Trilogy Buttress is a wall about 600 feet tall in Rock Canyon, Utah just east of Provo. The easiest way up it is the Lord of the Slings route. It's not too technically demanding, but the exposure can get your heart pumping. It can be done in as little as 3 pitches, but we are cool so we did it in 5. Here's a pic of the general route up the buttress:
At this point you're probably thinking that I forgot to say just how difficult the pitches are, well, fortunately for you I just got a cookie dough blizzard (cookie dough blizzards are like the opposite to forgetfulness drafts) so I didn't forget!
Pitch 1: 5.6 YDS
Pitch 2: 5.6 YDS
Pitch 3: 5.9 YDS
Pitch 4: 5.9 YDS
Pitch 5: 5.8 YDS
Remember when I said that some people do the Lord of the Slings in only 3 Pitches? Well, you can combine pitches 1 & 2 into a single pitch as well as pitches 4 and 5. This makes them kind of run outs, but we're cool so we just don't worry about it and split them up. I got all the difficulties off the mountain project site. I'd say they're pretty accurate having climbed it a few times.
It was 1:30 PM on Friday March 30th. I was nerding about on the Summit Post when I got a text from my guy friend Austin. I'm 15% sure this is how our convo went. Sorry about using the word "convo".
Austin: "Hey guy, when you off work?"
Anders (me): "3 PM"
Austin: "Me and Tyler want Lord of the Slings."
Me: "Oh, well, I'm off at two then. I've been such a good boy all day, and I deserve a treat."
Austin: "Well, hell, if a multi-pitch climb on a Friday evening isn't a treat I don't know what is!"
It was settled! Off we went to Rock Canyon, located east of Provo, Utah. It's a pretty delicious place to climb (even if you're not a rock biter). Take the University Parkway Exit in Orem, Utah. That road will take you into Provo after a few miles. Turn East on 2300 N which twists and turns into 2200 N. Take N. Temple Drive after that and the road will head straight into Rock Canyon.
So, listen. From the parking lot it's about a five minute jaunt up the canyon. The first side canyon you come to will be the one to take. It's probably the best side canyon ever. It's in the vicinity of Bad Bananas and Super Bowl if you're familiar with the area. Here's a pic of what it looks like from Rock Canyon.
From the start of the side canyon it's about a 400' climb to the base of the buttress. Just look for the bolts...although they're kind of hard to see.
We threw down our gear and Tyler declared that he was fine with leading all of the pitches. He then decided to guilt trip us into having no regrets in life.
Austin promptly mentioned that he would have no regrets if he didn't lead any pitches. For some reason I felt compelled to lead one of the pitches. It might have been the fact that I was wearing my new Sportiva Boots that I had received off the Steep and Cheap the day before or the fact that Future Anders (future me) came back in time to tell me how fun it was going to be. Present (now past Anders) and Future Anders made a democratically unanimous decision to lead pitch 3.
Tyler unraveled his new rope, Austin and I marveled at its beauty; its genius. It was such an attractive flavor of blue. I probably didn't tell Tyler about it though lest he know the full extent of my lustingness. Nevertheless, he took the business end and was then scaling the first 120' of the first pitch.
Like I said before, the first pitch is 5.6 YDS, but there are like 3 bolts per the 120 feet. The second bolt is so high up that if you were to take a fall you'd hit the deck. I know it's only 5.6, but it's still scary to think about...just like I know there isn't a monster under my bed, but it's still scary to think about. I mean...what if there is a monster that looks exactly like a cookie dough blizzard but it's just mimicking one to lure you in!? Don't tell me you'll be able to sleep at night thinking about that!
So...moving on...Tyler flew up the first pitch and soon Austin was halfway up it. Actually, Austin scoffed at the 5.6 and kept on his street walking shoes. It's like he didn't even care. And since he was top roping he really had nothing to worry about...except maybe hurt pride, but there's no room for pride when climbing...right?
I had to put my camera away and don my harness and shoes. So when the rope came down I was ready...it was business time. It's not a bad climb, it's fun and the exposure makes up for the lack of difficulty. I honestly don't really care so much about difficulty. I can have fun playing on a jungle jim. I have one in my back yard. Soon we were reunited on a small ledge!
We didn't find out later, but there is actually a way better ledge not ten feet above the chains. It's grassy and nice enough to have a picnic there. We should have had a picnic...anyway, Austin had to make due with his small ledge.
You can't really see too much above the ledge after pitch 1, but pitch 2 is 5.6 YDS as well. You can pretty much ogre all the way up this climb, but we kind of weigh a lot so we try to practice efficient climbing moves.
The pitch was fairly uneventful, except for the dragon, but it's still too soon for me to talk about that...too soon..
