Ice Climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

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.

Ice Climbers on South Wall of Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

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.

Ice Climbers on Frozen Falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

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.

Ice Climber placing anchor Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

Ice Climbers at top and bottom of falls in Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

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.

Solo ice climber Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

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.

Solo ice climber close-up Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

46 responses

  1. Wild Juggler

    Wow! Amazing photos. I would love to try this some day.

    January 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

    • Looks pretty incredible, doesn’t it, WJ? This would be a great time of the year to come out and give it a try…. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm

  2. Great images!! Ok, so is pick 2, 3, 4 blood in the ice? That’s what it looks like!

    January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

    • I believe that’s the coil of extra rope on on the ground – hopefully not blood!

      January 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    • Thank you, Lazaro…but I believe Karen is correct…I’m pretty confident that that’s a coil of rope that’s being used to help prevent the later climbers from falling…but I can understand how it looks like a bloody mess…. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

  3. Amazing photographs Scott… I cannot even imagine the skill one must have to be an ice climber — must be so invigorating to be there… but I’ll stick to the nature trails here 🙂 ~ Love to you and yours my friend!! ~ RL

    January 19, 2013 at 10:16 am

    • Thank you, Robyn…and yes, there must be quite a skill associated with successfully making it up the side of a mountain in such a fashion…and I imagine that it would be very invigorating, as well…and Love back at you, too, Miss Robyn! 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

  4. These are great images of these silly folks! 😉 Makes me nervous though. Did your EMS instincts kick in watching them?

    January 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

    • They are rather silly, aren’t they, George…and yes, I was hoping someone could still get a cell signal up there, fortunately, it was just inside the canyon, so it should still have worked if someone needed to call 9-1-1.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

  5. Very interesting, Scott. I’ve never tried ice climbing but there are a few places to go ice climbing around here. Our little rock faces are not so impressive.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

    • I would imagine that it IS very exciting…especially once one makes it to the top of where they’re going…and then there’s the return trip to the ground…. 😉

      January 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

  6. Fabulous images Scott. I love that pale green tinge to the ice. Phenominal icicles. Those guys are quite mad but it must be quite something to achieve a climb like that.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

    • I agree with you, Adrian…it must be quite a thrill to get up there…and yes, that green tinge is quite something…I’ve seen the same color in some deep pools of water up here in the same canyon’s stream…so pretty…. And thank you, too. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm

  7. I’m happy to hear that you don’t extend your adventuring to include this dangerous sport. Just keep doing what you’re doing!

    January 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    • No, Gary…I haven’t and very likely won’t be one of those guys climbing the ice. I do have a near certainty that I will keep doing what I’m doing! Thank you, friend. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm

  8. It took me quite awhile to locate the third guy off to the left of guy in red. He kind of blends in with the rock face and the skimpy little tree. Personally, I think these guys (?) are nuts, but to each his (her) own.

    January 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    • I almost pointed-out that the second one at the top appeared to be a little obscured by the tree…and I do agree with you, and the general consensus….there’s at least a little bit of nuts, or madness as Adrian said, going on with these guys/gals…but still, it must be a rush, too. 😉

      January 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      • There’s no doubt that they do it for the rush, but it’s just not the way I’d choose to get my kicks. Too cold. 😦 But if that’s what floats their boat, more power to them.

        January 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

  9. settleandchase

    Amazing! Such detail..and you know I love to see humans made tiny in these huge expanses..

    January 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    • Quite amazing, Cath…and yes, I do know how you love to see humans made tiny by these huge expanses…. 😉 I’m very glad you enjoyed them…..

      January 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm

  10. looks formidable

    January 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    • That’s a good word for it, Shimon. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  11. Fascinating sequence Scott and amazing to see frozen waterfalls. Those spikes of ice look truly dangerous, but a gorgeous colour. Having a long lens gives landscape work a whole different context….very good, I hope that you managed to keep warm.

    January 19, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    • Thank you, John…I’m glad I could share the images…I think those spikes of ice must be huge, and yes, probably dangerous, too, if they managed to break off and hit someone on the way down the mountain. I was quite pleased with my little camera, too…it has quite a nice zoom feature on it, which does add to the enjoyment of being able to capture images like these.

      Funny you should mention the bit about staying warm, too…when we got back to the truck, we noted that the temperature was Zero degrees (F)…and it actually felt warmer than it had probably half a mile back up the canyon…it was the coldest I have ever felt here in Utah…my front teeth were actually hurting from the air. It was very nice to make it back to the truck…. 😉

      January 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm

  12. I don’t think I could do that. I’ve seen how easily icicles break.

    January 19, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    • I think much of it is a very thick sheet/mass of ice, Allen…but yes, the icicles would probably break quite easily, especially with the weight of a person attached to them.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

  13. Whew! Absolutely breathtaking images. Wonderful, Scott!

    January 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    • Thank you, Melanie! 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

  14. That’s some very pretty ice, Scott! I’ve never had the slightest interest in climbing it though.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    • I can’t say that I blame you, Terry. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

  15. Looks like fun . . . and a nice place to hike.

    January 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    • It is a great place to hike, Emilio…and probably a lot of fun to climb, too….

      January 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

  16. The ice climbers give a real feel of the enormous scale of the landscape, it looks immense. Terrific pictures Scott.

    January 20, 2013 at 2:00 am

    • It is quite immense, Finn…I still remember the very first time I drove up into the canyon…I was awe-struck…and still find the scale to be amazing…. Thank you. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

  17. WOW!!!! Great shots!

    January 20, 2013 at 2:09 am

    • Thank you, Dreams and Zeros!

      January 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

  18. The scale is absolutely amazing. It took me a while to find the climbers in the first image even with your directions! It’s not something I would like to do but I can admire those who take part in such awe-inspiring, skilled, and physically demanding activities.

    January 20, 2013 at 7:44 am

    • That’s a good word for it, Meanderer…I admire the climbers, too…their obvious courage and tenacity of spirit. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm

  19. smackedpentax

    Amazing photos…I did a bit of ice climbing many years ago but one day I put the spike from the ice axe through my foot…that smarted a bit!

    January 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    • So is it as rough as we all think it would be, SP…and scary fun, too? I can imagine that the ice-axe did hurt quite a bit…goodness!

      January 21, 2013 at 6:49 pm

  20. victoriaaphotography

    Amazing images, as always. Love that bluish tone to the mountains & ice.

    I have some close-up ice climbing on dvd and like mountain climbing, wish that I was there on the cliff face. Ice climbing looks a lot scarier than snow covered mountains, but I guess it’s all about experience, skill, common sense……….and more importantly, great climbing partners to ‘watch your back’ and help you out if need be.

    January 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    • Thank you, Victoria…and I’d guess the same, it’s about experience, skill, and common sense…with great partners, too….

      January 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm

  21. elmediat

    Beautiful sequence. Will be passing the link on to non blogging friends & family. Well done. 🙂

    January 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    • Thank you, Elmediat…and thank you for sharing it with your family and friends, as well. 🙂

      January 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm

  22. Chez nous aussi c’est la pleine période. il suffit juste que la neige se stabilise et ça va être le bonheur pour certains.

    January 25, 2013 at 6:03 am

    • Oui, cela va être le bonheur pour certains, et le reste d’entre nous juste admirer ce qu’ils font là-haut!

      January 25, 2013 at 6:39 am

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