Trip Report
A touch of granite in the Wasatch Front.
Monday July 15, 2013 2:30pm
Although the Wasatch doesn't have the size of the Tetons or the immense volume of quality of the Sierra we still have a little slice of heaven. Locals know, and it seems like some out-of-towners are now in the know of The Lone Peak Cirque. Perfect granite at 11,000ft with amazing views and beautiful alpine meadows treat the mountain enthusiast's who make the pilgrimage. Lone Peak is well traveled, and probably most SLC climbers will make the journey at some point in time to sample the goods. However the 5.5 mile 5,600k hike keep the soft bellies at bay.

Credit: Grippa

Like Cultureshock is obsessed with The Hulk I am enthralled with Lone Peak (11,253ft). Seemingly endless lines begged to be climbed, and a few gems have escaped the grip of local hardmen who've passed on them for one reason or another. A close friend and international hardman once said to me, "one of the most romantic things a climber can do is to fall in love with a mountain range".

I'm head over heals...

Credit: Hayden Price
Credit: Hayden Price
Credit: Grippa

So in order to fullfill my commitment to this deep relationship I decided to continue a goal of mine for the summer. I wish to complete the entire Big Cottonwood to Little Cottonwood ridgeline (aka the WURL) in sections. It's easily attainable, but requires persistence.

I can't quite remember it, but I seem to recall a quote by Rolando Garibotti "I simply love to be moving through the mountains". That always resonated with me as the freedom of expression is never more pure than doing something because I feel it deep in my heart.

This day was one of those days.

Hayden almost into the cirque talus.
Hayden almost into the cirque talus.
Credit: Grippa

I was joined by one of my best friends for the initial hike up, and our climb in the cirque. Hayden had never been to Lone Peak, but as a professional skier he is always up for adventure and testing his limits. With some friends already up in the zone he would stay for a few days as I continued onward. Companionship in the mountains has an immeasurable influence on moral as I would soon find out.

I'd been up to the cirque 3 times already this season, and Hayden has year round mountain legs so the hike wasn't a big deal. If anything we went slower than normal to pace me for the rest of my day. This proved to be crucial, and honestly it never crossed my mind to truly pace in the mountains. I normally just red line till I drink beer at the car. It was not to be a 'normal' day for me.

Credit: Grippa

We chose a route neither of us had climber before named "The Great Escape". Fun name, and a super fun route. It doesn't hold up to the super classic status of other routes in the cirque, but who can hate on 90 ft of #3 camalots at 5.9 or a 70m pitch of 5.7 fingers and hands?!

Hayden coming up the blue camalot section.
Hayden coming up the blue camalot section.
Credit: Grippa

Looking up pitch two at Hayden pulling around almost to the belay.
Looking up pitch two at Hayden pulling around almost to the belay.
Credit: Grippa

Me in the same location as Hayden in the previous shot.
Me in the same location as Hayden in the previous shot.
Credit: Grippa


After the climb we descended into the cirque floor to stash gear, have lunch, and chill out for a little bit. The going was about to get tough for me so I had to absorb as many positive vibes as possible before I set sail.

Probably the worst ridge topo ever.
Probably the worst ridge topo ever.
Credit: Grippa

After chilling and wishing my buddies luck on their first Lone Peak adventure I cast off for my own. I re-climbed our descent route 'Pete's Staircase' with a burrito, 4 liters of water, a chocolate bar, and my climbing helmet. First on my list was Bighorn Peak 10,877ft. Bighorn is an understated summit in the Wasatch, and probably the gnarliest blade of granite I've seen in my home range. Probably closer to a table saw blade sticking out than an actual mountain.

Summit cracks on Bighorn.
Summit cracks on Bighorn.
Credit: Grippa


Well the stress and fatigue of the day started to kick in right around the same time I was approaching the top. Bonking, and alone I started to have doubts about my success. There was an easy out via the Upper Bells Canyon reservoir trail, but I didn't come here to bail. After a 2nd lunch and at least 2 liters of water I was ready to rock.

