, only 3 bolts but earns the grade at the last bolt in a confusing section where less than desirable holds need to be used. Overall not a great route but worth getting on if you are at Roadkill Wall for the newer climbers in your group and want a challenge for yourself. Being Saturday, the Roadkill Wall got pretty busy so we left after doing these routes and got some lunch.

After lunch we tried heading back to the Orangutan Wall but found it baking in the sun. Instead, we stopped off at the Pipeline to enjoy its shade and get on a couple routes. I put up Liquid Zipper (5.10d) which has some neat moves up the right side of the vertical notch in the Pipeline’s overhang. Emily gave the route a go and then Alana hopped on. It took a few goes for her to figure out the start but once she got the moves sorted out she flowed through the first half of the route to the reachy crux. After Liquid Zipper, it was still sunny at Orangutan so I hopped on Cresent Moon, a popular 12a that goes up the main overhang of the Pipeline. The route is pretty continuous and sequential but, after hanging at a few times, I figured out the moves. After a rest, I got back on and managed to get through the roof but fell going for a crimp at the end of the crux. A little different footwork would have helped. We ended our day at Orangutan wall heading up a couple easier routes and a Kissing an Angel (5.10d).

On my last trip to Maple, I decided it wasn’t a great place for beginners or moderate routes but after exploring Orangutan Wall and the climbs at Roadkill Wall, I realize I was very wrong. I’d mostly climbed at crags in the Right Fork crags previously which don’t offer up many good easier routes. If you’re looking for moderates check out crags in Left Fork, Middle Fork and the main canyon.

 

After over a month of working 80 hour weeks, my wife finally had two days off in a row so we jumped on the opportunity and headed to Maple Canyon for a couple days. We picked up our friends Emily and Ben on Friday morning and headed down. Ben broke his heel a few weeks ago and wanted to get out of the house for the weekend. Maple is 100 miles from Salt Lake and with the construction on I-15 near Provo usually takes about two hours. We hit some additional construction and got to Maple in the late morning.

Emily and Alana haven’t been leading much since last summer so we headed to Roadkill Wall to get on some shaddy, easy routes. There are a bunch of sub-10 routes at Roadkill Wall, just the thing the girls needed to warm up to climbing again. The routes at Roadkill Wall are great for beginners and for first leads. There is a chimney that divides the wall and the routes to the left of the chimney are nice and long while those to the right are a little bit tougher but short. While we were climbing Ben had some fun messing with the Belay Specs and camera, trying to get pictures through one of the prisms. The effect is pretty neat although hard to get a really good shot. Here's one of Alana climbing.

alanainmaple
The sun in Maple is pretty intense so once it came over the top of the wall, we headed back to the car for lunch. After lunch we headed off in search of shade and ended up at the Orangutan Wall. This wall is nice and shady in the afternoon and offers a dozen long, well bolted vertical routes from 5.7 to 5.10d.. On a nice weekend afternoon it is almost guaranteed to be busy. Alana tied in and headed up Superfly (5.8), one of those nice long routes. Ben was getting antsy and decided climbing with a huge boot was a good idea and none of us could convince us otherwise. I can't be too critical of him, I once bouldered at a gym while my broken knee was mending.

BeninBoot
Afterwards, Emily wanted to get on something a little bit steeper so we crossed the canyon to The Pipeline. A dry creek bed lies at the base of the wall and the moving water has carved the wall into a half pipe provided steep terrain for short, bouldery routes. I got on Dyna Bone (5.10b), a short 5-bolt route that goes up a slight break in the pipe and is one of the least steep routes on the main wall. After climbing the slabby and vertical routes, reading the cobbles on the steeper rock was a challenge. The cobbles at Maple takes time to adjust to and learning to read the rock is key to being able to send more difficult routes. Emily and Alana got on Dyna Bolt and had similar struggles with reading the rock. In between their attempts on Dyna Bolt, I got on Angry Itch (5.11b) and CrapO (5.11d) and managed to on-sight both although not with much grace or cool. We packed up after these routes and headed to the upper parking area to cook dinner.

It is tough to get a camp spot at Maple Canyon on weekends in the summer and we had no luck. Free BLM camping is available however up the road in a meadow on the other side of the ridge. The road is pretty rough and I didn’t think my old Outback would be up to the task. Instead my friend Buddy shuttle us up to the meadow in his Explorer when he got in around 8:30 pm. The road was rougher than I remembered and I was glad that I chose not to drive up there. If you’ve got a decent 4x4 with good ground clearance you should be able to make it up the road and not have to worry about reserving a campsite at Maple again.

 

Maybird Gulch in Little Cottonwood Canyon is another cliff developed by Greg Martinez and detailed in the paper guides of his routes sold at IME in Salt Lake City. My friend Buddy wanted to get out for a half day so we cruised up to check out Maybird Gulch. We parked the car and looked up at the bare stone in the obvious gulch above us. It looked like a long way but the hike only takes about 15 minutes. I wasn’t super excited about the rock but it climbed okay. The rock is blocky and climbs more like the quartzite found Big Cottonwood Canyon than the granite found in most of Little Cottonwood. The routes are well bolted, a little bit soft so they stroke the ego and are good for the budding leader or those needing to get their lead head back.

Buddy and I started warmed up on Purple Haze (5.9+) then did Drop Out (5.10c), which splits off of Purple Haze after a few bolts and goes to the anchors of Collie Buddz (5.10b), our next route. Drop Out and Collie Buddz both have funky roof moves in the middle and share a tough little move protecting the anchors.

Feeling good and loose, we walked up to the next group of climbs and got on Bubbles & Booze (5.11-). It is a nice little route with a definite crux ⅔ of the way up. It’s nothing too hard but requires some long moves and high feet. We then each took a run up Squeeze It Until It’s Purple (5.10c). Buddy decided to not use a big hold out right for some reason and found it to be a little bit tougher than I did. Again, a decent route but nothing that really blew me away. I’m excited to get back up here with my wife to help her work on her lead head and get the cobwebs out.

 

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What our users have to say

Belay Specs have allowed me to finally enjoy sport climbing.  As a chiropractor I know the huge anatomical stress of extended extension while belaying.  Belay Specs allow you to belay without putting yourself at risk of injury and lost climbing days.  In my opinion, they are just as important as your belay device. 

Dr. Chris Hanson of NE Community Chiropractic  www.necommunitychiro.com

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