Granite Climbing at its Finest on Kermit’s Wall

Tom Bracken
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Beat the heat with some slabby granite climbing for breakfast at Kermit’s Wall in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Kermit’s Wall is a large buttress that forms the left outside wall of the Green Adjective Gully. You’ll want to attack these south-facing routes before the August sun takes control of the sky and before your trade show starts, slacker.

You can’t top rope any of the climbs on Kermit’s Wall so you’ll need a reliable lead climber with your group. If you have that, the wall is fun for climbers of all skill levels. There are eight trad and sport routes here ranging from 5.8 - 5.12b. Helmets are highly recommended.

The easiest rated routes on Kermit’s Wall are Cranial Prophylactic and Cinderblock Variation (both 5.8s), but keep in mind that this is Little Cottonwood Canyon, and subjectively speaking, some of the routes will feel harder than the recorded grades. Also, slabby granite will seem more difficult to climbers who aren’t used to it, so be patient with anyone in your group who’s struggling (or don’t wake them up to come along). Most will need some time and practice to adjust to slab and friction climbing

Climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon
Climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tristan Higbee

One of the favorites here is the 90’, 5.10a Kermit’s Wad. The granite gives you strong grips on the slab, but the moves take thought and skill. Begin on the left side of the slab and to the right of a broken right-facing corner. Angle up right along a ramp until it steepens to a left-facing corner. You’ll want to place in some small gear and then make committed moves to the right onto a knobby slab. Next comes some edging and smearing to a horizontal dike, and a finish with some hard moves on smooth rock up right to a final headwall. Kermit’s Wad has five bolts to a three-bolt anchor on a ledge.

Paranoia Streak is a challenging 5.10c trad favorite with a notoriously tough crux. This isn’t a climb for anyone who isn’t up for a little danger with their breakfast. Many people fall on this route and a helmet is highly recommended—this fall has been known to split them in half.

Little Cottonwood Canyon is easy to find. From downtown Salt Lake City, take I-80 east to I-215 south. Head south on I-215 for about five minutes until you reach Exit 6 for Wasatch Blvd. Take Wasatch Blvd south. Go straight through a few stop lights and eventually you’ll be driving up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It’s that easy.

To get to Kermit’s Wall, head up Little Cottonwood Canyon 1.25 miles and you’ll see an obvious pull-out on the north side of the road. It’s a gravel area, and this is where you’ll park. Hike up the westernmost trail from the Gate Buttress parking area, generally keeping left at trail junctions. The path eventually meanders into a huge boulder field below the Green Adjective Gully. Do a little boulder-hopping and scrambling upwards, keeping left around the largest blocks to the base of the wall on the left side of the gully’s entrance.

Here are the GPS coordinates for the wall to help you with your approach.

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