All routes are trad and are on the finest quartzite rock. There are many moderate routes that are fantastic for the beginner to intermediate climber (5.7-5.9+), all offer protection that is superb and plentiful. On the more demanding routes (5.10R and above) the protection is small and a little tricky to place, but secure once fitted correctly. Most routes follow obvious cracks and all have some sort of rappel at the top (bring some ditch webbing in case the old rap anchors are crusty). The area is best in the summer, but can be climbed in fall (snow permitting). Not much for camping offered nearby, but for the truly determined camping is allowed anywhere within a quarter mile from Big Cottonwood river, no fires.
This crag lies on the south side of Big Cottonwood Canyon, above the Ledgemere Picnic area. Drive 1.4 miles past the neon sign at the mouth of the canyon, park at the camp or along the road to avoide paying a $2 fee that is enforced during the summer. To get to the crag, walk across the bridge into Ledgemere camp and head east (left) until an obvious high traffic talus slope presents itself wandering up the south side of the canyon. Follow the loose talus for two hundred yards or so, then break left (east) into a gully, (blue spray paint marks the mouth of the gully thanks to some obvious losers) . The routes are on the north facing wall, spread along it for a hundred yards or so.
16 Total Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Penitentiary Wall
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Penitentiary Wall:
Featured Route For Penitentiary Wall
News and Events For Penitentiary Wall
Latest Regional Forum Messages
BETA PHOTO: Penitentiary Wall w/o lines
|Comments on Penitentiary Wall
|By Nathan Fisher|
Jun 27, 2004
Actually, camping is permitted as long as it is "more" than "1/2" mile from the road.
|By Charlie S|
From: Ogden, UT
Aug 27, 2012
Note that there are two bridges! If you park across from the picnic area and cross the bridge there (up canyon), this is the WRONG BRIDGE. It's apparent that many a climber has taken the talus field behind it and ended up wandering around for nothing.
Use the down canyon bridge, next to the pit toilets (where the regular parking is on the south side of the road). After crossing the down canyon bridge, go left, and follow that obvious talus field.
If you take the up canyon bridge, go right after crossing, not straight across to the slope.
May 17, 2013
Latitude: 40 37 19.7 N
Longitude: 111 45 48.7 W