Trip Report: Rest Day in Maple Canyon, UT

Martin Kuprianowicz | ClimbingClimbing | Trip ReportTrip Report
“Maple Canyon has a very strong addictive property.” – Darren Knezek, author of the Maple Canyon guidebook. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

Report from Dec. 6, 2020

This report is brought to you by 10 Barrel Brewing Co.

A rest day is a day when you don’t ski. 

And because I’ve skied the past 23 days in a row, I figured I could give the ol titanium legs a break from the hardpacked slopes.

This is how we wound up at Maple Canyon today—a world-class climbing area seemingly hidden in the heart of Utah-nothingness, only a mere hour-and-fifty-minutes from Salt Lake City.

At 9:30 we hit the road and by 10:30 I remembered that I forgot to pack the rope.

Rolling in to Maple Canyon, Utah. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

Were we screwed and would we have to drive all the way back to the house to go get my rope? I surely thought so.

But luckily the homie Aidan lived only 20 minutes away from where we were on the highway and said he’d let me borrow his spare 70m after I called him panickedly. Thanks, Aidan.

We continued to charge south out of the valley with the dirty air towards Maple, listening to the “Gospel of Thomas” on audiobook—an original gospel of the Bible written by the apostle Thomas that was edited out of the book in 325 A.D. I’m not a religious person myself, but this is a great read for those interested in philosophy—the book is entirely different from the rest of the New Testament in the way that it depicts Jesus Christ and his teachings. It feels much more Eastern than the works written by other apostles.

We took the trail up the Left Fork to get to the Orangutan Wall. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

By noon we were in Maple Canyon. It was 34ºF, bluebird, and completely void of anybody.

The place wore the face of a ghost town today—one I’ve never seen it wear before. Maple is usually packed with climbers from all over the world!

We parked at the Left Fork and meandered our way up the trail opposite the pullout for a good six minutes before arriving at the Orangutan Wall, one of the tallest walls in Maple containing easy to moderate climbs.

It was freezing in the bottom of this little gully where the crag was and we just wanted to climb something in the sun.

Gage Whipple sending “Monkey Duodenum,”—beautiful a three-star 5.9-rated climb in Maple Canyon. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

“Monkey Duodenum:” a three-star, 5.9-rated climb which was the perfect choice for chasing sunlight today.

Darren Knezek and Christian Knight, authors of the Maple Canyon climbing guidebook, wrote that Monkey Duodenum is…

“…Longer and more sustained than most can stomach. A 60-meter rope barely reaches!”

Luckily we had a 70m rope—at least for the first 3 out of 4 climbs (I will explain later).

The route was long, exposed, super pumpy, and flowy with great holds all around. It had an epic view of the canyon at the top.

I led it first and then my climbing partner and I top-roped it.

Gage Whipple at the top of Monkey Duodenum. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

The whole time we were there, we only ran into only one other climbing party who were climbing the 5.7 a couple of routes over.

It was angelically quiet at the crag today. No sounds, no wind—just calm.

After I cleaned the route and was back on the ground swapping my shoes, I heard my climbing partner Gage go “Oh no…”

I looked at him who was looking up towards the rope he was pulling down through the anchor chains when I saw it.

The Traveling Kendama makes it to the top of the Orangutan Wall! | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

He forgot to untie the stopper knot that prevents the rope from accidentally slipping through the rappel device as you descend.

We started laughing. 

I had heard of this happening to other climbers, but never have I myself bore witness. The rope was stuck at the chains because the stopper knot stopped it from going through.

Guess the knot does work, after all.

Miraculously, the party nearby had a spare 60m rope they lent us to go retrieve our other rope.

Maple Canyon—ze best! | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

So off I went again for lead #2, already feeling slightly pumped and tired after having climbed the route twice already (I am currently in no climbing shape whatsoever). 

But already being familiar with the route made this climb in particular the best one of the day.

I felt strong, knew where the moves were and was able to flow up it in style.

I got the rope and rappelled down just in time for it to get actually cold.

A typical stopper knot I tie when rappelling. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

We thanked our fellow climbers for letting us borrow their spare rope and saving the day.

Afterward, we enjoyed some sandwiches at the car, took a short hike, smoked some marijuana in the trees, and then headed back to SLC.

It was about as damn good a rest day that I could’ve asked for.

And tomorrow we ski!

Maple is pretty, Maple is calm—Maple is kind. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains


We took the trail up the Left Fork to get to the Orangutan Wall. | Photo courtesy SnowBrains

Related Articles

2 thoughts on “Trip Report: Rest Day in Maple Canyon, UT

Got an opinion? Let us know...