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Utah Ice Climbing
 

Private Guiding & Instruction - Ice Climbing - SLC and Provo, UT areas

Private Guiding & Instruction - Ice Climbing

Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing
Photo by Andrew Burr

Guides are available daily. At least a few days notice is appreciated, if possible. All coursework can be offered on a private basis. The maximum guide to client ratio for top-roping is 1:6, and for multi-pitch, 1:2 is standard.

Popular routes include:

  • The Great White Icicle, WI 3-4, 650’
    (Little Cottonwood Canyon)

  • Stairway to Heaven, WI 5+, 800’+
    (Provo Canyon)

  • Bridal Veil Falls, WI 4-5, 360’
    (Provo Canyon)

  • Miller’s Thriller, WI 3-4, 400’
    (Provo Canyon)

RATES:

Single pitch and multi-pitch WI4 or easier:

  • Full Day:
    $299 for one person plus $100 for additional person, plus tax. (max 2 clients per guide)

  • Half Day:
    $179 for one person plus $60 for additional person, plus tax. (max 2 clients per guide)

WI5+ and / or harder:

  • $350 for one person plus $100 for additional person, plus tax. (max 2 clients per guide)

Gear & Equipment - Ice Climbing Utah

Ice Climbing Gear, Equipment Rentals, Books & Maps

Climber in Provo Canyon
Climber in Provo Canyon
Photo by Kennan Harvey

Equipment List:

  • Non-cotton top and bottom under layers (capilene or polypro)
  • Waterproof/windproof top and bottom outer shell (or one-piece suit)
  • Down, polarguard or fleece belay jacket (one that fits over your outerwear)
  • Wool (and liner) socks
  • Waterproof snow gloves and mittens or spare gloves
  • Fleece or liner gloves
  • Hat, headband or balaclava for under helmet
  • Sunglasses, goggles and/or clear, protective eyeglasses (optional)
  • Sunscreen
  • 1 or 2 liters of water
  • Lunch and quick energy snacks
  • Plastic or leather boots with rigid sole
  • Vertical ice crampons
  • 2 vertical ice tools with leashes (short axes for ice climbing)
  • Harness and belay/rappel device *
  • Helmet *
  • Daybackpack

Download Gear List ( PDF)

* UMA will provide you with a helmet, harness and belay device if you need them. Boots, crampons and ice tools are available for rent at local shops.


Rental Shops:


     Black Diamond Retail
     2070 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City
     (801) 278-0233

     REI (Boots only)
     3285 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City
     (801) 486-2100

     University of Utah Outdoor Rec Center
     
2140 E. Red Butte Road, Fort Douglas, Building 650
     (801) 581-8516


Guidebook:


     Ice Climbing, Utah. By David S. Black.
     Wasatch Mixed: A guide to Northern Utah’s mixed and select ice routes. By Dough Heinrich & Nathan Smith.

Logistics & Lodging - Utah Ice Climbing

Lodging, Trailheads, and Directions

Climber in Provo Canyon
Ice Climbing on Storm Mountain
Photo by Andrew Burr


Accommodations


     Skyline Inn
     Foothill Drive, SLC: 2475 E. 1700 South
     (801) 582-5350

     La Quinta Inn
     Midvale: 7231 S. Catalpa Rd
     (801) 566-3291

     La Quinta Inn
     Orem: 1100 West 780 North
     (801) 235-9555

     Residence Inn
     
Cottonwood Heights: 6425 South 3000 E.
     (801) 453-0430

     Sundance Resort
     
8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Sundance
     (801) 225-4107

     Residence Inn
     
252 W 2230 N, Provo
     (801) 374-1000


Trailheads & Meeting Points - Driving Directions


To Provo Canyon
, Nunns Park, for Stairway to Heaven, Bridal Veil Falls, and other climbs:

  • From Salt Lake City:
    Provo and points west: Drive north or south on Interstate 15 to Exit 275, 800 North St. Follow this thoroughfare (also called Utah SR 52) east through Orem, and turn northeast (Left) on US 189 into Provo Canyon.  Look for the signed Nunns park exit as the limestone walls start growing on your right and park in the large lot on the South side of US Highway 189.

  • From Park City and other points east:
    Drive West on US 189 through Provo Canyon until the walls start shrinking. Look for the signed Nunns Park exit, and turn south back under the highway to the large parking lot.

