Grit Mill & Climbing Trail Access Project
The SLCA is excited to announce that the kick off to the Grit Mill & Climbing Trail Access Project at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) commenced with a Climbing Stewards Training on April 8th-10th. Volunteers and land managers interested in learning how to care for climbing areas gathered to discuss the future of climbing in the Wasatch and learned technical rock work skills necessary to for trail work at climbing areas. The weekend was in partnership with the national climbing advocacy group, the Access Fund, as well as the USFS Salt Lake Ranger District, Trails Utah, and Black Diamond.
The SLCA, Trails Utah & USFS have teamed up to completely revamp, restore and provide sustainability to the climbing resources in Lower Little Cottonwood Canyon. With a history stretching back almost 50 years, the climbing environment around Crescent Crack, the Bong Eater, the Egg, Secret Garden, and other climbing crags are seeing negative effects caused by a lack of maintenance or proper infrastructure. The growing popularity of climbing, concerns over LCC water quality through excessive run-off, rapidly deteriorating climbing staging area conditions and the spider web of trails have all led to the implementation of this project; designed to specifically improve approach and staging area conditions by decreasing erosion and plant degradation.
This trail project will not only create more sustainable access to climbing areas, but it will also provide hikers with a stunning 1.5 mile loop trail at the mouth of LCC. Ultimately, the project will help to conserve the health of the Salt Lake City watershed and will be a model for public-private partnerships that protect the places we love to play on public lands.
This is currently the largest climbing access improvement project on USFS land in the nation and is truly providing a model for other areas across the country. Work at the climbing areas will continue through the rest of April and ramp up again starting in August, lasting through the entire fall. The SLCA is thrilled to be partnering with the Access Fund & their Conservation Team on this vital initiative.
Please JOIN the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance at SaltLakeClimbers.org and LIKE us on Facebook & Instagram to learn about climbing advocacy efforts in the Wasatch. Climbers and non-climbers alike are invited to join the SLCA on June 9th in the Black Diamond Parking Lot (6-10PM, 2084 E 3900 S, Salt Lake City) for the 7th Annual SLCA Fundraiser Party and support projects like the one in LCC. Tickets are at SaltLakeClimbers.org.
This project is made possible because of our partners including Wasatch Legacy Project, Trails Utah, Mountain Accord, Recreational Trails Program grant, Waypoint grant, Access Fund grant, the Salt Lake Ranger District, REI, and more.
Photos by Jon Vickers