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Lone Peak Cirque and night-hiking

July 20, 2010

July 4, 2010.  Jeremy called me on the third and invited me to come climb in the Lone Peak Cirque.  Our goal was to leave Logan in the afternoon on the Fourth of July, and be on the trail by at least 7:00 PM.  We weren’t familiar with the trail, and it was going to be 6,000 feet of elevation gain over six miles, so we felt that it was important that we had a least a few hours of light.  Unfortunately, it took us a while to get packed.  And then we had to stop at the outdoor store.  And then we had to stop at In-N-Out for burgers.  And then we had to wait for Court and Scott.

We didn’t get to the trailhead until about 10:00 PM.  A little late.

The first part of the trail is fairly average, but a few miles in the trail becomes faint and hard to follow, especially late at night.  It also gets steep. Really steep.  Like four or five steps and then rest.  We went at this excruciating, slow, and difficult pace for a few hours.  A few people in our group of six started to fall behind.

Three of us got to the camp site at about 3:00 AM.  We were exhausted and had no idea where everyone else was.  Even Bart was tired.  I sat in the tent and worried for about 45 minutes until I got a call from Jeremy.  They were close so I stood on a boulder and yelled as loud as I could.  I then noticed that there was a tent about 15 feet from where I was standing.  Oops.

We woke the next morning as sunlight poured over the Lone Peak Cirque, through our tents and down the mountain until it filled the Salt Lake Valley.  Massive granite walls surrounded us on three sides and we sipped hot chocolate and read route descriptions.

Photograph by Steph Peterson.

We decided on the ultra-classic Lowe Route.  Court and Scott left camp first and were the first on the rock.  Jeremy and Steph climbed as a team, and Ryan and I climbed together.

Steph, Jeremy, and Bart on the approach. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

To get to the base of the Lowe route we free-soloed a hundred feet of easy 5th class rock.  Ryan and I climbed last, and we had to wait to get on the route.  We were in the shade and I was cold, so I built an anchor, pulled my arms inside my shirt, and pretended that I was warm.

Me trying to be warm. Photograph by Ryan Nelson.

The first pitch of the Lowe route is a 5.8 crack on perfect alpine granite, and it is the best pitch of the route.  Ryan is not super comfortable leading on trad, so I led every pitch of this climb, which was great for me.

I neglected to put a sling on a key piece of gear and ended up having a significant amount of rope drag, so we split the middle pitch in to two pitches.  This part of the climb was easy and fun, and the higher we got, the better our view of the Salt Lake Valley was.

Me placing gear. Photograph by Ryan Nelson.

As we started the last pitch, Jeremy yelled down some beta from the top.  I remember the term ‘run-out’ being used.

The last pitch moved up and right from the belay station in a thin crack.  There were tons of face features so the climbing was easy, but after climbing 20 feet to the right, I had to traverse 20 unprotected feet back to the left.  The climbing was really easy, but the exposure and lack of protection was scary.  I took me a long time to lead the pitch but I got it clean and felt great.

Ryan topping out. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

From the top of the Lowe Route we traversed the ridge up to the summit of Lone Peak.  The traverse was fun scrambling, and the view from the top was incredible.  I could have sat there all day except that we had run out of water and my mouth tasted like glue mixed with sand.  Yuck.

Ryan on the Summit. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

Steph and Jeremy watching Court and Scott finish their climb at sunset. Photograph by Jacob Buckner.

We stayed on the summit for a while and watched Court and Scott on a route a few hundred feet below us.  I felt so content and happy to be surrounded by such extreme beauty. We spent another night on the mountain and hiked out in the morning.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 1:50 am

    Those pictures are freaking awesome. Really epic looking stuff. Its crazy how much there is to see out there in utah man. I need to get out there and do more backpacking and climbing.

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