Rock Climbing Courses & Classes - Salt Lake City area, Utah

2017 Scheduled Courses

Mt. Olympus, West Slabs Climb:

Join UMA guides and scale the rocky face you've admired for years that presides over the Salt Lake Valley.

Mt. Superior Classic Alpine Climb:

The prominent South Ridge of this iconic Wasatch peak rises 3,000 feet from near Snowbird Ski Resort, in Little Cottonwood Canyon, to the 11,050' summit. Outstanding views, fun climbing moves, and an airy feeling make this a classic route in any season. Only a short approach is needed before class 3 & 4 scrambling and/or steep snow climbing begins.

Grand Teton Prep Course:

Instruction in alpine rock climbing, mitigation of mountaineering hazards, and overhanging rappel skills required for climbing the Grand Teton.

Utah Rock Climbing Guides Custom Guiding & Instruction - Utah Rock Climbing

Custom Guiding and Instruction

Custom, or private guiding means you have a guide dedicated to you, and / or your group, rather than being in a class or clinic that is open to other guests. UMA can tailor Custom Guiding to your specific goals, needs and time frame.

UMA's outstanding guides and instructors are available daily from March through November to lead climbs and help guests progress in any and all aspects of rock climbing.

Personalized coaching accelerates learning and helps elevate you to the limit of your ability. Progress with a UMA guide, and he or she can then lead you on desert towers and cracks, Mt. Rainier, the Tetons, Denali, the Alps, Himalaya, etc.

All scheduled climbs and courses can also be taught on a custom, private basis, any day that works for you and / or your group.

Julie Faure leading 'Arm and Hammer'

Julie Faure leading "Arm and Hammer"

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Full Day:

$349 for one person plus $133 for each additional person plus tax

Half Day:

$209 for one person plus $80 for each additional person plus tax

Custom Climbing / Instruction Options:

The options listed here are some, BUT NOT ALL possible programs. Contact UMA to customize your outing.


Wasatch Classic Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing

The Salt Lake City area is home to renowned climbs on granite, quartzite and limestone formations. Our guides can guide you on some of the best classic climbs the Wasatch offers. Climbers should already know the fundamentals of multi-pitch climbing, belaying and rappelling.

While we safely get you up pitch after pitch on a classic route, we can also cover topics such as route finding, belay station management, strategies for belaying the second, preventing factor 2 falls, on-route communication, stacking ropes at hanging belays and descending after the climb. While not all multi-pitch climbs require speed, a focus will be put on efficiency: becoming more efficient at climbing, single leader or swapping leads, quick belay transitions, placing and removing protection efficiently, etc... This course is best taught at either a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio.

Some of our favorite Wasatch Classic Multi-Pitch routes include:

  • East Dihedrals/Jig's Up/ Steort's Ridge: 5.6, 4 pitches
  • Schoolroom: 5.6 to 5.8, 4 pitches
  • Beckey's Wall: 5.7, 3 pitches
  • Crescent Crack: 5.7, 3 pitches
  • Outside Corner: 5.7, 4 pitches
  • Tingey's Terror/Torture: 5.8, 8 pitches
  • The Thumb: 5.7 to 5.10, 9 pitches
  • Sundial, Eleventh Hour: 5.8, 5 pitches
  • Pentapitch: 5.8, 4 pitches
  • Center Thumb: 5.9, 5 pitches
  • High Dive/Lord of Long Arms: 5.9+, 3 pitches
  • The Green Adjective: 5.9, 3 pitches
  • The Thumb to S-Direct: 5.9+R, 10 pitches, 1100 feet
  • The Black Streak: 5.10b, 6 pitches, 700 feet
  • Stiffler's Mom: 5.11a, 7 pitches
  • Arm and Hammer: 5.11c, or 5.10 A1, 6 pitches, 600 feet

Overnight Routes on Lone Peak Cirque:

  • The Open Book: 5.7, 4-6 pitches
  • Lowe Route: 5.8, 4 pitches
  • Triple Overhangs: 5.10a, 4 pitches
  • Vertical Smile: 5.10, 4 pitches


Introduction to Rock Climbing

If you want to climb with your friends or family, and/or learn the sport of rock climbing this is a perfect introduction, with an emphasis on safety, skills and fun. It's open to those who have never climbed, but also appropriate for people who have climbed occasionally, taken time off, moving outside from the gym, or wanting to safely top-rope with friends and family, and anyone seeking a solid rock climbing foundation or refresher.

