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Bouldering in the Uintas

Nestled in the Uinta Mountains at approximately 10,000ft lies a small collection of boulders near the Stone Garden, a popular sport climbing crag.

Quite a few climbers, including Rocco Bocchicchio, Victor Copeland, Johnny Landry, and Joe Meiners, have helped develop this boulder field. This summer, I made a trip out to the Uintas to check it out. I had seen a couple climbing videos for this area, but still wasn’t sure what to expect. Bouldering on quartzite? Sounds terrible, if you ask me…

Bouldering in the Uintas

These quartzite boulders near the Stone Garden were very textured. The high elevation helped keep the temperature below 80F, which was a nice break from the 100F back in Salt Lake City. We warmed up on some short slabs that were a little dirty (must not have been climbed on in a while), but my climbing shoes, the La Sportiva Solutions, were up to the challenge. My Solutions are my favorite warm-up shoes because they have thicker rubber and are way more comfortable than any of my other shoes. The heel of the shoe really conforms to my foot, making it easy and comfortable to heel hook. The shoes performed fantastically on these dirty slabs, which were great warm-ups that really helped me get in sync with the rock.

After climbing on these slabs, we hopped on some short juggy lines. These were fun climbs for a secondary warm-up. The holds were big enough that my fingers were comfortable, and the moves were big enough to really get my shoulders warmed up. Short and sweet!

Most of the boulders were pretty short and powerful, but there were a few that were tall with scary rock landings. I tried one of the taller problems, called The Unbirthday, and I was very glad that I brought my Black Diamond Mondo crash pad for this climb. I fell at the top of the climb and luckily had two Mondos that made my fall feel secure and safe. The Mondo is a great pad for these tall boulders, as well as the short ones. It covers so much surface area, and it’s thick enough that it can be better than having multiple crash pads.

diana 4After warming up properly, I decided to give Slasher (V5/6) my first (flash) attempt. I slipped on my Five Ten Blackwings to utilize their downturned toe. Slasher is slightly overhanging, and downturned shoes make it so you can really grab those small and slanted toe holds. My Blackwings are my favorite climbing shoes so far; I use them just about every time I climb. I really like the rubber on these shoes; it allows me to use tiny crystals and small features to stay on the rock.

After chalking up and taking a second to view the holds, I took a few deep breaths and hopped on. I managed to do the first few traversing moves, but wasn’t able to stick the big lock-off move. I hopped on again for a second attempt and felt much better on the big lock-off and crushed it. It is strange how a move can feel so uncomfortable the first try, but so easy the second try.

The Uinta Mountains were very beautiful and green. It’s truly an amazing place. I know I’ll be visiting this unique area in the future. It was nice to get in some fresh air and go to a colder place to climb. I would recommend it to anyone looking to go bouldering during the summer in Utah.

Just make sure you bring bug spray!

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