Rock Canyon—Visiting the Past

Kai on The Real McCoy, 5.7
Kai on The Real McCoy, 5.7

Last Saturday my friend Kai, his son Jared, and his cousin Jake went rock climbing in Rock Canyon in Provo, UT. Kai and I have been climbing together since 1984 when we did our first climb together in Rock Canyon. We were college students, and later roommates at BYU. The Fall of 1985 we climbed a lot. In fact, during the whole semester there was only one weekend where we slept indoors, at that was during finals. We rock climbed, hiked, climbed mountains, taught ourselves how to ice climb and cross country ski, anything to get outside.

Though our favorite place to climb was Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake, we climbed in Rock Canyon a lot because it was close and convenient, only a 7 minute drive from our apartment. Back then there were practically no bolts, and those that did exist were hardware store varieties that were not trustworthy. We climbed everything from the ground up placing our own gear, Tinker Toys, The Green Monster, most of the routes on the Ed and Terry Wall, the routes that existed at the time on the Red Slab, the Kitchen, and so on.

Last Saturday we climbed a 5.7 route called The Real McCoy on the Ed and Terry Wall. When we first climbed it 28 years ago there were only maybe three bolts on the route and they were terrible. They spun freely in the rock, so we protected the route the best we could. This time, even with the new bolts, it seemed a bit stiffer than the last time we climbed it. Of course, back in the mid-eighties we were lean and very fit. Nevertheless, we had a great time climbing it, reminiscing, and telling some of our climbing tales to Kai’s son and nephew (who are both BYU students). This particular climb lends itself to good photo opportunities because you can climb partway up the side of the climb to get pictures looking out directly across at the climber, even when he is 40′ or so up the climb. Kai led the climb then set up a top rope. The climb has four (or maybe five) bolts, then a nice hand crack that can be protected well with gear. Here are a few photos from the day.

Kai at about the second bolt
Kai at about the second bolt
A bit higher up
A bit higher up
Kai nearing the top. A nice lead.
Kai nearing the top. A nice lead.
Jared belaying with Jake looking on
Jared belaying with Jake looking on
View of the valley from near the base of the climb
View of the valley from near the base of the climb
Jared following
Jared following
Jared, a bit higher up
Jared, a bit higher up
Getting steep
Getting steep
The mighty Jake
The mighty Jake
My turn
My turn
About 40' off the deck
About 40′ off the deck
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