Climbers Partner with LDS Church on Stewardship of Little Cottonwood Canyon Climbing

Photo: Nathan Smith
June 1st, 2017, Salt Lake City, Utah – The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and Access Fund announce the signing of an unprecedented lease for 140 acres in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC). The parcel, known as the Gate Buttress, is about one mile up LCC canyon and has been popular with generations of climbers because of its world-class granite.

The agreement secures legitimate access to approximately 588 routes and 138 boulder problems at the Gate Buttress for rock climbers, who will be active stewards of the property. The
recreational lease is the result of several years of negotiations between LDS Church leaders
and the local climbing community.

A lease signing ceremony will be held to commemorate this historic event, which coincides with National Trails Day. Media are invited to join us.

Photo: Andrew Burr

What: Lease signing ceremony for climbing access to the Gate Buttress parcel in Little
Cottonwood Canyon.

Who: Scott Trotter, Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church and Julia Geisler, Executive Director
of the Salt Lake Climbers Alliance. The Access Fund Conservation Team, Chip Powell and
Lindsay Anderson, will be facilitating an environmental stewardship Adopt a Crag event for
volunteers on site.

When: Saturday, June 3rd, 9 a.m.

Where: Parking lot of the Gate Buttress, one mile up Little Cottonwood Canyon. (Signage will be
present marking the site)

The leased area can be seen in the highlighted area here

The first recorded climbing route in LCC was established in 1961 by former Salt Lake City
Mayor, Ted Wilson and Bob Stout. Over the years, Wilson worked with Rick Reese, Allen
Sanderson, and other local climbers, in conjunction with the LDS Church to assure recreationalists, predominantly rock climbers, access to the Gate Buttress parcel. However, no
formal agreement had ever been established to allow climbing and land improvements. This
lease is an evolution of this relationship.

“The LDS Church has always been gracious to climbers regarding climbing access,” says
Wilson. “The Church, Salt Lake Climbers Alliance, and Access Fund now, by the agreement,
take this relationship to a whole new level. Because of the agreement, the canyon will have
needed environmental improvements to continue to enhance a wonderful recreational site open
to individuals and families.”

“Agreements like this lease benefit climbers and landowners alike,” says Access Fund
Executive Director Brady Robinson. “By teaming up, Access Fund and SLCA can ensure a
lasting partnership with the LDS Church.”

The SLCA and Access Fund are preparing a stewardship plan that will incorporate climbing
area improvements, erosion mitigation, and more. This stewardship work will replicate
successful efforts that SLCA is spearheading at the lower Little Cottonwood hiking and climbing
access trail network. In addition to hosting climbing, the property is also part of the Salt Lake
City watershed system that provides drinking water to more than 400,000 Salt Lake County

Photo: Nathan Smith

“The Gate Buttress is a world-class climbing resource that is near and dear to many climbers’
hearts both here in the Wasatch and across the nation,” says SLCA Executive Director Julia
Geisler. “The climbing community is deeply committed to the environmental stewardship of the
property. This lease not only secures access for climbing at the property, but also allows the
community to be better stewards of the places we love to play. The SLCA is actively planning
for recreation infrastructure improvements to begin in 2018, including trail and staging area work
that will reduce erosion and impacts on the Salt Lake City watershed.”

Stay tuned to SaltLakeClimbers.org for volunteer environmental stewardship opportunities at
upcoming Adopt a Crag events. The SLCA will also be responsible for funding recreation
infrastructure at the Gate Buttress parcel and will have fundraising events that the public is
encouraged to attend, including one on June 8th at Black Diamond Equipment. For tickets, visit
Photo: Nathan Smith

About Salt Lake Climbers Alliance

The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) exists to provide a unified voice for climbers in the
Wasatch through stewardship, advocacy, community, and education. The SLCA is Utah’s
leading voice for climbing access and stewardship: uniting, educating, and inspiring climbers of
all disciplines to serve their local climbing community since 2002.
For more information, visit saltlakeclimbers.org.

About the LDS Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a global faith with nearly 16 million members
worldwide. The Church’s teachings include a belief that we have a responsibility to work with
others to care for God’s creations. For more information, visit our page on Environmental

About Access Fund

Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and
conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, Access Fund supports and represents
millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing,
mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local
levels: climbing management policy, stewardship and conservation, local support and
mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and
education. For more information, visit accessfund.org.


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