The day generally begin with a review of harness, knots and communication. Guide starts on moderate rock routes and progresses from there. You will climb a variety of pitches to practice and improve movement techniques, including edging and smearing, stemming, jamming hands and feet, crimping, lie-backing, etc.

Rope management and technical skills will include learning to coil a rope, clip and unclip bolts, remove nuts and camming devices, and equalize and clean top-rope anchors.

Gym to Rock

Climbing indoors has become very popular, but outdoor rock is much different. A "Gym to Rock" instruction session with a UMA guide will focus on those differences, and prepare you for safe climbing in Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon, or anywhere. You may already understand belaying, lowering, knots, rope systems and climbing movement. Your guide will prepare you for outdoor climbing where a broad range of more challenging techniques are encountered: the subtleties of edging and smearing for face climbing and slabs, jamming hands and feet, crimping, liebacking, roofs, etc.

Personalized coaching will allow you to progress to the limit of your ability. This class also includes an introduction to constructing anchors, setting your own top-rope, clipping and unclipping the rope, belaying with an assisted-braking belay device (e.g. gri gri,) basic placement and removal of nuts and camming devices, and can be done on a single or multi-pitch setting, all depending on your needs and goals.

Anchor Building Clinic

This clinic is designed to specifically focus on building secure belay or rappel anchors and placing solid protection. We will cover all aspects of building safe and solid anchors and you will practice building your own anchors while getting direct feedback from the instructor. This is a hands-on course. Participants will build a variety of anchors using appropriate techniques and various materials.

We will answer all your questions relative to:

  • Why we use anchors
  • Different types of anchors
  • Material used to build anchors
  • Climbing knots used in anchors
  • Concept of "ERNESTA"
  • Tying yourself to an anchor
  • Evaluating natural features such as trees or boulders for use as an anchor
  • Building anchors from natural features
  • Evaluating existing bolts and pitons for anchors
  • Building anchors from bolts and pitons
  • Placing pro: nuts and cams
  • Building anchors with nuts and cams
  • Top Rope anchors
  • Lead climbing Anchors
  • Rappel anchors
  • Belaying directly from an anchor using self-locking belay devices
  • Lowering and rappelling from an anchor
  • Rope management

Sport Climbing Clinic

Sport Climbing is perhaps the safest and most convenient way to rock climb, and many new bolted routes are added to our crags each year. The Wasatch Range offers hundreds of challenging and safe sport climbs on a variety of rock types that will allow you to push your physical and technical abilities.

Our sport climbing clinic focuses on the specific skills required to climb single-pitch, bolted routes. Skills and techniques taught during the sport climbing clinic will include: appropriate gear for sport climbing, belaying sport routes, recognizing and utilizing various handholds and footholds, face climbing vs steeps and overhangs, optimal body position, clipping and back-clipping the rope, use of stick-clip, sport climbing anchors, bailing, communication with belayer, cleaning a sport anchor, lowering off, cleaning an overhanging sport route, etc...

This clinic is designed to help you reach the next level in your climbing so an emphasis will be put on efficient techniques. If you have been stuck at a certain grade and want to redpoint or onsight at a higher level, we will show you how to successfully work and project harder routes. You will learn how to rest more efficiently, develop mental techniques to help you stay calm, learn how to take safe falls, using knee-bars, heel-hooks, toe-hooks, reading and remembering sequences etc...

Learn-To-Lead Sport and Trad Clinic

This clinic is designed for climbers who already have extensive experience with belaying and top rope climbing. You are now looking to become a competent lead climber. Learning to lead climb will open the door to climbing routes where anchors aren't otherwise accessible for top rope, and allow you to eventually step into multi pitch climbing. We will use "mock leading" on a top rope and learn the intricacies of clipping bolts and placing gear while on lead.

Topics will include:

  • Efficient and attentive lead belaying with an ATC and a GriGri
  • Avoiding short roping
  • Practicing falling and catching a fall (soft catch)
  • Efficient climbing tips for leading on steeper/more challenging routes
  • Placing protection and clipping bolts
  • Avoiding rope drag, Z-clipping and back clipping
  • Protecting traverses
  • Finding stances for placing protection
  • Anchor-building at top of pitch
  • Belaying from anchor at top of pitch
  • Lowering and rappelling from anchor
  • Bailing off and cleaning a route

Crack Climbing Clinic

If you want to take your climbing beyond sport or gym climbing, you will eventually need to be comfortable climbing cracks. Most natural-pro routes follow crack systems as these provide climbers the opportunity to place protection versus relying on pre-placed bolts. The crack itself also provides a weakness that will allow you to ascend. Arguably, crack climbing is the purest form of rock climbing. It has a rich history in the United States, from Yosemite to Indian Creek.

