Rock climbing Stinky Stash Wall in Albion Basin
Sometimes you gotta go high to escape the heat. Summertime in Salt Lake City means temperatures can reach triple digits, and that heat easily rises to popular rock climbing areas in the lower Cottonwood Canyons. But there is relief in Albion Basin above Alta, where you can climb in the high alpine on the Stinky Stash Wall.
Stinky Stash Wall is a small cliff band located high above Cecret Lake in Albion Basin at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This little-used climbing area features good routes that can be moderately challenging for the avid climber. While the lines on this rock are not classic epics found on the granite walls down canyon, this quarzite wall provides a nice place to spend the day climbing in cool mountain air.
There are six bolted routes and seven trad climbs rated from 5.7-5.10 on the Stinky Stash Wall for a total of 13 climbs to play on. All the routes are very close to each other and some even share anchor chains at the top. With so many bolts in close proximity severed by trad climbs, the routes have been numbered to ease any confusion. They begin from left to right, with bolted routes blessed with names, while the trad routes are only called GR 1-6. For the purposes of this article we’ll only describe the bolted routes.
The first climb you come to on the Stinky Stash Wall is Dog Farts. It’s a 5.10 rated short climb that finds its difficulty in a few moves over a roof that makes or breaks a successful climb based on one’s arm length. It’s a pumpy climb that is best saved for later after a few warm up climbs.
The next bolted climb to the right is Skunk Weed. This is another 5.10 doozy that is more about steep face-climbing then pumpy moves over roofs. The route is marked by a darker-colored rock. Good balance is key with this climb.
Next up is Skunk Buds, another roof climb that gives climbers a choice: go around the roof to the left for an easy jaunt, or over the roof for added flavor. Above that obstacle is a slabby climb with anchors waiting at the top. This 5.9 climb is fun thanks to the variety.
In keeping with the “stinky” theme, the next climb over with bolts is Pepe LePue. This 5.9 face climb is really short – only 50 feet – but is worth doing to tick it off the list.
Stinky Stash is the wall’s namesake, and at a reasonable 5.9 difficulty rating, is a popular choice here. Six bolts lead to an anchor.
The last bolted route, found on the far right, is Stinky Buddy. The cool thing about this climb is that you can choose to use the bolts, or make it into a trad climb as the rock features have good placements for gear. As a result, it’s a good training ground for the trad leader who is trying to break the 5.10 ceiling, but will benefit from having those bolts there as security.
To get to Stinky Stash, drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon Road and park near the Albion Basin campground. Hike up the trail to Cecret Lake. Skirt the lake on its west side toward the Sugarloaf lift and hike up to Cecret Pass. Stinky Stash Wall is on the left of the trail, where a quick traverse and a short scramble gets you to the base.
Overall, the Stinky Stash Wall is an obvious way to climb away from summer’s heat on a not-so-obvious wall. There are plenty of climbs to keep you occupied, and the approach up Albion Basin and around Cecret Lake is beautiful and worth doing in its own right.