To the Great White Icicle: Most parties meet at the UTA Park & RIde Lot at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Exit on 6200 South off of Interstate 215, and drive Southeast up a hill to join Wasatch Blvd. Continue South past the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and up another hill and wrap east into Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Just as the canyon walls start to rise, turn left at a junction marked by a flashing information sign, and park in a large lot with a bus stop. The actual GWI trailhead is 2 miles up the canyon on the south side of the road next to a garage-looking power plant building.

Utah Ice Climbing Guides Private Guiding & Instruction - Utah Ice Climbing

Frequently Asked Questions - Ice Climbing

Climber on Bridal Veil Falls
Climber on Bridal Veil Falls
Photo by Andrew Burr

What kind of crampons do I need?

Rigid, 12-point, spikes work better for the front-pointing involved in water-ice climbing than hinged, flexible, and often lighter-weight 10-point designs. The extra set of points usually faces forward and down from the front of the frame providing much greater stability and shearing resistance.  Just as on rock, footwork is vital to effective ice climbing.

What are ice tools?

Water-ice tools are far different than the traditional, straight-shafted alpine axe.  They have reverse-droop picks and shafts bent to hold the hand, protect the knuckles, and enable hooking placements above roofs. Most modern tools have no wrist leashes, but we teach with or without.

Is it cold?

Yes, usually it is. Being prepared for ice climbing with warm mitts and parka to wear when belaying or resting helps immensely.  When its your turn to climb, take off the puffy jacket and overmitts, and avoid sweating.

Do I need rock climbing experience?

No experience of any kind is necessary. In all classes and guided outings we review the very basics of tying-in and belaying. Any background in rock or alpine climbing may accelerate the learning curve.

Can different ability levels climb with one guide?

This is very feasible, especially for top-roping in Provo Canyon Steep bulges, thin ice, and mixed lines often present themselves right next to confidence-building, WI 3 routes. 

What is a typical day ice climbing?

We usually meet between 7 and 9 am, either at Nunns Park, The Park and Ride Lot at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, or another pre-arranged spot. The approach to most ice formations is on a climber’s trail that gains 300-500 feet and takes about 20-30 minutes. The guide takes a belay and demonstrates techniques as he / or she leads a pitch and sets up on or more top-rope anchor(s.) A combination of climbing, instruction, and snack and rest breaks keep us occupied until we run out of daylight or energy, usually between 3-5 pm.

On Multi-pitch routes, such as the Great White Icicle or Stairway to Heaven, the guide will belay from above, and the party will continue up until the formation is completed, if possible.  Descent is by rappel and/or down climb, and glissade.

Where do I meet my guide?

The guide will arrange a specific meeting location and time with you specifically. Most commonly, this location is the Nunns Park lot in Provo Canyon.

Contact UMA if you have any questions:

Call (801) 550-3986 or email us at uma@UtahMountainAdventures.com

 
Testimonials

Thank you for the great ice-climbing, and wonderful guiding by Andy Polloczek last week. My friend (Rico) and I had a lot of fun climbing, and we are really grateful of Mr. Polloczek's expertise. Even though Rico has ice-climbed in the past, he conveyed to me that he learned much more from Andy's instructions. It was my first time climbing on ice, and I think I am definitely addicted to this sport now. My other friends have expressed interest in ice-climbing as well (even a co-worker), and I will refer them to you and your company.

- James Cho


I would climb again with UMA in a heartbeat !

- Carol Masheter


Mike was absolutely top-notch -- experienced, knowledgeable and personal. Great instruction and company for the day. A big thanks to Mike and UMA.

- David M. Llewellyn


I felt safe and well-instructed and enjoyed a full day of climbing... some of the best in my life!

- Carol Masheter


   
   

Ice Climbing - Guiding, Instruction & Courses - Utah Mt. Adventures

Wasatch water ice can be among the best in the nation. Scaling frozen waterfalls with crampons and ice tools is a unique and challenging sport sharing many aspects of rock and alpine climbing. The techniques taught on our climbs and courses open new possibilities for winter recreation and build skills for ascents of major peaks.

Season: Utah ice is usually in good shape from December through February, but please check with us for current conditions.

Types and Range of Difficulty: UMA guides offer instruction for all skill levels. Formations of up to 10 pitches in Provo and the Cottonwood Canyons range from Water Ice 2 to WI VI+, and cutting-edge dry-tooling and mixed climbing is also available.

For more information on ice climbing classes near Salt Lake City, UT and Provo, Utah, please view our Ice Climbing Courses.

We also offer private Guided Ice Climbing & Instruction.