Dow leading Outland, 5.10b**
City of Rocks is not known for wide cracks (off width climbing). But the few that are out there are full on blue collar (i.e. Masochistic Opposite, Salty Dog)
. The clan I hang with pride ourselves in being alpinists and seek out the wide every chance we get. Salty Dog was top on our radar because it involved a cool summit as well which is coveted at the City.
Dow leading Salty Dog, 5.10*
offers two decent leads, one full on trad, Salty Dog (5.10a*) and a mixed climb just to the right of it named Outland (5.10b**)
. Don’t let the guidebook grades fool you, I led both climbs back to back and Salty Dog is much more challenging than Outland even for the seasoned OW climber
. Most grades at the City and SLC area in general are soft compared to California and/or the desert and Outland would be a typical 5.9 most places vs a 5.10b. Whereas but for maybe just a lack of local off width comparisons, Salty Dog will seem sandbagged at the grade. Add in the most pack rat/marmot infested
(shit and sticks is what the route should have been named) wide crack I have ever climbed through as well as breaking a few holds on the outside of the crevice, Salty Dog becomes an adventure albeit of the one pitch variety. There are two other routes on the Finger Rock tower, but they are both top rope routes as labeled in the most recent guide.
Finger Rock is the furthermost northern feature to climb at the City of Rocks. Drive west past the Bread Loaves parking area on the left and continue down to a gravel road on the right labeled 562 (first right option after leaving the reserve proper). Turn right up this road which leads to more camp sites on USFS land. The lone tower/spire over looking these campsites from the east is Finger Rock (photo). Salty Dog is the obvious crack bottom to top crack on the west face. Outland is to the right on the south face. The belays ledges for both routes are just meters apart and the routes top out at the same end. Park by the restrooms and hike up the road and cut across left on a faint climbers trail.
Route Description (s)West Face
Salty Dog- 90’-5.10a*/ Not much accurate beta or any usable for that matter from the guide book on this full on off-width experience at the City. There are not many developed off-widths at the City as gym climbing in Salt Lake does not translate much to the real world outdoors. If you are into it, Salty Dog is a must, not to mention its position as a sit alone tower north of the main reserve is a plus. Salty Dog and Outland are right next to each other for the most part. Salty Dog is on right center on the NW side of Finger Rock. Dave calls it “daunting” in his guide but gives it a 5.10a rating? most of his ratings are soft compared to many other climbing locations, but in this case I imagine not many locals if even he have climbed the route. He speculates that it is a Galen Rowell route. This off-width splitter is stellar except for the fact that pack rats and pigeons have all but taken over the crack. In places that I needed an arm bar, it could not be attained due to sticks stuffed into the crack for nests. Rat shit and marmot shit is everywhere at this tower. I placed a strategic C4#4 early on to protect suspect rock off the deck and quickly got into a C4#6 crack which at times is slightly overhanging. I broke off one foot hold out on the face trying to wrestle through a maze of sticks and shit in the wideness. Several C4#6’s are key. I don’t believe I even placed my C4#5’s. There is no rap for Salty or Outland. Take medium gear to top rope Salty. You can scramble down the north ridge when done. Dow
Outland- 80’-5.10b**/This is a decent route, definitely worth doing if camped up this way. Outland is on the direct south face (end) of Finger Rock. Follow two bolts and a fixed pin through thoughtful face moves. Then trend back right and up through horizontal features in the rock with decent horizontal gear placements, ending this section at the base of a left facing corner. Mantle up and finish on easy ground to the summit. Not a good one to set up top rope, rather bring up the 2nd and walk off north. A few small to medium pieces to supplement the fixed gear. Dow
Patina Toprope Left- 5.10/
Patina Toprope Right- 5.10/