slca petition
The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance wants your help opposing the Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola project; (photos/SLCA)

Salt Lake Climbers Launch Photo Petition to Stop Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola

The local climbing organization says the gondola project will negatively impact climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon for years to come.

The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance wants your help. While building a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon has attracted plenty of controversy, the group wants climbers’ help to oppose the project.

The Salt Lake Climbers Alliance (SLCA) launched a photo petition on social media last week, asking climbers to publish photos explaining their opposition to the project. As designed, this effort will not only raise awareness online, but SLCA leaders also plan to pool the photos together in their advocacy work.

“We will be collecting your photos to aid in our advocacy work to Save LCC Climbing with our social media channels, our Utah State Legislature, and policy makers,” the group said in an Instagram post on Sept. 19.

Proponents of the half-billion-dollar gondola project say it will reduce traffic on roads leading to the area’s popular ski resorts. However, the SLCA argues that it represents the “greatest threat to climbing in the Wasatch region in decades.”

How Will the Project Impact Climbing?

The SLCA doesn’t mince words when it comes to the likely impact of the project on local climbing. The group points out that the expected years of construction could “compromise” the canyon’s popular bouldering areas. The project, it says, will result in the destruction of climbing resources and views, replacing them with towers and cables.

They also argue that the gondola will only serve ski resort users, ignoring other year-round canyon users. And as soon as construction begins, “the rush of the river [will be] replaced with the consistent hum of machinery and construction.”

As a result, the SLCA is advocating for other solutions. They include increased or incentivized bussing and tolls for passenger cars. Their plans aren’t as detailed as the gondola proposal from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). However, the SLCA’s solutions would be less destructive, the group argues.

How to Participate With the SLCA

The SLCA offers instruction for participating in the photo petition in the first Instagram post. All they ask is that you write down your thoughts about the project on a whiteboard or piece of paper.

Snap a photo of yourself holding the sign, and then post it online with the tags @saltlakeclimbers. You can also email it to utahpolicy@americanalpineclub.org.

But that’s not all. The SLCA also asks that climbers submit their comments on the Final Environmental Impact Statement to UDOT.

The state’s transportation agency will continue to accept public comment on the project until October 17 — a crucial period that could decide whether the gondola becomes a reality.

little cottonwood canyon
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Andrew McLemore
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An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.