New Guidebook: Maple Canyon

by dpm | 04/27/2012

New Guidebook: Maple Canyon

I love guidebooks. I always make a point of buying the book well before my trip and usually by the time I get to my destination I've got the area wired. I generally know what routes I want to try and how to get them. My first trip to Maple Canyon, Utah last summer was a different story. I had to scour the internet to find directions and once I did get there I was only armed with some old internet print out that was just about useless.

Of course we ended up following the crowds to the Minimum Wall because that's where everyone was climbing and it was one of the only walls listed in our topo. The wall was a sea of indistinct white paths and bolts and we ended up just getting on some route that had the grade scribbled in chalk at the base. I kept thinking, "Why isn't there a guidebook to one of America's most popular and well known sport climbing areas?"

I'd heard that there used to be a guide that has been out of print for years. I'd also heard rumors that a guidebook would be coming out soon. In fact, I'd been hearing that for the past eight or so years. Dave Pegg, owner of Wolverine Publishing and author of the Rifle guidebook, finally stepped up to the plate and with the help of a few committed locals cranked out a quality guidebook in just over a year.

The finished product is top notch as are all of Wolverine's guidebooks. It's a compact little book that won't weigh you down and with a retail price of $24.95 it won't break your bank either. The format is similar to all of Wolverine's modern guidebooks with full page color photos, digital photos of the cliff line with route line's drawn in, excellent detailed maps and all the information you need. Directions are fool proof, hike times are listed, sun/shade aspect is included (very helpful), and each sector is given a concise summary so you know what to expect.

Sample page from the book. Lots of info packed into a concise and beautiful layout.

One of the things that immediately stood out as I perused the book was just how much diverse climbing there is at Maple. Everyone has heard of the Pipedream Cave and the pumpfest 5.14's that climb out of it. What I didn't expect to see was the wealth of moderates. A fully bolted three-pitch 5.8? I'm in! In fact, if you open to a random spot in  the book you're likely to find multiple moderates from 5.6 to 5.10. I had no idea. There are also many more less well-known walls for the hard sport climber that have been overlooked in the past. If anything, I think this book will make everyone's trip to Maple better as it will likely encourage climbers to venture beyond the popular zones and into the corridors to climb on any number of hidden gems.

Maple Canyon is a summer area with relatively cool conditions. If you're planning a trip this year, it's worth a visit. Whether you're looking for outrageously pumpy cobble roof climbing or just a romp up a moderate multipitch, Maple Canyon has it all.

To buy the book online visit  

Guidebook author Dave Pegg has offered up some photos from the book to build the psyche for your summer trip. All photo captions are by him.

Pipedream is Maple’s most famous cliff, and for good reason, this huge cave has some of the longest and steepest sport pitches in the country. For me this photo of Clay Cahoon on Eulogy (5.14a), captures what it feels like to climb a hard route in the Pipedream. You can see the effort and core tension to keep his feet on the rock. Try doing 80 of these moves. It’s utterly exhausting. Photo Andrew Burr

One of the best things about working on the Maple guidebook was getting to check out a lot of great easier routes I wouldn’t have otherwise climbed. Morning Moos is a brilliant 5.10b at the Low Standard Cave. My neighbor JD George is a solid 5.10 climber — but he’s rarely been on one this exposed and steep. Photo Dave Pegg

Chris Sharma took a day off from the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City to on-sight most every route in the Pipedream, including its hardest climb Divine Fury (5.14b) (shown here). This is the only shot of the Pipedream I’ve ever seen with no people, dogs, packs, or other climbers hangdogging routes in the background. Photo John Evans

I was incredibly lucky to hook up with co-author Josh Holmes, who has an encyclopedic  knowledge of the 5.10s and 5.11s in Maple Canyon. This shot of Josh’s daughter Juniper climbing Superfly (5.8) at the Orangutan Wall is a great juxtaposition with the Sharma shot. Maple is one of those rare areas that provides great routes no matter how hard you climb or how long you’ve been doing it. Photo Josh Holmes

America’s most underrated climber, James Litz, spent a few days cleaning up old projects at The Compound last year, quickly sending the cliff’s three hardest routes. This shot of James was taken during the first ascent of Close Quarters Combat (5.14a.) The wall is steep, that left handhold is not a jug, and you can see the “try hard” written on his face. Photo Robert Otto

I love this Andrew Burr shot of Clay Cahoon (and buzzard) in the Pipedream. Some people dismiss Maple as choss, and I’ll admit the rock is not the most aesthetic. But don’t be fooled, there’s beauty and inspiration here. Tie in, try hard, and you’ll find it. Photo Andrew Burr