Monday, April 11, 2011

Peaks: Mt. Timpanogos

Location: Mt. Timpanogas, Utah County, Utah
Date: Aug/8/2009
Elevation: 11,729 ft.

Timpanogas is the most popular peak to summit on the Wasatch Front and for good reason. I have done it 4 times and plan on doing a winter traverse this coming Saturday. The traditional trail quickly rises from Aspen Grove at 6,910 ft to 10,380 feet where you reach emerald lake, which sits above the tree line and below the remains of an alpine glacier. From there you traverse a boulder field, scramble up to the pass, and follow the ridge south to the peak. It's a 14-mile round trip and usually requires 7 to 8 hours to complete the trip.

I climbed it in August 2009 on the coldest day of the summer. By the time I reached the pass and started climbing the ridge close to noon, visibility was close to 15 feet, wind speeds were up to 40 mph and temperatures dropped to near freezing. I learned my lesson; weather above 10,000 no matter what season is unpredictable. I made it up and down fine, but not without a few shivers.

During the summer months, the trail can get quite crowded. I recommend hiking in late summer/early fall to avoid the crowds. This also improves your chances of seeing mountain goats, elk and other wildlife.