Friday, April 29, 2011

Highway Lines: Big Horn and Lone Peak

Went down to the County today with Zak and Adam and met up with JD for a mellow run up two more highly visible highway lines.  The South Faces of Bighorn Peak and Lone Peak can be seen from anywhere in Utah Valley, including my parents back deck.  

Photo lifted from (I'll remove it if you'd like)
Back in 1999, I had my first winter "mountaineering" experience trying to "climb" Lone Peak.  With two friends, we ended up on the shoulder of Bighorn after a cold night crammed in a snow cave.  We decided we didn't know what the hell we were doing and post holed home.  

Older and wiser, we were able to hike up from Alpine and tag both summits easily in a half day.  Skis, experience, and going light have made the mountains smaller

Heading for Lone, we "spur of the moment" decided to tag Bighorn since none of us had ever stood on top..  

Adam skiing the crust

Big Horn
Once down from Big Horn, we traversed under it's rocky southwestern aspect and headed over to the notch between the South Summit and Question Mark Wall.  We had intentions of skiing Pete's Staircase down into the cirque if it was filled in.  The ramp looked doable but the standard summer rap wasn't filled in enough to warrant the effort.  Looking back, I wish we'd done it as the cirque is an impressive place in the summer, let alone in winter conditions. 
Blow this kick turn and...DEAD! Jason skinning above the South Summit Wall.

Pete's Staircase below Question Mark Wall

JD ripping skins

While waiting for the other guys to tag the South Summit, we looked over and decided we should probably ski above Question Mark Wall because we thought the pictures would look cool.  I went first while Jason took pics and then we switched places.  

It's not really long enough to make more than a couple turns and it was much scarier for the person watching than actually doing it as the cliff isn't apparent on skis.

Zoom in.  JD skiing above the Lowe Route
After the photo shoot, we had some lunch on the South Summit and debated the descent.   A couple of us had skied the NE Couloir before and while the rest had the desire, we all decided to just take the rolling line labeled Heaven's Halfpipe in the first picture.  The steep stuff can wait, especially with all the tragic accidents of late.  The crust had softened nicely and we all made ridiculously tight 1980s turns while trying not to run into each other.
1980's group ski with tight turns for all
I have a couple more ideas for Lone Peak if it ever stops snowing....


  1. I must say I am jealous of the adventures you guys are having this year, I'm stuck inside up here in the rainy pacific north wet doing physics and cad models 5 days a week for school and working with only one day a week to play. Some day maybe I'll make it back to SLC to join in... just curious what you meant by "tragic accidents of late"? I'm out of the loop...

  2. Hey Kirk,

    Too much work is bad for you. Let us know when you're in SLC and we'll get out for some fun.

    Regarding the accidents, a lot of very experienced people have been seriously injured or worse when caught in slides or taking falls climbing. Kip Garre and his girlfriend suffered a fatal slide in the Split Couloir, Nick DeVore broke his femur in the Elk Mtns, a couple guys were killed in Garnet Canyon by a huge slide, and Erhard Loretan just died in the Alps while climbing. Check out TetonAT or Wildsnow for more. Seriously sad stuff...

  3. Wow, those little lines off Bighorn are all filled in.

  4. Yeah I saw most of those reports after I was on here, super sad, condolences to all the loved ones. On that note, I think its squamish tomorrow instead of skis, danger is spiking with lots of warming....