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Monday, April 26, 2010

WURLOS: The Mountains

Well, Bart, Andy, and I more or less completed the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup On Skis (the "WURLOS"). For many reasons, the WURLOS didn't follow the path of the WURL as established by Jared Campbell, but there was a ridge linkup, it was in the Wasatch, in my mind it was "Ultimate," and I'm not aware of anyone who has completed a similar project, so, in keeping with and in honor of Jared C's label, I'm going to continue to call our path the "WURLOS." I'll dedicate this post to the mountains of the WURLOS, since it is the beauty and spirit of these mountains that fueled this project, and in the event others might want some beta about our path. Perhaps, in the future, I'll make some other WURLOS-related posts, like, what you think about during 21.5 hour tour, or why I dry heave when I see GU, or essential WURLOS equipment (or lack thereof), or how to cure to being afraid of vertical exposure, or how about, Making Sense of the Senseless? For now, the mountains . . . . Here is the route.

From WURLOS 2010

The primary objective of the WURLOS was to climb and ski many of the 11k+ peaks on the ridge splitting Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, and on the ridge splitting Little Cottonwood Canyon and American Fork Canyon. The WURLOS route began at the "S Curves" in Big Cottonwood Canyon at about 6500 feet and climbed up Broads Fork. The Salt Lake Twin Peaks sit at the head of Broads Fork, and from there it was game on. Here are the peaks the WURLOS tags and skis:

1. SL Twin Peaks
2. Jepsen's Folly
3. O'Sullivan (Sunrise)
4. Dromedary
5. Monte Cristo
6. Superior
7. Baldy
8. Hidden Peak
9. AF Twin Peaks
10. Red Stack
11. Red Baldy
12. White Baldy
13. Pfeifferhorn
14. Chipman
** 15. Bighorn
** 16. Lone Peak

** We didn't tag or ski Bighorn or Lone Peak, but it can be done.

Here is a shot of the Big Cottonwood side (north facing) of Cottonwood Ridge, and the path we took.

From WURLOS 2010

From Twin to Superior is about 5 miles, but it is over some pretty rugged terrain. Here is a shot of the peaks that comprise what some call the "Triple Traverse" -- Twin, O'Sullivan, and Drom.

From WURLOS 2010

The descent of O'Sullivan's east ridge is a steep side slip.

From WURLOS 2010

To ascend Monte Cristo, we traversed into this cirque. I'm not sure if it has a name. Anyone?

From WURLOS 2010

And then ascended the Heart of Darkness. The Heart was filled with nice bootable snow. And at the top was a small little scramble to the top. No rope was needed to ascend.

From WURLOS 2010

A view of Monte Cristo from the North.

From WURLOS 2010

And then to Superior. It's hard to pass up the south face of Superior if you have skis, and it is a fast and direct way off the Cottonwood Ridge. Here is a shot of Superior's south face and an approximation of the line of our descent. We descended at about 1 pm in the afternoon. The conditions weren't ideal, but they were acceptable so long as we skied fast.

From WURLOS 2010

Here is a shot of the Cottonwood Ridge from the Little Cottonwood Canyon (south) side.

From WURLOS 2010

Superior's south facing apron practically dumps you into Snowbird. Having had issues with Alta, i.e., its intolerance for uphill traffic, we did not incorporate Devil's Castle or Sugarloaf. Instead, we began our ascent from Snowbird's tram dock, ascending up Chips Run to Baldy.

From WURLOS 2010

The east ridge leading up to the Twins is an aesthetic line.

From WURLOS 2010

From the AF Twins, the WURLOS tags and skis Red Stack, Red Baldy, White Baldy.

From WURLOS 2010

A close up of Red and White Baldy, along with our route for the day. Luckily, we were ascending in the evening, and the snow was hard, perfect for booting.

From WURLOS 2010

The Pfeif was in our sights before it got dark. By the time we got there, however, it was dark. We ascended by the light of the moon and LED.

From WURLOS 2010

And since the Pfeif is one of the icons of the Wasatch, a picture of the east ridge.

From WURLOS 2010

Here is a shot of the peaks and drainages west of the Pfeif.

From WURLOS 2010

And a shot looking at the Pfeif from Hogum Fork.

From WURLOS 2010

Getting out of Hogum Fork is always tricky. I like going up the north facing snow field, but it is also possible to go up the ridge (recommended if the snow isn't stable).

From WURLOS 2010

At the top of Hogum, Chipman awaits.

From WURLOS 2010

And from there, Big Horn and Lone Peak are within reach. Unfortunately, as we reached the "X" depicted below, we were exhausted, we lost all visibility, we were sketched out about ascending and descending Big Horn, and it was past midnight. So, we skied out Bells Canyon to our waiting car.

From WURLOS 2010

Looking down on Big Horn from the northwest.

From WURLOS 2010

The elusive but ever-inspiring Lone Peak. Maybe next year.

From WURLOS 2010

8 comments:

dug said...

jeezus you guys are manly men.

Luke said...

way to get it done, that is the real deal for sure!

MFT said...

EXCELLENT! It is so cool to see that traverse inspire some other people. And hold their attention long enough to give it their all. And now, see you on the road ...

Stan said...

Wow - very impressive guys! I've spent 16 hrs going from Alta to Lone (winter) and Superior to Twins (summer) and can't imagine covering that all in a day on skis. Didn't think it could be done :)

Jared said...

Thanks guys. MFT, thanks for the inspiration.

Is that Stan R. or Stan L.?

Stan said...

Neither - Stan P.

alphasteve said...

Epic doesn't begin to describe.

Dane said...

Great inspiration, thanks!