Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mt. Timpanogos Main Summit and South Summit


My dad and I continue to train for our Grand Teton climb later this month.  Mt. Timpanogos is a great training hike because it gains significant elevation, it's a long day, and requires a minor amount of scrambling.  However, my dad could only hike it on a Saturday, much to my dismay.

So at 6 am Saturday morning we arrived to a full parking lot at the Aspen Grove trailhead and began our long hike. We didn't go more than 60 seconds the entire day without seeing another group of hikers.  In fact, for most of the hike we were in a line of about 20 people heading up the trail.  There was a continuous line of hikers coming down the entire day as well.  For some unknown reason, a very irrational tradition has taken hold amongst Provo kids to hike Mt. Timpanogos at night so you can see the sunrise.  They typically leave at midnight or 1 am (without sleeping) and hike in the dark to the summit.  Then they hike down like withdrawn zombies to their car, not enjoying any of the scenery they missed while hiking up in the dark because all they want to do is sleep.  This makes no sense!  The sunrise isn't even spectacular up there, it's pretty standard.  The sun slowly rises over the hills to the east and then you hike down, thoroughly unimpressed.  Several other mountains are popular to hike in the Wasatch, such as Nebo, Pheifferhorn, Olympus, and Lone Peak.  I have never heard or seen anyone hiking up any of those to see the sunrise. I will admit, 6 years ago (while living in Provo), I fell for this trick, and I learned my lesson.  Cut the crap people, hike during the day.

While I'm ranting...uphill hikers have the right-of-way. Plain and simple. If an uphill hiker chooses to rest, that's fine.  "Trail runners" who come charging down the trail don't have the right of way.

Also, don't cut off the switchbacks.  It creates unnatural drainages and erodes the mountainside.  Not to mention, it creates a maze of trails and it confuses hikers when the cut-off look more prominent than the actual trail.

Rant over.

Despite the crowds, my dad and I had a great time on Mt. Timpanogos.  The weather was nice and relatively cool.  We followed the standard route from Aspen Grove, up and past Emerald Lake, across the boulder field, up to the saddle and up the north ridge to summit.  Once at the crowded summit, I ran over to the South Summit while my dad took a rest and ate some snacks.  The South Summit was the last remaining 11,000 + ft. peak in the Wasatch that I hadn't been to. I followed the ridge down to the major saddle between the two summits and quickly scrambled up the South Summit. I was the only person on the peak. 22 of 22 11,000 ft. peaks in the Wasatch complete.  It was a nice contrast to the crowds my dad and I had been negotiating all day.  I quickly ran back over to the main summit to meet my dad and we headed back down.  It took us 5 hours to get up and 3 hours to get down. 14 miles round trip, ~5,000 ft elevation gain.  Not bad for my 61-year old pop.        

Waterfall along Aspen Grove Trail 
View up Primose Cirque towards Mt. Timpanogos (South Summit is the prominent peak just left of center, Roberts Horn on the right, main summit is hiding)
Looking North towards the heart of the Wasatch
Looking down on Emerald Lake from the main summit
Looking down the "glacier" of Mt. Timpanogos from the South Summit.  The main summit is on the left.  
My dad and I on Timp
Hiking down