My older son and I noticed these ice climbers last Sunday as we were heading up the Little Cottonwood Canyon trail from the Mormon Temple Quarry near the mouth of the canyon. While I have never participated in the sport, I have found myself up near their location on the side of the mountain when I was collecting images for the posts Life on a Rock, Scale or perspective… and Little Cottonwood Canyon Vistas.
If you are having difficulty finding the three climbers, they are just to the right and below of the center of the above photograph…three climbers, two at the top, and one in blue toward the bottom of the icy cascade that is near the horizontal middle of the image.
You might remember the post from December, 2011, when I shared my first encounter/discovery of ice climbers in the Little Cottonwood Canyon. The location from I Found a Frozen Waterfall is probably another mile up into the canyon and on the same side of the mountain, or canyon wall.
The first four images were from the beginning of our hike, shortly after 9:00 a.m. …and before the sun had made its way over the canyon walls…and the last two photos were taken at the end of the hike, close to four hours later. While it was still an overcast day, the light had changed the appearance of the snow and canyon from the blue hues to the more gray and subdued colors that are not uncommon for our winter mountains.
My son, with his more-than-slightly younger ears, could hear the climbers’ picks smacking into the icy walls, just a “tick…tick……tick” from across the hundreds of yards that separated us, the sound traveling easily in the quiet mountain air, from however many feet above us.
I heard somewhere that adventure seekers often participate in the winter sport of ice-climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City. I knew that there was at least one set of falls in the canyon, Lisa Falls, but had never seen it in the winter, so I couldn’t imagine what it might look like. Today, as I was hiking through Little Cottonwood Canyon, I happened upon an odd trail that led off into the woods, away from the main trail that continued for almost three miles and terminated at the ruins at the far end. Since I had started my hike late in the day, I figured I would follow the trail and explore a little more of the canyon that I hadn’t seen, instead of continuing on toward the ruins at the end of the trail. The well-worn trail led to the base of a frozen waterfall…and I could still hear the water from the moving and living stream beneath the ice. I will have to return to this spot after Spring returns so that I can see the wonderful waterfall in action.
This was the first glimpse I had of the falls -
After a few more minutes of climbing, I reached the base of the falls, a sheet of ice covering a huge rock…and strangely, I could see the water still “flowing” under the ice at the far left edge -
I had to move around a bit on the side of the mountain in order to find a better, or more complete view of the falls. It appears that there are essentially three segments -
When I was standing at the base of the falls, I noticed a backpack sitting against one of the trees. I hadn’t seen or heard anyone on the trail above me when I was hiking up toward the falls, so I imagined that there must have been someone above me. His red coat made it easier to spot him with my camera -
I had to move to still another location, more to the left of the falls, in order to get a better picture of the upper section of the falls -
And then with the fantastic zoom lens on my new camera, I was able to see the greater detail of the upper section of the falls…quite amazing, actually -
It wasn’t until I returned home and looked more closely at the pictures on the computer that I saw the second climber at the top of the falls -