SchoolRoom is one of my most memorable climbs to date. I have climbed two different variations. There are 3 variations in total, and a fourth which is a single Aid pitch called "SchoolRoom Roof". On this page I will talk about what I know as the original SchoolRoom route. SchoolRoom is part of the "Gate Buttress" located about 1.25 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon. There is dirt parking lot on the north side of the road. This property belongs to the church, so be extra respectful. We should be respectful of any route or area we climb in, but this one in particular has been restricted a few times. Keep it in mind.
Anyway, SchoolRoom consists of 5 pitches: 5.5, 5.6, 5.6, 5.6, and 5.6. This is a pretty popular route. The last time I climbed it, we got up early and headed up there. I think there were two climbing parties already on it and another party that came up right behind us.
Pitch 1- The first pitch is a good warmup pitch. You climb up about 40 feet with some good juggy holds and decent gear placement. The next section of this pitch is fun! :) Can you say "No Hands!"? Protect yourself here before you traverse to the right. There is a nice section where all you have is feet. Stick close to the wall. Once you pass this section protect it as soon as possible to help your partner as he/she cleans the gear and then downclimb as you continue your traverse right. Holds get better here. As you continue right the route takes you back up where a crack starts to emerge. Set a belay station just before it really starts to rise. Small to medium gear.
Pitch 2- P2 is not all that long. I would say it's my favorite and least favorite route of the line, but I havent gotten to P4 yet, just wait. This is a nice hand crack that runs up the slab. I like this crack and don't like it at the same time. It's a nice sturdy crack, but I feel so precarious in it at the same time. Its big enough in some places near the top that you can fit a BD C4 #3, but be careful how you place it. One of mine got stuck and my climbing buddy tore it to pieces while trying to get it out. If you follow the crack until it starts heading back to the left then you've gone too far. Just before the crack starts to turn the other direction your are going to 'jump crack'. Look to the right and you'll see some smooth granite followed by a little divet that doesn't look like it will be much help. That's where you're headed. Reach out and grab that spot, transfer your right foot and leave the crack. From here make your way up to the crack system and set your second belay station. Meadium gear, up to BD C4 #3.
Pitch 3- P3 is like all those other routes you look up at and they look like they sit at a 45 degree angle...until you get on it. There are a few cracks that lead up and away from your belay. Make sure you take the left route. If you go right you are headed for The Hook. Follow the left leading crack left of the tree. Once you get up to about the height of the tree there is a bomber dark granite knob that sticks out from the wall. Protect yourself somewhere near and then grab that knob, and use the crack to climb over that hump. It was a little out of my reach so I used it as an oppurtunity to do a mini 'dyno'. Whatever gets the blood flowing. At that point you are standing next to a tree, and the rock in front of you is just right to throw a sling over for an anchor. Setup anchor right there and bring your #2 up. Small to medium gear here.
Pitch 4- You have to downclimb a litte to get to the base of P4. You can lower one climber down on the rope or you can both use the small "chimney" to get down. There is a nice flat, dirt surface there. Unfortunately there is a lot of scrub oak that has grown around the edges and into the start of P4 so it is hard to see your climber from here. Gear up and head up this chimney. It's a beauty. No, actually it isn't. Find a place to set some pro as high as you can before it gets too large for gear. It will be your last piece for a good 30 feet if not more, unless you have a Trango Big Bro or equivalent. It is an awkward squeeze if I say so myself. You can protect at the top of the chimney, then get ready for a traverse left under the roof. Minimal protection here as well, but it's about 5.5. Mostly a head game. I think we managed to stick one small cam in somewhere right in the middle, then you are on your own all the way to the tree. Belay from the tree, it gives off some nice shade. Small or very large gear here.
Pitch 5- By this point it was hot. The sun was out and I was not feeling at all like leading the last pitch, but it was my turn. Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of this area, but head up, again staying left. We sat debating with ourselves over which route to take. There is a cutout to the left and a beefy hand crack that goes under a miniture roof to the right (5.8). We took the left. Protection is pretty good the whole way up the crack. Anywhere you will have to make a somewhat daring move, you can protect it pretty easily. About halfway up the cutout curves right and you will be out of view of your partner. A little past that you leave the crack and head to the right. It felt a little like smearing, but not bad at all. Follow this line to the obvious tree from which you belay. Small to medium gear here.
The Rappel- First of all this is one of the best views around! I kid not! I could sit up there all day. The main SchoolRoom picture is taken from the tree at the top of P5. We had maps and instructions on where to go from here, but it was honestly a bit hard to tell where we were supposed to go. Just before we were going to explore above to find the walk off we found some chains right under our noses. Basically just to Jon's right in the picture here. We rappelled from here to another set of chains. We were feeling pretty confident that we were headed the right direction. Jon headed down first and I waited to hear the word that it was my turn. He disappeared behind the rock and I waited, until finally he gave me the go ahead. I started rappelling and found what I think was a route called "Hatchet Crack". As I came down over the hump I saw Jon anchored to a few bolts. I laugh everytime I picture this moment. Jon, achored to a basically vertical wall between 25 and 30 feet to my right. We had gotten ourselves into quite the mess. Our rope was about 50 feet from reaching the ground, there was no way we were gonna make it, and there was no where for me to achor in with Jon. There where however two bolts right in front of me. I daisied myself to the bolts and did my best to keep my weight off, then we pulled the rope through the chains above. I believe we actually had to leave a biner on this wall because they were bolts, not actually chains. Always carry bailout biners for situations like this. We were 25 feet apart and I had the rope. I ran it through the chains and then tossed one end to Jon. It took a few tries before he actually grabbed it, but he then put it through his chains and threw the end back to me. Our two wall achors were seperated by 25 feet which formed a giant triangle once I connected myself and my ATC to the rope. I rappelled down to where it leveled off, unhooked the rope and dragged the ends to the right so Jon could reach the rope. He rappelled down and we searched for a way back to our gear. We were still a good ways away from our bags and it was at least another 30ish feet to the ground that we wanted to be on. There was a huge seam in the rock, I almost want to call it a ditch, which ran upwards towards Kermit's Wall and the Perhaps Area. It required a little scrambling, but nothing compared to what we had been through already. This took us back and we met up with the path leading to and from Perhaps and the Green Adjective. We followed the trail down. ***Important Note*** From our second rappel location if we had rappelled far enough to the left (and I mean far, but we could have made it) we would have landed on the platform just above the this same trail, just slightly higher than where we did merge.