For those who brave the long approach, the Beer Belly Buttress--the spectacular, west-facing set of smooth walls located high above the Gully of Higher Education, on the north side of the road--offers some of the best stone and, indeed, some of the best-quality moderates in all of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Long, single pitches, breathtaking views high into Broad's Fork and of the Salt Lake Twins--a visit to this crag should top every Wasatch climber's to-do list!
The Ruckman guide describes the approach as starting "3.9 miles up canyon from the neon sign." Just past the Storm Mountain spillway, yet before one arrives at the Gully of Higher Education, a big, solitary pine near the base of an obvious scree slope marks the start of the slog. Follow the scree up and towards an obvious fin of rock; scrambling up easy 3rd class sure beats the loose talus! There are some cairns along the way, though from above, there appears to be more than just one faint trail leading to the formation. Get after it!
"This route features some of the best quartzite in the canyon," according to the Ruckman guide. Ribbon in the Sky begins on a ledge, a few feet to the left of a scrub oak that marks the start of the Whip-Poor-Will Crack. Climb the blocky face to the first bolt. Take advantage of any gear placements as you finess your way up the beautifully featured face, past five more bolts on this long, involved pitch. A single 60m can be used to rap from the slings atop 12 oz. Curl. ...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
The worst part of the approach is from the road to The Point--sucky talus. It took us about another 35-40 min from there for a total of 1 hour to get Beer Belly.....without packs. There's room for many many more routes, although the plums have been picked.
Easy winner for the worst approach in the wasatch. Lone peak is brutal, but at least you're on a trail. This has horrendous schwak, talus, with cairns littering the slopeside leading you astray into depths of hellish no mans land never to return. We took 1.5 hours but we got lost in deep jungle brush and had to attend to our bleeding feet and sprained ankles along the way. The rock is good, but not that good. Recommend heading up there only if you have climbed at every other crag in the wasatch at least 4 times.
Anchor update: The belay atop ribbon in the sky/whip poor will etc on the main topout is still a bunch of ratty slings on a buttonhead and chockstone. Anchor on top of 12 oz curl is the same minus the buttonhead.