It didn't take long until we were all back together again. This was probably the fastest pitch as it is the easiest. Austin got stuck with hauling the rope to the base of the 3rd pitch. Here's a shot of him at it.
The 3rd pitch is about 80 feet of 5.9 YDS climbing. There's some shrubs or small trees at the top that serves as a great pull up bar or anchor. I actually haven't led much out side and this was my first time leading on a multi-pitch climb. I was a little jittery, but I put it out of my mind for the most part.
Tyler decided that he would take a break and make Austin belay me. He fell asleep on a rock for a five minute power nap. I took the business end of the rope and waved goodbye to Austin. It was a very touching moment for everyone.
I really took my time, making sure every hand and foot hold was secure. I felt so secure at the second clip in that Austin took a pic of me as I posed. Tyler was snoring away. It kind of made me jealous...what a comfy looking monolith he had going there.
Near the top I placed all my weight on a toe hold that promptly broke off, showing down on Austin. He was real good about it and continued to belay me as rocks flew toward him. I ended up sticking it and making it to the top just fine. I then belayed Tyler and Austin, but I couldn't see them as they made their way up.
As Austin would tell me as he anchored himself in at the base of pitch 4, "I'm so sketched out right now." I was feeling it a little bit too. The exposure was getting to us a little and we knew the hardest pitch was coming. Pitch 4 is about 70 feet long and is 5.9 with some slopey holds, but mainly it's the fact that the lead climber, in this case Tyler, had to walk out and climb up to the first bolt. If you fall getting there then you have a nice pendulum swing in your future. Tyler was his usual self and made it without problems, although he did scream at one point.
Austin and I practically huddled together at the bolt as I gave my camera to Austin so he could take some pictures of him. I belayed Tyler and was glad he didn't fall. The end of pitch 4 is a baby of a ledge where only a few people can stand.
Soon it was Austin's turn to take the walk out on the scary ledge and then climb up to baby ledge. He did a good job, and climbed quickly. He even poked his face in the bird's nest in the cave and told all the babies hello. It was the sentimental moment of the climb. Good job guy!
Tyler had to throw the rope to me. I remember feeling a little bewildered about it. Rumor has it that Tyler did a little too, but he ended up throwing it right too me and I caught it on the first go. I think we got nominated for best team work move of the night on that one. It still gives me goosebumps of joy when I reminisce about it. There was also a pretty good view from where I was at. I didn't mind looking at that!
It took me a while to climb pitch 4. I remember wanting to rest, simply to rest, but I decided to tough it out, pulled some gastons and soon I could hear my buddies chatting away. It was always nice when I could hear them, it meant that I was getting close. Soon we were all jammed on that small ledge.
Pitch 5, the Shards of Narsil
From the small ledge you have some options. There are several different routes up the last bit. We chose the 5.8 YDS Shards of Narsil route. And let me tell ya...this route is aptly named. There are lots of sharp rocks jutting out from the wall. They make great hand and foot holds, but can also cut you to ribbons. It's about 100 feet from there to the top. Tyler led again.
You know...I really should have brought a helmet. Tyler kept knocking rocks down toward me, and one hit me in the glasses. None were big, but they still stung. I guess that's my lesson to be safe. Tyler made great time and soon Austin was climbing up the last pitch. I dangled my foot off the ledge to show how far down it was.
I decided to be cool and do a knee smear on the wall. It was probably the worst decision ever as it hurt like hell. I can get away with crap like that climbing in a gym, but not outside. I was pulling off some major awesome moves, and even though no one could see me do them, my buddies still knew I was climbing like a champion. Tyler was a nice guy and belayed me up, and soon my head poked out over the ledge.
I was pretty tired at this point and the climbing got easier as I could hear my friends, so I slowed down and took my time. You know, cut my arm a few more times and looked at the birds as they flew by. It was a lovely experience. I couldn't help but shout for joy when I got to the top.
The Top and Down
It was pretty much mandatory that we all posed for the top. I mean, after a great climb like Lord of the Slings you kind of have to!
I even pulled up my pant leg to see the damage I had done. It was kind of funny that I cut my knee, but my Arcteryx Rampart pants were unscathed.
Probably something better to look at was the sunset view over Utah Vally. It made me remember the time when future me would tell me about writing a trip report and eating a cookie dough blizzard on a Saturday evening. Hey! That's right now!
There are two options to get down. You can rappel or you can simply walk down. There is a pretty well used trail that goes down to the rock slide; which eventually turns out to be the very same rock slide you use on the approach. So, all in all it was a great experience, and sliding down the slide was oodles of fun. Sorry about using that word too. Hope you enjoyed the tale of the Lord of the Slings. I highly recommend this climb to anyone who would like a fun and kind of easier climb in a Friday/after work setting.