The east-facing Lonely Challenge Wall sits near the top of the Standard Ridge area, hard to spot and protected by a heinous scree field. The crowds are non-existent there, most climbers getting distracted on the approach by the slew of classic routes on Challenge Buttress or Strone Crag. Those who ignore the sirens and reach the tall expanse of dark quartzite will encounter a handful of stunning routes with old-school bolting and widely spaced gear: a two-pitch warm up, a classic thin-face line, and a desperately smooth test piece.
Make your way toward the west face of Challenge Buttress. Avoid the urge to get on Hollow Man and start the painful hike straight up the talus between Challenge and Strone Crag aiming for a narrow corridor infested with ferns on the east side of the Standard Ridge. Just above the gap between Strone Crag and Standard Ridge you'll pass a lone 2-bolt route. Don't stop, you're almost there! Another 100' and you might spot a lone bolt 40' up a chossy/mossy face: that's Broken Dreams. Further up the gully is a huge chokestone that protects the access to the upper wall.
If you thought the holds on Lone Man Running were huge this line has your name written all over it! It features very similar climbing at first but before you know it you're desperately trying to stick to a mirror of rippled quartzite. Between the 3rd and 5th bolt (crux) there's barely anything that qualifies as a hold. The rock is compact, without texture, featuring gentle ripples. Don't despair, keep bumping your feet on microscopic divots and crimping barely visible edges. If you manage to keep i...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
Here is the deal on the approach: After casually walking from your car on nice worn dirt trail to the hollow man area, proceed to roll your ankle 20 times as you thrutch and fall your way up the talus jungle. Once you've done this for about 200 yards at a steep angle, enter the gully where thick bushes, wet moss, and more talus await you. Lieback the wet chockstone crack with your slick muddy shoes on smooth quarzite with death rocks below you, then mantle onto the top where, you guessed it, more loose talus awaits you. Then find a comfy belay spot among the amazon rainforest of thistles that are growing out horizontally from the 50 degree sloping loose dirt gully below the climb. Enjoy the climbing, then get excited to either rap the small insecure tree or downclimb the wet chimney! Note: you will kill someone if you don't have a helmet.
Moral of the story: a year from now, when thinking about this experience, the only thing you won't remember is the quality climbing.
I'm surprised to see this comment from Spencer. From your comments on here it seems like you've been getting after it with a general disregard for stars/ratings/etc and plain crushing wherever you go. The approach blows dongs for sure but the climbing certainly beats the pile. I'd probably go in from Standard Ridge if I went back up there.