Monday, October 3, 2011

Lone Peak

With summer winding down soon Jay and I decided to tackle the iconic Lone Peak last Sunday. From the time I was a child I can remember looking up at the granite topped peak with wonder. It's hard to miss as it looms over Salt Lake county, rising over 5,000' from the valley floor. Safe to say this one has been on the list for quite a long time.
The chosen route was the well worn Jacobs Ladder trail at 12.6 miles in length. Jay had been to the top once before but it had been more than a couple years and I had never been up so we decided on what we perceived to be the easiest route to follow. Hah! What a laugh we had at that thought as we closed in on the cirque.
Not quite to the cirque, Lone Peak is the pointy piece of granite just left of middle.
The lower part of the trail was really quite straight forward but after after crossing through the "cowboy camp" meadow and cresting the north ridge we started heading downhill. Jay stopped after a half mile or so and we decided we should go back since it just didn't feel right. That was the right call as we dropped into the drainage and started following cairns but what a fool's errand that turned into. If I had a dime for every cairn I saw sending us this way and that I would have been able to buy a helicopter ride off the mountain.

Jay, just before getting into the cirque, Utah Lake in the background
Eventually we stumbled into the cirque and spotted the low spot on the north ridge we knew we had to aim for. I've seen plenty of pictures of the cirque but as usual it was so much more stunning in person. Even though the peak was the objective for the day I would have been happy to just kick back and enjoy the view for a while.

The scramble up the north ridge was pretty straight forward until hand holds were required. I knew there would be some exposure at the top but I decided not to think about and just do it. The final couple hundred feet are probably the most nerve racking, but with Jay's encouraging words like "don't worry it's just a little loose dirt", I made it through. He was referring to the dirt sitting on solid granite and just a small hop off a ledge, I focused on the landing and not the loooong drop into Upper Bells Canyon. 

Stats: 12.6 miles, 6,120' vertical, 5hrs 27mins.
Summit shots (none of which do it justice):
Jay on the summit with Timp in the background

Me on the summit with Big Cottonwood ridge in the background

Pano shot from the top looking northeast


Nick S. said...

Nice....such a great hike, my hike up Lone Peak was the highlight of my summer. Good call on the pics, you have to see it for yourself

jun said...

Yeah, that one has been on my list for a very long time too. Way too long, that's for sure.