L to R R to L Alpha
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.
Browse More Classics in Penitentiary Wall
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Penitentiary Wall:
Unknown Right Arete 5.8 Trad, 1 pitch, 90 feet
Climb and Punishment 5.9- Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50 feet
Jailbait 5.9+ Trad, 1 pitch, 90 feet
Minimum Security 5.10a R Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 90 feet
Life Sentence 5.10a R Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70 feet
Featured Route For Penitentiary Wall