I saw this mummified Squirrel or Pika, not really sure what s/he was, but all I knew was that I didn't want to become a victim of their demise.

A reminder not to fail.
A reminder not to fail.
Credit: Grippa

I use a black dromedary water bag in the backcountry as it melts water fast in direct sunlight, this was crucial to my day.

Mr. Goat just after christening my water supply with his own form of h...
Mr. Goat just after christening my water supply with his own form of h20.
Credit: Grippa


Reverse view of my first terrible topo.
Reverse view of my first terrible topo.
Credit: Grippa

Looking down at the full ocean of talus.
Looking down at the full ocean of talus.
Credit: Grippa

Hyperhydrating not only helped my physical condition, but also my mental resolve. All thoughts of failure and bailing went out the window, and my legs returned. Soon I was running the ridgeline to gain time lost during my 2nd lunch, and to prep myself for the immense talus field still ahead.

Maybe talus field isn't the right word...During my hike I felt adrift in an ocean of talus. So perhaps talus pirate or captain talus is more appropriate.

Maybe 1/6th of the talus ocean.
Maybe 1/6th of the talus ocean.
Credit: Grippa

Mega classic 'Hogums Heroes 5.11' deep in the Wasatch.
Mega classic 'Hogums Heroes 5.11' deep in the Wasatch.
Credit: Grippa

Another short dinner break, and the remaining burrito later had me finishing up the ocean section in time for the last bit of vertical gain left before the leisurely cruise to the exiting trail head. Of course on this last hill I stepped on a stone welded into soft earth only to have it give way leaving me to fall directly into a stinging nettle bush. Picking out 50 some slivers gets to be tiresome on the slow mind so I let some of them be. It's 6 days later, and I still have about 10 left in my right hand. It's super hard to pick out slivers with your non-dominant hand.

The iconic Pfeifferhorn 11,326ft in the evening glow.
The iconic Pfeifferhorn 11,326ft in the evening glow.
Credit: Grippa

At this point I'm pretty much done I have about a mile of cross country terrain left before I hit high use trail, and can run the remaining 3-4 miles. It's funny how once you know the objective is almost complete you somehow dip into a secret energy reserve.

The skyline in the background was completed about a month ago, and is ...
The skyline in the background was completed about a month ago, and is one of the best in the range. "The Cottonwood Traverse"
Credit: Grippa

Awesome meadow to fuel my finishing stoke.
Awesome meadow to fuel my finishing stoke.
Credit: Grippa

My final photo, and as stated in the caption I was sooooo happy to see those flowers. I think I had regressed to a basic state of mind due to exhaustion where even the most basic thing made me happy. At a junction where I met the main hiking trail I leaped onto the bridge crossing the creek like I was some shitty super hero fighting crime.

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I don't own a gps so I'm not 100% on my mileage or vertical, but I estimate my total vertical gain to be a little over 7,000ft the majority of which was gained in the first 6 miles. Somewhere between 13-15 miles of walking. Around 5-6 of those miles were cross country, and 3ish were just talus.

Overall I started at 6:30am and ended at 9:12PM. I didn't really rush other than that section post bonk, and at the end where I was to excited to walk down the last bit of trail.

Sometimes you just have to lose yourself in the mountains.

  Trip Report Views: 976
Grippa
About the Author
Grippa is a wannabe living in Salt Lake City, UT.

Comments
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micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 15, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
A stellar day in the high country! Thanks for sharing this place that means so much to you. May your summer be long and your summits be many this season.

Scott
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jul 15, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
"one of the most romantic things a climber can do is to fall in love with a mountain range".

^^^The Wasatch is a great range, my backcountry experience there has been in winter but would love to go for some rock climbing. Thanks for the inspiration, the Wasatch is awesome.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Jul 15, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
good on yas
weezy

climber
  Jul 15, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
gettin it done in the 801...nice job grippa. i never even looked at that massive traverse. very cool goal, congrats.

