September 29, 2008 posted by

Ride & Climb 5 Canyons

I’ve been working out the logistics for my friend Trent’s birthday challenge, which is to do a human-powered five canyon day, featuring riding and climbing. Trent’s great at coming up with stuff like this. He once linked a bunch of desert towers by bike in Canyonlands. This time, his idea was to ride all of our local canyons and climb a 5.12 in each one. Actually, there aren’t 5.12s in every canyon, so the plan is to ride all of the canyons that have 5.12s: City Creek, Mill Creek, Big Cottonwood, Ferguson, and Little Cottonwood. I said I’d come along for support and, since Trent hadn’t done all the routes on the agenda, I’ve been scouting for him. Here’s the plan:

Ride from Trent’s house in the avenues to Little Cottonwood Canyon, where we’ll climb Cool Your Jets, 5.12a

Next, we’ll cruise over to Ferguson Canyon, where Condor awaits.

This finishes the granite portion of the day. We’ll then take a short ride up Big Cottonwood Canyon to feast on some quartzite.

Highlander, while short, is probably the best route of the day.

Because there aren’t any recorded 5.12s in Mill Creek, we’ll head up its northern flank on to Grandeur Peak to a scruffy, seldom visited limestone crag called The Reef. Its one 5.12a, Leviathan, is quite powerful for the grade and may provide the day’s crux.

Finally, we’ll ride over to City Creek Canyon and finish things up at the Shoreline Crag, with another powerful offering, Bat Cave. Shoreline is a steep conglomerate crag, so we’ll add another unique rock type to our day.

I haven’t done 5 5.12s in a day in quite some time. Trent hasn’t ridden his bike this far in quite some time, especially considering the elevation gain. We’ll also be adding 3 hours or so of uhill/downhill hiking and, of course, carrying our stuff.

Should be fun.

pic: Andrew Burr shot of Highlander. Check out more at


  • Sounds great. But, how much ham’s he gonna eat?

  • That’s a damn fine question. We need to get down to the nitty gritty of his challenge, and no one’s more qualified than I am.-Pope

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