Utah 2020-2021 Utah Resorts, Weather, Conditions and Stoke

Jim Kenney

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Crazy windstorm the other day in Salt Lake Valley:
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Poor Dino.
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What a mess.
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Shawn C.

Getting off the lift
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The wind storm was crazy! Anyone lose any trees or suffer any property damage? My house in Ogden had a few shingles missing and we lost some large limbs off of trees. Luckily, nothing serious.

I wouldn't mind seeing the basic outline of a COVID-19 plan from Powder Mountain sometime soon.
 

Daniel

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Saturday I paid Snowbird and nearby terrain a visit, summiting Red Stack/Red Top, American Fork West Twin Peak, American Fork East Twin Peak, American Fork South "Twin Peak" (yes, there are actually 3 summits but only the 2 highest can be seen from most of LCC), and Hidden Peak. I started my hike about 1/4 mile down canyon from the White Pine car park, where I left my vehicle along the canyon road. My route went as follows: LCC roadside to White Pine trailhead, White Pine Access Trail to Snowbird Creekside, Dick Bass Highway to Gad 2 Access Road to Gad 2 upper lift shack. From there I went off-trail, roughly following the Red Lens Line to a very rugged scramble up one of the steeper Temptation Chutes. Once on the ridge, I followed Snowbird's boundary past the Gad 2 Touring Gate (which accesses White Pine Canyon/patrol has left most of the gate setup equipment stored on the ridge), then past Birthday Chutes, and continuously gained elevation until reaching the summit of Red Stack/Red Top. After a fairly short break and some photography, I followed the ridge up to American Fork West Twin Peak (the third highest peak in the Wasatch at 11,489'). After a food and fluid break I downclimbed a ways into Pipeline (to just beyond where patrol stores wooden posts, fencing, bamboo and rope all combined into one large bundle and hanging/suspended from a vertical rock wall from anchors drilled into it for this purpose) for photos and views. I retraced my steps out of the chute and headed for American Fork East Twin Peak (11,433'), then a quick trip over to American Fork South Twin Peak (11,391') and back. After taking a few photos, I headed down the long knife-edge ridge which terminates not far from and just a small ways below the summit of Hidden Peak. After taking a break on the deck, I took a tram ride down and followed Creek Road back to Creekside and retraced my earlier steps back to my car. Photos from my hike follow.

White Pine Canyon and Lake from Red Stack. Prominent peaks seen include Red Baldy, White Baldy, Pfeifferhorn, Chipman Peak, and Lone Peak.
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Salt Lake Valley and Oquirrh Mountains from Red Stack, with exported air pollution from California bearing down on Utah in the distant sky. Salt Lake/Broads Fork Twin Peaks on the far right.

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American Fork West Twin Peak from Red Stack. Hidden Peak can be partially seen just to the left of AFWTP.

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In this photo one can see the upper lift station of Gad 2, the lower lift station of Little Cloud, and the upper lift station of Gadzoom. Taken from the saddle between Red Stack and American Fork West Twin Peak. Mt. Superior and Monte Christo seen looming above LCC road.

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Hidden Peak from summit of American Fork West Twin Peak. Z-shaped trails are designated for mountain biking. Faint straight trail is for hiking.

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Cottonwood Ridge, which separates LCC from BCC.

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Looking down Pipeline.

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Looking down the knife-edge ridge to Hidden Peak from American Fork East Twin Peak, the left side bordered by Road to Provo and the right side bordered by Path to Paradise.

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Mineral Basin, as seen from American Fork East Twin Peak.

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Mineral Basin, as seen from knife-edge ridge connecting American Fork East Twin Peak to just below Hidden Peak.

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American Fork Twin Peaks, as seen from Hidden Peak. Pipeline in shadows is difficult to distinguish.

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Jim Kenney

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Awesome post @Daniel You covered a lot of difficult ground/vertical on your hike.
Some of that terrain looks so forbidding without a smooth blanket of snow! Pipeline is nuts!
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RJS

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Great photos and trip report @Daniel! It's really neat seeing what Snowbird looks like in the summer when I've only seen it in the winter. Last year a family member got me a photography book about the Wasatch by photographer Howie Garber, and the images are absolutely stunning. It definitely makes me want to explore the Wasatch in summer at some point.
 

Daniel

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Thanks to @Jim Kenney, @RJS, and @blackke17 for the feedback and complements. Lots of rugged terrain on this hike but that's true for many hikes and climbs in the Wasatch. Thank goodness we average such a deep snowpack; otherwise, there would be a lot less skiable terrain, given the enormous amount of rock all over the place. We need, and usually receive, adequate snowfall to bury the majority of the hazards that end up lurking below. There are many, many trails in the Wasatch to explore the backcountry from but it takes an undertaking like this one to get away from all the people on a beautiful Saturday in September. My wife and I climbed Hidden Peak from Snowbird Entry 2/Gad Valley five days earlier (Labor Day) and the wind was howling at the summit, so much so that the tram was not running. This was about 15 hours before the many-hours-long violent storm struck the Wasatch Front with hurricane-force, downslope winds. We only lingered very briefly at the summit before hiking down to the Peruvian Chair and boarded it for a very slow-speed ride back down to the base area. Here's a few more photos from the hike.