LPC is the best crag in the wasatch, imo. next to dogwood, of course.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 15, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
VERY NICE! Thanks for some "new" stuff.. Lembert dome goes only so far! WASATCH DREAMS!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Jul 15, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
TFPU. This is adventure. The topo looks like Weld It had made it.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Jul 15, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
Nice
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 15, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
Man what a great TR! Thank you!

Also your avatar is good.

Personal request/plea: bring a high quality camera with you next time! Loved this version, and not complaining in the least, but with a snazzier camera this'd be even at the next level, amigo.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Jul 15, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
le_bruce - yea man I know I need a better camera. I used my flip phone camera on this adventure, and the pics definitely surprised me a little bit. My photo's credited to Hayden were shot on his iphone, but with so much instagram editing they didn't turn out very sharp.

Hope to have better shots in the future.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jul 15, 2013 - 04:48pm PT
That was STellar and it was STerling.

Love has its rewards.

If you live in Utah, I suppose it's cool to have multiple relationships?

There's lovely Uinta, and the lively old gal La Sal, for example...
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Jul 15, 2013 - 05:36pm PT
Mouse gets it...
Stevee B

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 15, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
Fantastic TR. I did a White Pine to Bells traverse once years ago, and it just sparked more and more ideas. Would love to see you get yourself a gps, it'd be great to see the route on this one. Or maybe I should just get off my ass and find a topo of the WURL.
Did you get on top of Bighorn?

Speaking of the La Sals, I read a TR of a ski traverse down there a little while ago. Would love to see some summer traverse TR's.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 15, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
Nice, nice, nice.....perfect high adventure for the dog days of Summer.
weezy

climber
  Jul 15, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
as far as the la sals go, i've got a traverse planned that hits all the 12k peaks. tuk no > tuk > peale > mellenthin > tomasaki > manns > green > pilot > la sal peak. thirteen summits total, some unnamed but all above 12k. might have to do it reverse from la sal peak since finding the old mining road coming down la sal peak into beaver basin at night could be epic.
Aerili

climber
SLC, Utah
  Jul 15, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Thanks for representin' Utaaaah.

I am really interested in doing the Cottonwood Traverse and may send you a pm to get some info on it.

(Btw, I CAN hate on endless blue camalots....... ;)) )

3 miles of talus?!?! You go, boy.
Stevee B

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 15, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
weezy, you better post up a TR if you do that La Sals linkup!

Here are some great TR's from the WURL.
http://door5.com/2004/08/07/success-on-the-wurl-traverse/
http://nikberry.blogspot.com/2009/09/horse-shoe-traverse.html
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 15, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
Aerili....endless blue camalots are the bomb! I have the cirque on my short, short list.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Jul 15, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
Donini - Check out the Center thumb, and Shadow of Death for more blue C4's.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Jul 15, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
one of the most romantic things a climber can do is to fall in love with a mountain range

What a great sentiment.

Shares like this make all our days better. Thanks!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:52am PT
Grippa,
Very nice, you have a great flow and rythm to your writing.
Thank You,
Is your name Douglas????
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jul 16, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
This is cool Grippa! Way to get creative & take advantage of the long days. This TR is what it's all about!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 16, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
Dude, yer gonna have the locals pissed at you now writing such a glowing TR!

Oh, BTW, that wasn't a squirrel, it was a baby Chupacabra!
I wouldn't go back there if I were you.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jul 16, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
Inspiring
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Jul 16, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
Stevee B - I didn't summit North Thunder or Big Horn. I was bonking super hard at the time, and had the goat meadow in my sights. All other summits were attained.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jul 17, 2013 - 12:04am PT
Nice TR from the local hills!

Alpine rock above SLC? Whoodathunkit?

Ha ha.

Sweet!
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