Ascent of Pfeifferhorn on 1999-08-30

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Keith Stevens
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, August 30, 1999
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Elevation:11326 ft / 3452 m

Ascent Trip Report

On August 30, Keith and I did the ultimate Wasatch hike, the Beatout. We started at White Pine Trailhead at 8:00 where my Dad dropped us off, and finished at the Bells Canyon Trailhead at 7:00 where our friend Dan picked us up. The hike to Upper Red Pine Lake was uneventful, except for a deer following us. We made it to the top of the Pfeifferhorn at 11:00, and decided to keep hiking, after a brief lunch. The top of the Pfeifferhorn is the go or no-go point, where hikers must decide whether to complete the Beatout and descend Bells Canyon or just head back down Red Pine or Maybird. The conditions deteriorated throughout the day though. It was overcast, and windy, which kept us cool. We went over Unnamed 11,137, and on to Chipman Peak. The view from Chipman is great, and we continued on towards South Thunder. We were almost to the top of South Thunder when it began to rain. We took a break on the summit in a pause in the rain, and decided to head down Bells Canyon (not that any other options were really feasible). We had hoped to go along the Thunder Ridge to North Thunder, but due to the rain and threat of lightning, proceeded down Bells. Just below South Thunder, the visibility dropped to zero, and it felt like buckets of water were falling. It is the heaviest rain either of us had ever been in to that point. The water flowed everywhere, and places which had been dry less than a minute ago were streams now. To top it off, we had become separated. As soon as we realized it, we began shouting for each other and returned to the last spot we had seen each other. We reunited quickly, and began descending. Upper Bells Canyon is a unique place, filled with different gullies and ridges, which make navigation hard. We had been descending a while, when I realized we were in the canyon that runs parallel to the one with the reservoir. I insisted that we go up over the ridge to the east. We did, and found ourselves just above the reservoir. That says something about my sense of direction in the Wasatch, even in really bad conditions. We took a short break at the shore of the lake, and made our way down the trail. By now, I had become a Bells Canyon Trail expert, and found most of it. When we reached the stream crossing, we were able to hop across rocks, unlike June. When we looked downstream, there was a bridge, less than 15 feet away. Back in June, we had stayed on the east side of the stream because we couldn't find the bridge and ended up bushwhacking for over half a mile. After feeling very stupid, we made it home.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3622 ft / 1103 m
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3622 ft / 1103 m
    Route:Beatout Hike
    Start Trailhead:7704 ft / 2348 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Beatout '99

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Pfeifferhorn1999-08-30 a3622 ft / 1104 m
2Peak 111371999-08-30 b177 ft / 54 m
3Chipman Peak1999-08-30 c674 ft / 205 m
4South Thunder Mountain1999-08-30 d694 ft / 212 m
Total Trip Gain: 5167 ft / 1575 m    Total Trip Loss: 500 ft / 152 m

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