Friday, April 1, 2011

The Timp Traverse*

Chad, first time on Timp
After such a good day yesterday I had a feeling we'd be back on Timp again today.  Buddy Chad had never been on the Sleeping Maiden so we thought a good introduction would be to try and traverse the whole mountain.  Here's the story.

A 3:50 am wake up led to a sleepy drive to pick up Chad on the way down to Utah County.  Samurai Jared and brother JD met us down there at 5:00.  We had planned on starting across from Bridal Veil Falls and ascending a couloir that would take us to the main ~ 7 mile ridge.  Dark, unfamiliar, without a place to park, and staring a nasty bushwhack in the face, we chose to start from Canyon View Park in Provo Canyon instead.  Our initial ascent would be via a west facing couloir on the very south end of the mountain.  From there we planned on hitting every bump along the ridge that got in our way and once we ran out of mountain, ski the Cold Fusion Couloir off the north end of the mountain down to American Fork Canyon.  That's why there is an asterisk on the title.  A full traverse would travel the entire ridge.  In our defense, we did start very low in Provo Canyon and nearly traversed the whole mountain.  According to Jared's GPS, it was approximately 15 miles and nearly 10,000 vertical feet.

Avoiding the big cornices was the name of the game
 We were on dirt for about 3 miles before finally switching to skis.  The conditions were firm with a stout crust making the initial skinning fast and easy.  Once the angle steepened, skinning was a liability but the crust was in most places breakable while booting.  Those are about the only conditions where ski crampons seem useful.  And...I would have killed to have some.  Jared and Jason had the nice blue Dynafit ones and skinned along the summit ridge with ease.  Chad and I ended up post holing for miles.
JD and Jared pulling away en route to the main summit
 We skied a short descent from the South Summit and made the long traverse over to the Main Summit, finding fun terrain along the way.
Butt shot - Chad

Rock step en route to main summit

Chad post holing in the other's skin track

A million steps
  Jared and Jason, able to skin, beat us to the main summit by 10 minutes or more.  I guess they got a little bored.

 Skiing down from the main summit, a few cliff bands needed to be dealt with.  JD was in the lead and found his way down a steep little rocky traverse.  Jared watched in horror and decided that it wasn't worth it.  From that situation, I take it that JD is reckless.
Down climbing JD's reckless descent

The secret passage

Chad below the main summit

Jared and Chad tempting a cornice below Bomber Peak
 I've taken pictures from the North Summit before, but, now looking along the ridge the pics have different meaning.
Chad approaching the North Summit
 It wasn't until early afternoon and nearly at the end of the traverse that the snow softened enough to allow easy skinning.
The fellas ripping skins for the last time
 Ran out of mountain...
JD and Jared, out of mountain, looking for the Cold Fusion
 Everyone wants to ski the Cold Fusion Couloir.  I'd say that this wasn't the standard approach.
Chad, finding out he took the long way to the Cold Fusion
10 hours and numerous summits/sub peaks later, we ended up skiing right down to the road in AF Canyon near the Tibble Fork turn off.  From there, JD had to hitch hike up canyon to where little sister AD was awaiting with a 2 door Accord to shuttle 4 stinky guys and gear back to our cars.  Another great adventure right here in our back yard.  Next up is a trip to the Sierra.  Any ideas?


  1. both lines on Split Mountain, south of Big Pine, in a day. Ski the steep couloir on Mt. Mendel, which has only been done a few times. Ski the Middle Wahoo Gully, the Checkered demon, and then head up the Kindergarden couloir and drop of the back of Mt. Locke to have a look at the N Couloir of Mt. Emerson, all of which are off the buttermilks road in bishop...Also, check out Chris Davenport's blog to see what kind of big days he got himself into last year.

  2. If you are in need of guidebooks I have several. Also, the Tom Harrison maps are the way to go and can be purchased at any purveyor of fine outdoor goods along the eastside.

  3. Andy Sherpa, what a great traverse with you guys. Great day!

  4. But if JD is reckless and dies how will we ever have opposing lots?!

  5. Nice work and in challenging early conditions. No ski crampons! You must really enjoy suffering. Nebo Traverse next?

  6. Nice article, thanks for the information.