The Wasatch Range is filled with natural granite and quartzite cracks and it is a perfect place to develop your crack climbing technique. This clinic will allow you to securely and efficiently climb a variety of crack types and grow your arsenal of techniques.

Skills and techniques taught during this Clinic will include:

  • Finger, fist, and hand jams
  • Off-widths and wide cracks
  • Taping hands for crack climbing
  • Specific footwork for cracks
  • Using lie-back technique vs jamming
  • Stemming
  • Placing and removing gear in cracks
  • Gear selection and racking
  • Climbing strategies for cracks
  • Crack climbing anchors

Self-Rescue / AMGA Course Prep

Ever wondered what you would do if your partner gets injured on a multi-pitch route? What if your ropes get stuck while on rappel? What if your second can't pull past a crux, or is hanging in mid air below a roof? Dropped your belay device from top of pitch 7 and now you have to rappel...

There are so many situations when things can go terribly wrong, however rock-rescue remains one of the most overlooked aspects of climbing. This Self-Rescue Clinic will teach the skills to help you and your partner deal with the unexpected during a climb. It will give you the baseline rescue skills and techniques that every climber should master in case things don't go as planned.

Techniques and skills taught in this course include: escaping the belay, raising a climber, lowering a climber from an auto-locking device, ascending a fixed rope, 2:1, 3:1, 5:1, and 6:1 hauling systems, tandem rappels, pre-rigged rappels, friction hitches for multiple applications, improvised belaying, improvised chest harnesses, and a variety of other useful knots and hitches.

This clinic usually takes a full day. Participants should already be familiar with belaying, rappelling, and building anchors, and should know the following knots and hitches: figure eight, munter hitch, clove hitch and prussic hitch. If you are not familiar with these skills we can still run the program as a private and get you up to speed.


Group, Team-Building and Corporate Programs

UMA organizes and leads tailor-made itineraries for corporate, family, school, church, youth, birthday parties, and other groups. One or multi-day mountain adventures can involve team-building, hiking, climbing, rappelling, orienteering, tyrolean traverses, etc.

Give us a call to discuss your group, timeframe, budget, etc. and we can work together to construct the ideal customized program for your group.

Gear & Equipment - Rock Climbing

Gear, Equipment Rentals, Books & Maps

Rock Climbing Equipment List:

  • Comfortable and flexible pants or shorts, and shirt
  • Waterproof/windproof outer shell jacket
  • Light puffy overcoat and or other insulation layer (fleece, synthetic or down)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • 1 to 2 liters of water (water bag recommended for multi-pitch)
  • Lunch and quick energy snacks
  • Approach shoes (no sandals)
  • Day pack (~25-45 Liters) *
  • Harness *
  • Belay device *
  • Helmet *
  • Rock climbing shoes **

*   UMA will provide you these items at no cost if you need them.
** These items are available for rent or purchase at local shops.

Canyoneering Skills Course Equipment List:

  • Comfortable and flexible pants and top
  • Light puffy overcoat and or other insulation layer (fleece, synthetic or down)
  • Waterproof/windproof outer shell jacket
  • Climbing / rappelling gloves (leather type)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • 2 liters of water
  • Lunch and quick energy snacks
  • Day pack (25-45 Liters)*
  • Belay device*
  • Harness*
  • Helmet*
  • Approach shoes or hiking boots
  • Waist and foot Prusik loops or 30 feet of 5mm static cord to make Prusiks loops**

*   UMA will provide you these items at no cost if you need them.
** Cord is available for purchase at local shops.


Steort's Ridge

Photo by Tyson Bradley

Climbing and Rental Shops:

REI (rentals available)

3285 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City

(801) 486-2100

REI Sandy (no rentals available)

230 West 10600 South, Sandy

(801) 501-0850

Outdoor Adventures, University of Utah (rentals only)

1836 Student Life Way, Salt Lake City

(801) 581-8516

Black Diamond Retail Store (no rentals available)

2070 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City

(801) 278-0233

Wasatch Touring (no rentals available)

702 E 100 S, Salt Lake City

(801) 359-9361


Rock Climbing, Utah's Wasatch Range. By Stuart and Bret Ruckman.

Canyoneering. By David Black.

