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Big Willow Cirque

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Basque Cirque Route T 
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Big Willow Cirque  


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Elevation: 10,000'
Location: 40.5328, -111.7613 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 10,262
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Tyler King on Sep 5, 2008
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BETA PHOTO: A view of the backside of BWC- might help visualiz...

Description 

Ominous South and west facing walls surround the cirque. A great place for the adventurous or reclusive climber. Highly featured granite makes up these 500 ft walls. Routes are modest in difficulty and there is a lot of potential for new routes in the upper cirque and on the various walls along the way. Water is hard to come by in the upper reaches of the cirque, however, snow can be found at the base of the walls through most of the summer. Beautiful campsites can be had at a few flat spots a little ways below the cirque.

Lone peak can be accessed from the Big Willow Cirque by one of two ways. The first is to scramble the steep, unstable talus field to the south of the cirque. However, great care should be taken of large rockfall. I witnessed large rockfall twice within 8 hours of each other and continuous small rockfall in between. The second way is to scramble up the notch on the far north east, to the side of the wall that Giggles is found. At the top of the notch the ridge to the south can be followed until the col between Lone Peak and Big Willow Cirque is reached. The walkoff for all routes is to go east and south (north for "Close Encounters") until the notch can be obtained. Rap slings leading into the notch can be found by carefully heading south, however take great care of loose brittle rock.

Getting There 

Refer to directions for Big Willow Canyon for information on parking and general trail info. The trail becomes faint in the upper reaches. Small red markers are found intermittently along the trail at this point. Gently curve south using the walls as a reference. Be careful not to get on the trail that heads more north to the saddle below Rocky Mouth Peak.

Climbing Season



Weather station 5.8 miles from here

2 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',2],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Big Willow Cirque:
Giggles   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 500'   
Browse More Classics in Big Willow Cirque

Featured Route For Big Willow Cirque
Basque Cirque Route beta (P2 alternate shown in yellow).

Basque Cirque Route 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  UT : Wasatch Range : ... : Big Willow Cirque
This route climbs the obvious “tower” north of the main Giggles formation. It's about 50-60 meters down and north of the start of Giggles. Despite the Ruckman's stating “this description may not be entirely accurate” they got it pretty spot on (presumably). Their statement drew us right in... although this was the hardest 5.6 we'd ever climbed. Their 1991 Wasatch Climbing North has a good picture of the route. The route starts just up and right from the low point of the tower's formation in...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of Big Willow Cirque Slideshow Add Photo
Looking down the notch.  It is pretty steep and loose.
Looking down the notch. It is pretty steep and lo...
Posing for another campsite pic
Posing for another campsite pic
Campsite at the Cirque
Campsite at the Cirque
The aftermath of some huge rockfall from the steep talus of the Big Willow Cirque.  Beware before attempting to scramble up this.  The rocks were bigger than our tent!
The aftermath of some huge rockfall from the steep...
A rap can be had into the notch.
A rap can be had into the notch.
The ridge scramble to the Lone Peak Cirque as seen from the top of Giggles.  Head east and then south to the ridge to avoid the step dangerous sections before the "notch"
The ridge scramble to the Lone Peak Cirque as seen...

Comments on Big Willow Cirque Add Comment
Show which comments
By Ben Folsom
Sep 9, 2008
Nice photos and info for this area, thanks for posting it up!
By Xover
Feb 23, 2009
Thanx a ton Tyler King; you kill it!!! I have long wondered about the actual climbing in this long, lost forgotten but beeeautiful cirque in the Wasatch. I have been in the cirque multiple times to ski the aprons and surrounding slopes, but have seriously wondered about the quality of rock up there and accuracy of routes after hearing a few sandbag stories of Giggles. I'm going to make it a point to get there this coming summer. Thanks again; you rawk!!!
By steven sadler
From: SLC, UT
Mar 24, 2011
Does anyone know anything about the canyon being closed? I went up there last summer to do some climbing on a wall just 45 min up from the mouth and we had to hop a gate that said the canyon was closed for water shed reasons if i remember correctly.
Also how long of a hike is it to the cirque? and is there a guide book or anything or is there really only two established routes up there?
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Mar 25, 2011
I was there a couple of weeks ago and couldn't remember if the sign used to be there of if it's new. The gate has always been there. The closure is the same as for LCC/BCC, ie no canines (see here) unless something changed recently. The language on the sign is ambiguous at best.

The cirque is a ways away. I haven't gone up there in the summer but approaching from BW looks painful, the brush is dense past Twilight. The winter approach might work better, it stays on the ridge between Big and Little Willow (sawmill trail? head right directly at the gate). I think it's about 4 hours on skis but I wasn't exactly running. There's rock on the way (Jon's Hideout) and the area is described here on the proj and in the Ruckman's guidebook. Lots of exploring/new routing to do if you don't fear the choss.