Ascent of Salt Benchmark on 2016-02-29

Climber: Dustin Erickson

Date:Monday, February 29, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Salt Benchmark
    Elevation:9997 ft / 3047 m

Ascent Trip Report

ALTERNATE ROUTE: This proved to be a great snowshoe loop that I want to let others know about. I originally was going to apporach from the west taking the Old Piney Road, but it is gated just outside of Nephi in the winter and it didnt say when it would open. So I decided the next easiest option was to approach from the north. I took HWY 132 to Rocky Ridge Canyon where there is an easy ford that my Subaru managed, though I only made it 3/4 of a mile alond the dirt road before the snow stopped me. A good freeze made waling on the snow easy, I branched off and took the north east ridge at the troughs and after a short but difficult 300 vertical foot section of faceted wind drifts I attained the forested top of the ridge wheere the rest of the route was very beautiful, great views of Nebo and the Red Cliffs on the undulating ridgeline. Of note I think if you hit the weather window right the main coulior on the Red Cliffs that can be seen from the road could make an amazing spring snow climb with over 2000 feet of vert and a very simple approach, especially once the lower road melts out. I would say late March to early April would be good as it is much lower in elevation that the higher mountaineering couliors in the Wasatch. The cliffs here are so different than anything else in the Wasatch, like Maple Canyon further south they are sedimentary cobbles, but from a distance almost look like sandstone. Very old mountain mahogany stands in a certain section of the ridge. From the summit I returned north to the saddle just south of point 9450 where I decided to turn west and decended the drainage on nice runnable snowshoe snow, very fun plunging until ~8600 feet where I traversed over underneath the cliffs to above Rocky Ridge Canyon again at point 8596. Great views this whole stretch all the way to Wheeler and Ibapah. From here I descended a narrow ridge avoiding cliffs until I meet the sunner trail and descended back to the car. Although I did this as a snowshoe there are trails available for most of this loop and minimal brash and it could be a good summer route as well. Dont take the road to the top, try this fun alternative if you live in the area, you will be surprised at its different character from the rest of the Wasatch. I was the only winter summit in the register.
Summary Total Data
Ascent Statistics
    Route:North Ridge from Rocky canyon.
Descent Statistics

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