Logistics & Trailhead Directions - Rock Climbing

Lodging, Trailheads, and Directions


Hyatt Place Salt Lake City / Cottonwood

3090 6200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84121

(801) 890-1280

Residence Inn

6425 3000 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84121

(801) 453-0430

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham

6990 Park Centre Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84121

(801) 567-0111

Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites Midvalley

818 E Winchester St, Murray, UT 84107

(801) 685-9300

Trailheads & Meeting Points - Driving Directions:



"Triple Overhangs"

Photo by Wes Holmes

  • From Salt Lake City, and the Wasatch Front:

    Follow Interstate 215 (Belt Route) either south from I-80 or east from I-15 to the 6200 South Exit. Drive southeast, uphill, toward Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird ski resorts. Continue through a traffic light at the intersection with Wasatch Boulevard. Turn left (east) at the next light onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (SR 190, also called 7200 South.) Take another left after 200 yards into the UTA Park & Ride lot.

  • From Park City and other points east:

    Go west over Parley's summit and down Parley's Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. Go south on I-215, and exit at the 6200 South. Drive southeast, uphill, toward Brighton, Solitude, Alta,and Snowbird ski resorts. Continue through a traffic light at the intersection with Wasatch Boulevard. Turn left (east) at the next light onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (SR 190, also called 7200 South). Take another left after 200 yards into the UTA Park & Ride lot.


  • From Park City and other points east:

    Drive west on I-80 over Parley's summit and down Parley's Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. Go south on I-215, and exit at 3900 South. Turn left (east) under the freeway and make a right on Wasatch Blvd then an immediate left into the Bagel Shop, which is next to a mall and Dan's Grocery Store.

  • From Salt Lake City, and the Wasatch Front:

    Follow Interstate 215 (Belt Route) south or north to the 3900 South Exit. Get on Wasatch Blvd, which parallels the freeway on the east, and locate the Bagel Shop, just south of the intersection of 3900 South and Wasatch Blvd. It is at the north end of a mall and Dan's Grocery Store.

Rock Climbing Courses & Classes - Salt Lake City area, Utah

Frequently Asked Questions - Rock Climbing

Can I lead?

We teach learn-to-lead classes, but a back-up top-rope is always included for safety. Typically the guide belays on a gri-gri while jugging up a fixed rope beside the new leader. This enables the instructor to give immediate feedback on the effectiveness of cam and stopper placements.

How old do I need to be to climb?

For custom guiding and instruction, there is no restriction. Students must be at least 14 years of age to join a group class. Even five and six-year olds seem to enjoy rock-climbs with short approaches and lots of holds. Longer approaches and multi-pitch climbing is typically not appropriate for kids under 10.

Should I wear pants or shorts?

Many warm days are better for shorts, but always carry a pair of water-resistant pants in case it gets cool, windy or rainy. Shorts should always be long enough to go under the entire harness. Granite climbs can be abrasive on bare skin.


Eric Shmookler on "Tingey's Terror"

Photography by Tyson Bradley

How tight should my rock shoes fit?

If you are doing multi-pitch climb and / or just learning, get a half-size bigger shoe than the sales or rental clerk recommends. Nothing spoils the fun quicker than foot pain. If you are trying to progress upward from a level at 5.10 or above, the old saying is true: No pain, no gain. Fit 'em snug!

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 Big Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride Lot.

Utah Mountain Adventures

P.O. Box 521809

Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-1809

Phone: (801) 550 3986

Fax: (801) 486 8505


Utah Mountain Adventures | Patagonia Utah Mountain Adventures | Forest Service Backcountry Skiing Utah, by Tyson Bradley
Rock Climbing - Guiding & Instruction - Utah Mountain Adventures

Join Utah Mountain Adventures for guiding or instruction in Utah's Wasatch range, a world class climbing area with outstanding vertical landscapes of granite, quartzite, limestone and alpine peaks. Learn techniques and routes in Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood, Mt. Olympus , Bell's Canyon, etc. Our guides know the routes intimately and can help you excel while making your climb as memorable as the scenery.

Or build skills in a course, such as the Rock Climbing Clinic or Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing Course, Teton Prep, Canyoneering Course, or Learn to Lead. Safety and client satisfaction are paramount at Utah Mountain Adventures. We limit the size of our groups to ensure individual attention from our highly experienced guides.

UMA also specializes in corporate team-building and just-for-fun, group climbing activities. Participants learn trust by belaying and lowering one another under guides' supervision. Climbers overcome fear and push each other while scaling vertical walls and rappelling down. Venues in the Cottonwood Canyons are easily reached, can accommodate large groups, and offer climbing challenges from friendly to 5.13.

View our complete schedule of Salt Lake Rock Climbing Courses.