Silver Lake Flat Reservoir with Mt. Timpanogos directly behind it. The glacier on Timp. is quite obvious and the true summit is to the looker's right of it. Taken from the saddle between West and East American Fork Twins with the South summit to the left in the foreground. On a clearer day some of the terrain at Sundance Ski Area should be visible from this vantage point.

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Looking down into the Baldy's Bowl area from American Fork West Twin Peak.

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Another look down Pipeline from a slightly different location.

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Daniel

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Yesterday I spent many hours above 10,000' in the terrain between BCC and LCC, including on the summits of Mt. Superior and Monte Cristo. I began my adventure along the roadside in BCC, parking my vehicle at the trailhead for Mineral Fork. I hiked the old mining road all the way up to what remains of the Regulator Johnson mine. I then scrambled up a steep chute very near to the entrance of what backcountry skiers and snowboarders call "The Room of Doom" (Upper Mineral Fork) to the ridgeline between Mineral Fork and Mill B South Fork and followed it southeast to its terminus. There I continued south on the ridgeline between Mill B South Fork and Cardiff Fork, passing through Cardiac Pass, until arriving on the summit of Mt. Superior. I snapped some photos of Snowbird and Alta and the surrounding terrain while there before continuing on to Monte Cristo and beyond.

Peruvian Gulch: Lots to identify, including the Tram, swimming pool on the roof of the Cliff Lodge, the Cirque, the View, the former helipad for Wasatch Powderbirds, Baldy, Sugarloaf, Devil's Castle, etc.

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Gad Valley: American Fork Twin Peaks, Red Stack, Hidden Peak, Mid-Gad restaurant, Pipeline Bowl, Baldy's Bowl, etc.

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Collins Gulch: Ballroom, Goldminer's Daughter, Watson Shelter, Rustler, Germania Pass, etc.

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Albion Basin: Point Supreme, Grizzly Gulch, East Castle, Albion Base, Catherine's, summer road, etc.

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Wasatchman

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I snapped some photos of Snowbird and Alta and the surrounding terrain while there before continuing on to Monte Cristo and beyond.
Monte Cristo and beyond?!? Summiting Monte Cristo is strenuous enough. Where did you go beyond Monte Cristo? How much further? You are an animal. Edit: you're probably in good enough shape that you can do the beatout
 

Daniel

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Superior's summit was occupied by 3 other hikers that came up the traditional route when I arrived so I headed over to Monte Cristo to eat lunch and scan the terrain in all directions with my binoculars while taking a break. Here's a photo of MC (82' higher than Superior) from Superior's summit:

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I had the summit to myself the entire time and, when I departed, I hiked down the western slope toward the next (unnamed peak) along Cottonwood Ridge. When I reached the saddle between MC and the unnamed peak, I carefully down climbed into the very upper reaches of Mill B South Fork. I then had a lot of boulder hopping to do while heading roughly north until I intersected the ridge running from Cottonwood Ridge to Sundial Peak. I climbed up the west side of said ridge (which is one way to the summit of Sundial) then down the east side, crossed the drainage southeast of Lake Blanche, then climbed up the ridge to near the entrance to the Room of Doom and descended into Mineral Fork. Here's an image of the ridge I crossed over, Sundial from a different perspective than normally seen, and some of Lake Blanche in the distance:

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Once back at the Regulator Johnson mine site, I retraced my steps back to BCC road. I'm quite confident I can do the beatout (I've done virtually all of the route at one time or another in the past, just not in one go), but the section heading down to Bell's Canyon Upper Reservoir has a fun factor well below zero (or at least it used to/I've heard the route has been "cleaned up" some a few years ago/when I did it the terrain was full of a tremendous amount of avi debris and rockfall). Doing the WURL (https://fastestknowntime.com/route/wasatch-ultimate-ridge-linkup-ut) in one go is another story. Those guys and gals are the real animals.
 

