Ascent of Deseret Peak on 2017-05-31

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Deseret Peak
    Elevation:11031 ft / 3362 m

Ascent Trip Report

I knew this was going to be an early season climb with spring conditions, but I wasn't sure exactly what to expect as far as snow. I had climbed Moriah and Ibapah just a few days prior and found insufficient snow on either of those to justify skiing. I could see there was quite a bit of snow on Deseret from the valley below and that the twin couloirs were still full. However, I finally decided to not ski it and boot it instead so as to not hoof skis up to discover conditions were no good.

The forest was completely melted out at the campground all the way up to the junction. With all the snowmelt the creek was high and I had to cross on logs a bit upstream. This resulted in me missing the junction and heading up the Pockets Fork Trail unknowingly. I figured that the Mill Fork Trail would be better since it stayed lower and I didn't want to risk having to traverse across crusty snow slopes on the north ridge. As soon as I was going the wrong way I doubled back and found what I thought was the correct boot path in the snow. A few minutes later I discovered I was on the Pockets Fork Trail again, ugh.

I finally found the Mill Fork Trail, but by about 8000 feet it was completely covered in snow. It appears that the Mill Fork drainage keeps a lot of snow late into the season. It was completely full. The previous day has been quite warm, and so was today. So, the snow did not freeze overnight. I was able to follow a boot path for a little way, but I either lost it or it ended. I basically had to break trail through wet slushy snow all the way up to the saddle at the top of the drainage.

From the saddle, the ridge ascends to a false peak just east of the couloirs. That was also completely covered in snow, and since it is east facing it was even softer than what I encountered climbing up the drainage. From the false peak, the entire south facing slope of Desert was melted out save for a few small snow patches. It would not have been possible to ski from the summit. It also appeared that the north ridge was mostly melted out as well. The Pocket Forks Trail might actually be a better route for avoiding snow in late spring. However, I chose to descend the route I came up since I knew exactly what I would encounter.

I didn't regret skipping the skis. The skiing would have been mediocre in all the wet slushy snow. However, I was able to glissade about a combined 1000 feet, which was a lot of fun. The descent through the Mill Fork drainage was great, and I was able to enjoy the scenery.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3694 ft / 1125 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3694 ft / 1125 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3694 ft / 1125 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Route:Mill Fork Trail
    Start Trailhead:Loop Campground  7337 ft / 2236 m
    Time:2 Hours 14 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3694 ft / 1125 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Mill Fork Trail
    End Trailhead:Loop Campground  7337 ft / 2236 m
    Time:1 Hours 8 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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