The Gate Buttress - Prune Face

The Gate Buttress - Prune Face

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 40.57170°N / 111.7545°W
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 5800 ft / 1768 m
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Photos Coming Soon!

Park at the large pullout on the left side of the road 1.25 miles up the canyon. This parking area is used for approaching any of the 94 routes found in The Gate Buttress area.

Hike up the trail heading west (left) from the pullout. This will take you through a shady grove with some large boulders collectively known as the Gate Boulders, which are popular for bouldering. Hike through these, and take the feint trail that heads left. At an obvious junction, go left, and then leave the trail for a more feint trail that heads up a wash (right). This soon dead-ends into some cliffs and Prune Face is on your left.

Descent: There are two ways to reach and descend from the anchors if you're not lead climbing or lowering.

The first is to climb about 50 ft left of Prune Face and scramble up a groove in some cl.3-4 slabs with exposure. Continue up the slabs until you reach a large roof. Climb under this as you are detoured to the right and into a gulley. At this point you are a little bit above the anchors. Downclimb about 50 ft on the rock on the opposite side of the gulley.

The second is to follow the trail at the base of Prune Face left until you reach a clearing. Stay on the edge of the clearing and look for a trail (may be on top of some boulders) that cuts back right and into the trees. Take this trail and cut into a clearing on the right as soon as possibe. From here, walk across an exposed but easy slab with some good foot ledges to reach the roof described in the first approach. This route is probably the safer one for downclimbing.

The last 5 feet to the ledge below the anchor requries some 5.3-5.4 friction climbing and a fall would be very bad. This can be belayed from the trees above.

Route Description

Two aspects that summarize this area are: Shade and Quick Access. Prune Face is a long, narrow, wrinkled slab that is closer to the pullout for Gate Buttress than any of the other climbs. The approach is probably about 3-5 minutes. The base is well-shaded, a rarity for routes in the Gate Buttress area. As such, this wall is great for climbing on hot summer afternoons.

The climbing is very hard (much harder than similar ratings that I've climbed elsewhere in the canyon) and is continuously difficult for the entire length of the slab. There are many loose flakes (pinky-nail-size or smaller) that can tear off, and they tend to get grit on your climbing shoes, so watch out! Also, if leading, the climbing is very runout.

After climbing some of the routes, I can't reasonably agree with some of the info in Stuart & Bret Ruckman's "Rock Climbing the Wasatch Range". As such, I'm deliberately deviating from the text here by adjusting the grades (5.9+ for Straight on for You).

Route Difficulty Rating FA Trad/Sport
Shuffleboard 5.8 Unknown Tr
Iron Grit Variation 5.? 1994, Layne Oliver and Fred Durtschi Sp/Tr
Irong Grit 5.11a 1995, Tony Calderone, Fred Durtschi, and Layne Oliver Sp/Tr
Prune Face 5.9 1980s, Drew Bedford and Conrad Anker Sp/Tr
Straight on for You 5.9+ 1995, Tony Calderone and Dan Giovale Sp
Route overview information used from Stuart & Bret Ruckman's Rock Climbing the Wasatch Range. In depth information is from personal experience

Shuffleboard - 5.8

Start by climbing up a broken corner to the left of the slab (5.5). From here, walk up the gulley about 15 ft to reach a crack that arcs out of the gulley about 15-20 ft high and returns 50ft up the gulley. There is virtually no option for protecting this crack, and I doubt protection would help as you would be likely to deck in the gulley before the rope finishes stretching.

The crack is what makes this route, as you have to do some interesting laybacking on your fingertips while friction-climbing with your shoes to climb up and then sideways.

Prune Face - 5.9

This route had me sweating bullets the entire way up. The climbing up to the first bolt is definitely the hardest, with some pumpy upper-body moves required on thin crimps. The granite is polished here and its difficult to get purchase with your feet. As far as I can tell from the route topo, it is cheating to use the trees at the bottom, and the route stays on the left side of the corner.

Above the first bolt, breath a sigh of relief as the climbing gets slgihtly easier. From this point on you're climbing on nubbins and flakes that hold by shoving the fat of your finger on them hard. They stick remarkably well to shoes, although they can break off and leave grit on the shoes as well. After the first three bolts, traverse to easier ground on the left via a series of pencil-width mantels and finish the climb in a series of flaring cracks and grooves.

Originally this route was led with only one bolt and one pin for fixed protection, but a later party bolted the start.

Essential Gear

The gear needed will be discussed on the route description. In general, 3-8 quickdraws and some gear for using the bolt anchor are needed.

Other Info

If you have additional info for routes described or have done a route not described in depth, please put the info here and I'll integrate it into the page!


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