Climbing in Maple Canyon

There are two Maple Canyons in Utah. One is seated just up the hill from Mapleton, a growing town just south of Provo. I learned the hard way that this isn’t the one that’s known for climbing. The correct Maple canyon is an hour south. It’s easy enough to find, although it was much less crowded than the former. It confuses me how unwilling people are to drive an extra hour for a camp site. An extra hour makes all the difference in terms of crowds. Although Maple canyon (the correct one) is famous for it’s unique rock and challenging climbing, I didn’t encounter many people there at all.

I have a real fear of loose rock. I’m afraid that I’ll put too much trust on a hold and it will give way, taking me down with it. Maple canyon was like a haunted house for that. The walls look like thousands of smooth stones were trapped in a muddy soup that has since hardened and cemented them in place. It looks like a place where loose rock should be everywhere. It was a real trust exercise to get up the wall and not have anything come loose.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The guidebook we used to find our route told the story about the first permanent protection to be placed up that canyon. It only took a lot of welding equipment. There was a generator in the back of a truck parked on the dirt road, a 600 ft extension cord, and a 40 ft ladder. The guidebook talked about how embarrassing and noisy the equipment was, echoing off the canyon walls. But, the route was set and I personally appreciated it.

I had a great time at Maple Canyon. It was very easy to get pumped out quickly, thanks to the smooth, slopey holds that dotted the canyon walls. It’s not often that I find myself wishing for more crimps, but Maple brought that out of me. The campsite was excellent, with a concrete fire pit that was safe to ignite despite half the western U.S. being on fire right now. Not to mention the fact that our approach from campsite to crag was a mere 200 ft. It was an excellent place to camp and climb.

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