|McLayne Potter of Huntington, and John Murray of Orangeville, watch as Diana Soric climbs the ice fall near Joe's Valley. Dave Soric of Las Vegas, Nev. stands at the top of the ice with Diana on belay.|
Winter in Emery County is not only a beautiful time of year, it is a great recreational destination. Ice climbing has become a very popular outdoor winter activity, and Joe's Valley in Emery County offers some of the best climbs in the country. People from all over the world come to climb the ice in the winter and the rocks in the summer.
With names like Wolfenstein, Donorcicle, Spear of Fear, Highway to Heaven, Triple C, Prima Donna, and the Curtain, climbers know each frozen waterfall by name and can recount their characteristics. Each is also rated for length and difficulty on a universal scale. In addition to the locations near Joe's Valley, there are several in Huntington Canyon, and several that are located above Joe's Valley that require an overnight stay. To reach those, a person must ski or snowmobile in, and have a knowledge of avalanche conditions.
Layne Potter, a Huntington native began rock climbing when he was 13 years old, then added the ice six-seven years ago to keep his skills sharp during the winter months. As with other Emery County residents, he began climbing and rappelling in the Swell. The frozen waterfalls located in Straight Canyon and near Joe's Valley Reservoir are not only great for the quality of ice, but the big sandstone cliffs provide great scenery in which to spend the day.
Armed with a basic knowledge of climbing and safety, along with the right equipment, anyone can participate in this outdoor recreation craze. Some of the items needed for ice climbing are crampons, a harness, carabiners, ice screws, ropes, ice tools, and a helmet is a must.
|John Murray of Orangeville begins the ascent of Wolfenstein.|
Special items of clothing, warm and water repellent, along with mountaineering boots are essential also. Much of the equipment used in ice climbing is used in rock climbing.
Classes are available along the Wasatch Front, and some information is available at the Utah Climbers website.
Potter said, "My entire family participates in climbing and we would be glad to help anyone who has questions or would like to know conditions or locations of the climbs."
Potter is a member of the Emery County Search and Rescue and has been involved in many of the rescues which required rappelling in to a victim, and has stayed with those people, overnight if necessary, until the rescue can be completed.