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Ascent of Deseret Peak on 2015-01-23

Climber: Alex Lennon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, January 23, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Deseret Peak
    Location:USA-Utah
    Elevation:11031 ft / 3362 m

Ascent Trip Report

Since Little Cottonwood hasn't had much in the way of snow lately, I decided to take a day off skiing and make the trip over to Deseret Peak. Woke up at 5am and I parked at the Forest Service boundary and hiked in the 4 miles to the trailhead, much of the way still in the dark. From the trailhead, the first couple of miles was quite the slog. After about a mile of aspen forest, I eventually came into a meadow where I could at last get my bearings. Initially I was looking for the South Willow Creek trail, but after the stream crossing I never saw a junction as it was buried under snow. So instead, I found myself at the base of the Twin Couloirs.

The weather was ideal, probably 30 at the base and the summit forecast had said 19 with light to moderate winds. I was very glad to have snowshoes, as the snow was fairly deep but had all stabilized nicely. Avalanche danger was low. I chose to ascend the West Twin Couloir, which is fairly wide and has a nice manageable pitch of 36 degrees. By the time I was halfway up the couloir, it was already 11:30 and I thought I was moving at too slow a pace. I resolved to climb to the top of the couloir, get my bearings, eat lunch, and do a time check.

By the time I got up there it was pushing 12:30, so I ate quickly and made the call to keep pushing for the summit. Ordinarily for a snow climb I try to turn around by 11:30 or noon, but conditions were stable and I had a feeling the summit was just around the corner from here. Fortunately the pitch eased off a bit, and at points on the ridge I even found signs of the class 1 trail buried under the snow. From the top of the couloir, it only took me 15-20 minutes to gain the summit. The vista up there was expansive- Great Salt Lake to the north, some Great Basin ranges to the west and south, and the Wasatch and Oquirrh ranges loom large to the east. About as beautiful as summit days come- blue skies, swirling clouds, and the city smog wasn't too noticeable. I wished I had skis with me for the descent, but managed just fine without them. Deseret was a fabulous peak that I would definitely climb again- I imagine it's a blast in the summer. As winter ascents go, it was a worthy and ambitious goal. I'm proud to have attempted it successfully.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
On the summit of Deseret Peak, January 2015 (2015-01-23). Photo by Alex Lennon.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4300 ft / 1310 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3 snow
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Snowshoes
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4300 ft / 1310 m
    Route:Twin Couloirs
    Start Trailhead:6731 ft / 2051 m
    Time:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes



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