Created this post for my friends over at Surface, but hey, it's my original content, so I'm going to use it here as well. I went for a nice long walk last week and here's my recap of the day adventure...
I've found myself running around the desert recently, so when my buddy Parker Cross gave me a ring to join a crew to climb Lone Peak, I thought it was a good time to get back in the saddle with my skis. Lone Peak is one of the more notorious mountains along the Wasatch Front and has a reputation for being one of the harder peaks to access. With a summit of 11,253' and all the various approaches being quite removed, there's a minimum required elevation gain of 5,500' no matter where you start your approach. We started in Alpine City at 3:00 am, at 5,700' elevation and approached Lone Peak from the south. The crew consisted of myself, Chris Coulter, Tony Pavlantos and Parker Cross behind the lens. Our first leg of the journey consisted of us trudging through the frozen, muddy foothills and working our way to a little glade called known as the 2nd Hamangog. The snow line was higher than expected and had to continue a little further to reach our first transition point. We calculated a gain of about 2,700' in elevation from the trail head before being able to swap from hike to tour mode. Not sure about the other guys, but the combo of skis, boots, skins, ice axe, crampons, harness, belay device, carabiners, webbing, shovel, probe, jacket, helmet, gloves, googles, food and water on my backpack had my pretty amped to be able to be at the transition to distribute that weight more evenly over my body. The touring at first was pretty mellow, following a BLM access road a little ways before making a left and heading up a ridge line for a more direct approach. Eventually the ridge line tapered and we dropped into a gully that looked like a fairly mellow climb. Coulter and Tony took the lead and I followed their trail. Drawing a straight line up the center seemed like the most obvious route, but it turned out to be much more grueling than expected. But with the sun rising and the end seeming deceivingly near, we powered through. After making our way through the crux and into a saddle, all that was left was a bit of a sidehill and one last mellow climb to the summit. Coulter and Tony arrived a bit earlier than myself and were concerned about the warming temps making our objective unsafe. So without our filmer in place and only a small window to be able to ride the NE couloir, we made a quick transition and decided to drop in. The line itself was a solid 2,000' vert and involved variable snow conditions, exposure, sluff management and all that sort of fun stuff. Coulter knew the line and has extensive experience in similar terrain so he dropped first and gave us some play by play beta of what to expect. I hadn't skied much in the past weeks and the haul up the mountain had my legs pretty spent only a few turns in, but I was pumped to be back in the mountains and was having a great time making my way down the couloir. The three of us linked back up at the bottom and kicked back for our first relaxing moment of the day, all pumped that we just tackled the NE couloir of Lone Peak. After a much needed break, we transitioned back into tour mode and started our ascent toward the exit saddle. As happy as I was to have just ridden the couloir, the 3,000' vertical descent back toward the valley was a highlight. The snow wasn't quite a spring corn or a hot pow, but it was super surfy and perfect for the ride out. We cruised down a ways, linked back up with Parker, took one last break to enjoy our surroundings and the top notch view, then headed back to our last transition point. The home stretch was brutal, but we eventually made it back to the cars and were all smiles. After a 2 am wake up, 10 hour adventure, big exposed riding and 13,000' + of traveled elevation, I'd say it was a pretty good day.
Photos by: Chris Coulter, Parker Cross, Blake Nyman
Alpine City mid way up the approach.
Coulter and Tony working their way into the belly.
Entrance to the NE couloir.
Coulter and Tony post NE couloir.
Lunch break on our way back to the valley.
Summertime view of Lone Peak from the Salt Lake Valley.
3 days ago