Sometimes you just want to climb cracks. If it hasn’t happen to you yet, I am sorry for your loss. However, leading some cracks can require certain technical skills you don’t have yet or require expensive gear that you don’t own. The cracks at Momentum are a great for top roping, but maybe you really just gotta’ get out on some stone. Well, here are my favorite top rope cracks in the Wasatch: Goodro’s Wall and Bongeater.
First up is the infamous Bongeater (10d). This four-star granite crack is one of the raddest burl fests around. Visible from the Little Cottonwood Canyon park-n-ride, the obvious dihedral crack hits nearly every size as it crescendos to a desperate, off-width mantle. It saw its first ascent by Warren Marshall and Lenny Nelson in 1964 and its first free ascent in 1974 by George Lowe and Pete Gibbs.
Bongeater can be set up by scrambling behind and up the back of the granite block. It is fairly easy to reach an anchor to set up draws and drop a rope, but I highly recommended securing yourself before stepping onto the angled cliff top. Be aware the granite can be slippery.
Goodro’s Wall (10c) in Big Cottonwood Canyon is an easier climb, but can be trickier to set up. This four star, lightning bolt crack was first done in 1949 and was quite possibly the hardest route of the time. It is steep, exposed and pumpy. At an angle comparable to the steepest top rope wall at Momentum, it moves like a face climb, but with hand jams and bomber finger locks. The smooth quartzite face requires fancy foot work using crisp edges and funky foot camming in the angling crack.
The best way to set Goodro’s up to top rope is to have a friend who is competent lead it, making sure to use your own hardware for the TR setup. You may even get lucky enough to have another group or party willing to put the climb up with your equipment. While it is possible to set Goodro’s up from the anchors of the nearby sport route, Six Appeal (5.6), it requires an unprotected traverse through some suspect rock and is not recommended.
As always, rock climbing and rocky areas are dangerous. Before climbing outside please make sure to have done the proper research and learning, whether from a mentor you trust or an institution like Momentum. Do not attempt to set up climbs for yourself or others if you do not understand the systems or equipment you are using. Beware of natural hazards such as rock fall and be courteous to fellow climbers in the area. Don’t do a bunch of laps on these classics if there is a line of people also looking to experience the awesome.
To learn more about crack climbing or outdoor climbing check out the Momentum Climbing School. Contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for our crack clinic on September 28th from 6pm to 9pm.