Jim Kenney

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Amazing stuff Daniel! I like this shot of Superior. My son's been up there for skiing, but I have not. So Monte Cristo is up-canyon from Superior?
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Nice non-snow view of some of the key terrain of Snowbird!
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Daniel

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Amazing stuff Daniel! I like this shot of Superior. My son's been up there for skiing, but I have not. So Monte Cristo is up-canyon from Superior?
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Nice non-snow view of some of the key terrain of Snowbird!
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Jim,
The first photo referenced in your response is actually of Monte Cristo and the photo was taken from the summit of Mt. Superior. That's the Oquirrh Mountain range in the background so Superior is up canyon from Monte Cristo. Check out photo #4 from post #5 of this thread. Mt. Superior is the first high point to the left of the obvious low spot (Cardiff Pass) on Cottonwood Ridge. The terrain to the right of Cardiff Pass is dominated by off-white-colored rock faces and the terrain to the left of the pass is almost entirely covered in brown rock. The route the great majority of people take to the summits of Superior and on to Monte Cristo starts near Our Lady of the Snows Center and climbs up to Cardiff Pass. Then one hikes and scrambles more or less along the ridgeline to the peaks. Monte Cristo is the two-headed peak immediately to the left of Superior in said photo.
 

Daniel

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Daniel, you have inspired me. We will have to visit Snowbird next summer and hike snowbird. It is on the bucket list.
Gary,
Both the tram and the Peruvian chair operate during the summer and into the fall. If you enjoy hiking uphill, either lift offers free transport back down to the base area. There are a variety of routes to hike up (or down) and the Ridge Trail (along the ridge separating Gad Valley from Peruvian Gulch) is particularly scenic in terms of continuous views of Snowbird's terrain, LCC, and beyond. If you'd rather hike downhill, a fee is charged to ride up the lifts. A lift ride can also quickly move you to higher elevation so that you can explore further afield from Hidden Peak and the Basshole. When the weather is fine, which is most of the time, Hidden Peak is a very pleasant place to relax, soak in some sun, and enjoy the surroundings.
 

Gary Stolt

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Thanks Daniel. Good info. There is too much going on to get to SLC before winter but it's something to look forward to next summer/fall. We ski LCC and BCC every year and it would be nice to see what is under the snowpack.
 

Daniel

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This past Friday I set out to circumnavigate Alta Ski Area on foot. I started my trek next to the Goldminers Daughter and headed up Collins Gulch on the maintenance road. I soon left the road and hiked off trail uphill directly toward the resort's artillery bunker. Once there I followed the ridge to the upper lift station of the Wildcat chair and continued uphill, following Mt. Baldy's shoulder on a rough trail to the summit. I then descended Baldy on the trail leading to Sugarloaf Pass, continued through the pass, and climbed to the summit of Sugarloaf Mtn. After descending to the saddle on Sugarloaf's east side, I climbed the ridge leading to Devils Castle's three summits. After spending some time on each of them, my route then took me along the ridge above the ski terrain of East Castle all the way to the patrol shack at the upper lift station of the Supreme chair. I then crossed over Point Supreme and descended to Catherine Pass. There I decided to shorten my planned route, which would have climbed up to the summit of Mt. Wolverine, followed the ridge above the Patsy Marley ski terrain to Grizzly Gulch, and a descent to LCC road. Too many miles ridden on my bikes and too many ice skating sessions during the preceding week convinced my legs to hike down the Catherine Pass Trail to the Albion Base area and onward past Snowpine, Rustler, and Alta Lodges to my car at Goldminers. I snapped many photos along the way. Here are some of them:

Pfeifferhorn from Baldy's shoulder:

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Hidden Peak, etc. from Baldy's summit:

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Mineral Basin from Baldy's summit:

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Sugarloaf Pass and upper Albion Basin from Baldy's summit:

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Snowbird's red tram car descending from Hidden Peak:

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Alta's artillery bunker in center of this photo taken of upper Collins Gulch during descent from Mt. Baldy:

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Two of the four avalanche control towers located above the terrain between Germania Pass and Sugarloaf Pass on Mt. Baldy's east face:

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Cecret Lake/Upper Albion Basin from Sugarloaf's summit:

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Mt. Baldy and Sugarloaf Pass from Sugarloaf's summit:

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Approaching Devils Castle's westernmost summit:

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Devils Castle's middle and easternmost summits from the westernmost summit:

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Numerous homes situated in the lightly forested area of upper Albion Basin:

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Looking back at the westernmost summit from the middle summit of Devils Castle. Sugarloaf Mtn. and Mt. Baldy are further in the background. Mailbox at the bottom of photo contains the summit register.

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Westernmost and middle summits from Devils Castle's easternmost summit:

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Looking back at Devils Castle's easternmost summit after descending to the ridge above East Castle ski terrain:

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Another look at Devils Castle's summit from further out on the ridge;

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East Castle, Devils Castle, Sugarloaf Mtn., and Mt. Baldy from the upper lift station of the Supreme chair:

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blackke17

I'd rather be at Alta
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really amazing photos and tremendous descriptions. made me feel like i was up there with you. ( without me buckled over gasping for breath!)

very nice man. i love it up there .
 
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