Climbing Saved with $1.1M Purchase of Rock Canyon, UT


A 15-year standoff comes to an end with a $1.1M acquisition by the City of Provo to keep mining out of the popular hiking and climbing area. Access Fund started working on this issue in 2004, providing support to local groups fighting to protect the area. Rock Canyon, one of Utah’s oldest climbing areas 40 miles south of Salt Lake City outside Provo, boasts over 500 quality sport and trad lines on high quality quartzite and limestone, including the longest sport climbs in Utah (20+ pitches). The climbs vary from classic moderates such as Green Monster and four-star 5.10's and 11's, to some of the hardest routes in Utah still yet to be repeated.

Court battles over split property ownership kept the excavation at bay for the last ten years. In 2003 one partner in the ownership group claimed mining rights to the mouth of the Canyon—which includes 75% of the canyon’s climbing—and attempted to turn the cliffs into a rock quarry operation. Meanwhile, his partners granted a conservation easement to Provo City with restrictions on mining, and the dispute landed in court over land ownership. The court ruled that Provo City owned 50% of the property and temporarily halted the quarry operation. The City just announced this April that it acquired full ownership of the property in a $1.1M settlement .

Provo Mayor John Curtis called Rock Canyon a "natural treasure" for the community. "The stunning majesty of the canyon walls fosters tranquillity, enhances our appreciation of nature’s forces and strengthens our sense of timelessness."

“We have every rea­son to believe that Provo will pro­vide excel­lent stew­ard­ship for its com­mu­nity jewel,” states the Rock Canyon Preser­va­tion Alliance, a group of climbers and local citizens dedicated to protecting the Canyon.