Gate Buttress Project: Phase One Completed

The Gate Buttress Project is designed to address 60 years of recreational impact on a 140-acre parcel of land owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located in lower Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. With the signing of a recreational lease in 2017, the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) was named active steward of the Gate Buttress parcel. The long-term stewardship goal for the property is to create sustainable recreation infrastructure, protect Salt Lake City’s watershed, and deepen the relationship and sense of caring for nature through volunteerism within the climbing community and supporting outdoor industry.

The goal of Phase One was to establish and consolidate climbing approach trails, as well as replace aging fixed anchors at the highest-impacted climbing sites on the including: The School Room, Green Adjective, 5-Mile boulders and the Dihedrals. Other objectives included decommissioning and restoring redundant user created trails, defining staging areas, as well as implementing a sign plan. The SLCA also sought to address the land owners concerns and delineate climbing access to The Fin formation, in order to avoid the church vaults. The approach to The Fin approach was better defined, however more stone infrastructure work is warranted and will be addressed in Phase Two and Three.

During the 2018 work season, the SLCA was able to construct 383 stone steps, 3,291 cubic feet of retaining wall, and establish 3,005 linear feet of trail. We facilitated 620 volunteer hours working on the trails resulting in ~$15k of in-kind labor. SLCA’s Wasatch Anchor Replacement Initiative replaced 128 fixed anchors on 39 climbing routes with stainless steel hardware and contributed an additional 192 hours of volunteerism and ~$5k of in-kind labor at the Gate Buttress. The following report showcases the work with before and after photographs.

Much more work is needed to provide for sustainable recreation infrastructure at the 140-acre Gate Buttress parcel. Phase Two will start in the spring of 2019 and will address The Thumb, East Gate, Black Peeler and Gargoyle Gully climbing sites.

By: Julia Geisler, SLCA Executive Director and Lindsay Anderson, SLCA Field Coordinator
November 25, 2018