Friday, July 3, 2009

Deseret Peak

Greg said it best when we were a few hundred feet from the summit, "Beat's working doesn't it?". "You know it I replied".
Located a mere 1 hour drive from SLC is a mountain oasis in the middle of the desert. Looking over the oasis is Deseret Peak standing at 11,031'. I'm sure many of you already know about the Deseret Peak Wilderness, for those of you that don't you're missing out, really. I was looking for some sustained altitude and this fit the bill perfectly, plus it can be done in a lollipop style loop.
The road is closed just below the Narrows so we had to park at the Medina Flats trailhead and run up the dirt road a couple of miles or so. Overall this added a little over 4 miles to the 13 mile roundtrip. Greg and I hit the dirt road a little before 7am and made our way to the normal trailhead and took the left hand Mill Fork trail. The trail reminded me of the section of Wasatch between Lamb's and Bear Ass pass, at least while we were below treeline. Greg pointed out the size of some the aspens, easily the largest I've ever seen. The trail is really pretty straight forward, steadily climbing out of the drainage to a saddle on the south side of the peak. The views kept getting better the higher we climbed and I found myself standin in awe more than once (hopefully this won't be to problematic at Hardrock).

Once we hit the saddle we had about another 1,000' feet to the summit, which didn't really seem possible when we were standing there but the peak was hidden behind the ridge right in front of us. I pushed the pace just a little bit to the summit just to see if I had any ill effects and I was happy that all systems were in order, no light headedness or headaches to speak of.
We finally topped out after 1hr 50mins and lingered on the summit for a good 10 minutes taking in the view to the west. Looking east all we could see was a cloud. The early morning heat created a good size cloud from the moisture in the forest below. Oh well, it was still pretty cool.

We left the peak heading north along the ridge, staying well above 10,000' feet for another 45 mins or so. After negotiating a little bit of snow and some slippery mud we found our descent and finally some incredible views to the east. Just after reaching the fork from earlier in the day we ran through a stream while some day hikers negotiated some skinny logs, looking a little perturbed at us. We held a steady pace all the way back to the car grinning from ear to ear, finishing in 3hrs 17mins with 4,630' of vert.

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