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Main Hellgate

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Main Hellgate 


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Elevation: 8,500'
Page Views: 4,343
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: James Garrett on Sep 12, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: Hellgate Cliffs
  • Use the established trails
  • Park your car off of the main canyon road.

  • Description 

    Steeped in Wasatch climbing tradition, though long ignored, Main Hellgate and the climbers on it are in full view directly across from the Snowbird ski area. Most people would probably concur that the legendary alpinist Mugs Stump cut his teeth on the Main Hellgate Cliffs. During the early years of being a Snowbird ski bum, he climbed Virgo in 1976...two years before he went on to climb the first ascent of the Emperor Face of Mount Robson....his first really breakthrough climb. Hellgate choss had prepared him well for Canadian Rockies choss. Hellgate was the place for his early first ascent adventures. It is my understanding that most of the existing routes on Main Hellgate have been established from ground up and, therefore, provide that same alpine style adventure even today.

    Though many routes are South Facing, this can be a cold and windy place. The rock is fractured limestone, and can at times have a chauky texture.

    Natural rock fall as well as goat (the beautiful mountain goats that are abundant in LCC love this place) induced rockfall can be frequent. A Snowbird local who loved climbing at Hellgate was the fatal victim of rockfall while belaying below Tower 3, but no reports of any fatal accidents on the Main Cliff immediately come to mind. Maybe this is testiment to the lack of traffic on these climbs compared to the East Hellgate areas. These climbs are mostly multi-pitch, require supplemental gear placements, require route finding skills, have less fixed protection, receive more rockfall, usually require two ropes for descent, and generally are of a more serious nature. Needless to say, a helmet will provide some protection, but be leary of the big ones.

    Belay in protected areas, check your holds before just lunging on up on anything that "looks good", and respect other climbers below.


    Getting There 

    Drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The biggest south facing grey limestone cliff is the one. Park off the road, if possible, and start hiking up an old unimproved road that may at times be gated. Find a trail that vears to the north up an old wash, connects with a worn trail, and eventually reach the Towers...continue skirting the base of these cliffs to Main Hellgate. I like to park my stuff at a huge Doug Fir that has a bit of a platform for gearing up....it is also a sign that because it is still there, it may be a relatively rockfall free area. Carefully continue under the wall until at the base of the various routes.


    5 Total Routes


    ['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
    ['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',3],['5.11',2],['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 Main Hellgate:
    Hell Raiser   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches, 500'   
    Till Hell Freezes Over   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   
    Browse More Classics in Main Hellgate

    Featured Route For Main Hellgate
    A drilling session in early 1993 on Till Hell Freezes Over (Dave Anderson photo)...we had reclimbed up to the 2nd belay, got in a few bolts of upward progress and again retreated in the freezing wind.

    Till Hell Freezes Over 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c  UT : Wasatch Range : ... : Main Hellgate
    Really fun climbing on the Main Hellgate. This is an adventure route that starts with a nice hand and face pitch. Next is is an .11a pocket crux pitch on bolts and then two more pitches of .10 and .9 bolted climbing. Its best to avoid the main hellgate in the Spring due to incessant and frequent rockfall. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

    Comments on Main Hellgate Add Comment
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    By zoso
    Feb 25, 2011

    Any info about "The Drip"? I ran into someone of the FA party years ago (didn't catch his name) and he reported it was "done and is all bolts. Rated .11b/c with P1 and P2 worthwhile, P3 .10d w/ .9R section, P4 .9 R.".