Miller's Thriller is a nice 2-3 pitch climb that can be made longer if the upper ice curtains are in and climbers are looking to gain more vertical.
The initial 15 foot ice curtain can be skirted to either side. Climb an easy WI2-3 ramp (narrow and thin) up and right, and then follow a snow slope toward the crux pitch (some parties belay the snow slope as pitch 2). Pitch 3 is the crux, at WI3 or WI3+. Climb a face (either directly in front of you, or slightly left) to a belay from a tree. This is the end of the standard Miller’s Thriller route. Climbers can continue for 2-3 more pitches of rambling WI3 steps when the upper ice is in. Much of this section is steep snow, but it can provide a stimulating additional bit of climbing for those who desire more than three pitches.
Descent from the upper, optional pitches can be made by slinging trees (rarely in situ, FWIW). Descent from the standard route can be made by rapping from the belay tree past the crux pitch. A second rappel will be needed to make it back to the base of the climb. Most climbers rap off another tree, but I believe there were bolts to skier’s left of the crux curtain/face at one time. Cruise down the approach gully and back to the car for cold beer.
Miller's Thriller, with the crux curtain/face obvious about midway up. Most climbers eschew the upper ice, but additional rambling WI3 can be climbed for ~2 pitches above the crux if it is in.
[img:268140:aligncenter:medium:Miller's Thriller, with the crux curtain/face obvious about midway up. Most climbers eschew the upper ice, but additional rambling WI3 can be climbed for ~2 pitches above the crux if it is in.]
Getting there: Follow the main page directions to get to Provo Canyon. From the mouth of the canyon drive 4.7 miles to the Nunn’s Park Turnout, but continue past this turnout an additional 1.5 miles. Look for a sharp right hand turn, and follow this road 0.5 miles to the end (or where plowing stops) and park.
Head left from the parking area toward the river and over a bridge. After the bridge, turn right on a snow-covered footpath. Hike west on this footpath just over a quarter of a mile. Hopefully a track will be available through the snow—if not, look for a brush-less gully to ascend to the base of the climb.
A Word of Caution
This route sits below a north-facing bowl that has and can avalanche violently. Be aware of the avalanche conditions before committing to this climb, and use the proper avalanche gear. When avalanche conditions are unstable on north-facing slopes, this is not the best climb to do. Climbers have
been avalanched off of this route, as well as the Fang to the east.
When avalanche conditions are unfavorable, there are better options for ice climbing: Stairway to Heaven, Pipe Dream/Kitty Litter Wall, Scruffy Band in Little Cottonwood Canyon, or Maple Canyon further south.
Standard ice climbing kit: two technical tools, a rack of screws, helmets. Two ropes will make the rappels easier, but I believe that they can be made with a single 60m rope as well--finding anchors may be difficult.
Guidebooks and Conditions
Some sparse information on this climb can be found in the Ice Climbing Utah guidebook by Dave Black.
Conditions reports can be found occasionally during the winter in the Utah forum on Summitpost, or on Mountainproject.com's forums or Utahclimbers.com's message board:
Summitpost Utah/Southwest Forum
MountainProject Northern Utah forum
UtahClimbers Ice & Snow forum
Wasatch Avalanche Conditions are available at:
Utah Avalanche Center Conditions Page