Why You Should Tackle Alpine Climbs with ITCOG

Our IFMGA-certified guides have years of experience helping clients tackle the best rock around the desert paradise of Moab.

Why You Should Tackle Alpine Climbs with ITCOG

Utah’s Wasatch Range is known for a staggering array of pristine alpine rock lines, with routes suitable for all experience levels! 

This might come as a surprise, but we don’t live here in Salt Lake City because the world’s first KFC opened here. We also don’t live here because SLC eats more Jell-O than any other city in the world, because there are more plastic surgeons here than anywhere else in the world, or because the United States’ #1 manufacturer of rubber chickens is here. (But yes, those are all facts!)


We live in Salt Lake because the mountains here are utterly sublime

There is no better launchpad to tackle alpine climbs, and the snow, ice, and alpine rock lines in the Wasatch Mountains are some of the best in the world, regardless of your skill or experience level.

Maybe you’re a new climber, and you’ve cut your teeth on plastic or a few sport routes outside, but you want to expand into a more adventurous side of climbing. Or maybe you’re a veteran rope gun, but you’ve never climbed in the Wasatch and you’re traveling alone, looking for a local buddy, intimately familiar with the area, who can show you the terrain. 

It doesn’t matter. Whether you’re an alpine gumby, an alpine guru, or anywhere in between, you’ll find alpine climbs in the Wasatch that will push you to the edge of your limits. 

Here’s why you should rope up on alpine rock here in the Wasatch with us!

Awe-Inspiring Summits, Spectacular Rock, and Routes for All Skill Levels

Despite their proximity to the Salt Lake City metropolitan area (30 minutes from the airport and downtown SLC) the rock in the Wasatch Range is some of the best on the planet. You aren’t roping up at some burnt-out city crag here, only one degree removed from a rock gym. 

These are real, rugged wilderness destinations, but still only minutes from a major metro area. Big (BCC) and Little Cottonwood Canyons (LCC) are known as world-class crags. Climbers of all stripes come from across the globe just for the opportunity to rope up on the pristine granite cracks of LCC and the crimpy, chickenhead-covered quartzite at BCC.

Your options are limitless all from a single starting point. When you climb with us, we can fire up to Big Cottonwood Canyon and spend a day roping up on hard single-pitch sport routes, or, from essentially the same trailhead, we can pack up to Sundial Peak (10,320 feet), one of the most photographed mountains in the state, and dive into the burly north face via iconic lines like Eleventh Hour (5.8). 

From our base in Salt Lake City, mountains like Sundial, Superior (11,045 feet), Timpanogos (11,749 feet) and the iconic pyramidal Pfeifferhorn (11,331 feet) are all just a short jaunt away. 

The latter summit, oft known as the “Little Matterhorn” after its more famous Swiss cousin, is home to a north ridge considered one of the finest mountaineering routes in the country but also houses a plethora of mellow scrambles and technical rock lines.

Simply put, there is a VAST array of difficulty and commitment levels available here. 

You’ll find everything from multi-day objectives that demand the nth degree of commitment to mellower summer routes that can allow you to fire up a world-renowned summit like Superior in a single day car-to-car, even without any technical climbing skills. 

You can lead your first 5.8, hone your footwork on your first slab route, follow your first multi-pitch, or send some ice on the historic Stairway to Heaven (WI5).

Again, whether you’re an experienced climber looking to attempt a serious objective, in need of a partner who knows the lay of the land, or you’re a total novice just looking to climb on rock for the first time, there’s a route or objective here that can safely push you to the edge of your limit. If you’re traveling to Salt Lake from further afield, you can fly into SLC International and be tied in leading your first 5.10 just a couple of hours later.

We gladly welcome first-time climbers, children, seniors, and groups of all kinds (birthday parties, family reunions, bachelor parties, Boy Scout trips, etc.). Whether you’re looking to complete your first multi-pitch, climb your first 5.10, learn the basics of placing protection and anchor building, or hone your skill on slab, crack, or another discipline, we’ll design an adventure perfectly catered to your goals.

The Wasatch is Our Backyard!

Many guiding outfits offer expeditions around the country or even the globe. Here at ITCOG, we’re no different. We’ve climbed and guided on all seven continents, from Africa’s Kilimanjaro to Antarctica’s Vinson Massif, and we love firing off on an international adventure no matter the destination. We’re always stoked to head off to Ama Dablam, Mt. Kenya, the Eiger, or anywhere else in our trip catalog. 

But in our eyes, there’s nothing that beats the Wasatch Range. 

That’s why we’ve made our home nestled here among these peaks. Alpine rock in the Wasatch is our bread and butter, and we’ve spent a lifetime picking our way through these mountains. When you come to a world-class climbing destination like Utah’s Wasatch, you want to climb with someone who knows the lay of the land, and you won’t find more knowledgeable, intimately familiar guides for the Wasatch Range than ITCOG.

Customize Your Adventure

Our aim here at In the Company of Guides is to give you an authentic adventure, tailored to your skill level and goals. When you climb with us, you’re in the company of a guide, you’re not being led or hand-held by a guide.

For us, the client-guide relationship is the most important aspect of guiding. 

Our goal isn’t to get as many people up a route as possible, guiding the same routes in the same style season after season after season. 

Despite how some other outfits are run, for us, guiding isn’t an industry that meshes well with the “assembly-line” approach.  

Our goal is to craft a one-of-a-kind adventure that’s perfect for YOU. We design trips in coordination with our clients, so when you climb with us, you aren’t getting some cookie-cutter, formulaic experience. You’re tackling a real, authentic objective, right at the limits of your skill zone and comfort level, all with the safety and experience brought by our IFMGA-certified guides.

Utah alpine climbs are some of the finest on the planet, and we’re the best guides to help you get after them. So, let’s make it happen!

Owen Clarke

Owen Clarke

Owen Clarke is a freelance outdoor and travel journalist specializing in mountaineering.

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