July 21, 2012

Alta Rim

The cool and sharp limestone feels rough on my hands. My shoes although prematurely wearing out seem to still hold a grip on the black rock as I descend off the airy second summit of Devil's Castle. I have been in California for a while with my family. Coming off a beach lifestyle the exposure on the route seems significant as I work my way down the knife ridge as swiftly as my sea legs allow. I have just visited with a nice guy named LJ while he was standing on the first summit, and I a few hundred feet away on the second summit. He and his partner (whose name I didn't catch) had bigger plans than did I this morning as they intended on reaching the Pfiefferhorn sometime today. I hope it went well for them!  I gaze back now from the east ridge of Devil's and I can see them descending off to head west to the bigger peaks of the range. Behind these two gentlemen I see where my morning began and can view Sugarloaf Peak and then Baldy's Summit both of which I reached prior to my moving across the ridge and black summits of Devil's Castle. The air has warmed now as compared to the dark 530 AM start at the Goldminer's lot this morning.  I would ultimately run from the castle over to Catherine's pass and loop back to my car. To run in these mountains and on these ridges is ever so special and I consider myself blessed to be able to experience them in their beauty while still being home in time to wake up my kids for breakfast.

First Summit of Devil's Castle -Photo Courtesy LJ

LJ and Partner On First Devil's Summit- Photo taken from Second Summit (South East Summit)
LJ and Partner Among the Beauty and Exposure

Looking Back Nearing Catherine's Pass

July 8, 2012

Bells Rim Traverse- July 7,2012

The fires near Box Elder seemed to be much better contained and the recent rain in the hills tempered the smoke making a morning in the mountains possible. This morning the weather was remotely cool, no wind and the brightest stars were happy to reveal themselves. I met Jared around 545 AM and we drove to Big Willow Trail head and began our journey with a mellow trot into our corner of Heaven.  The agenda was an exciting one for us as we planned to summit via a traverse each of the peaks that make up the surrounding walls of Bells Canyon.  The brush was wet from the rain a day or so ago as we moved up near Big Willow Cirque.

 The walls of the cirque welcomed us silently as we chose a unique line of ascent veering our direction to the "notch".  We moved up the notch and then gained the north ridge which led us to the foot of Lone Peak.  There we ran into some of the great white ghosts of the Wasatch. We scrambled our way to the top of Lone reaching the summit in 2 hours and 16 minutes.  We cruised over to the South Summit of Lone and peered over to the Question Mark.
Jared & The Notch
The North Ridge

Ghosts of the Wasatch

Nearing Lone's Summit

After a quick snack we then aimed our sights on Big Horn and after some time filled with really fun alpine scrambling including a couple 5.0 moves we were on top of this less visited peak.  South Thunder was the next one to reach so we scrambled down the east ridge of Big Horn and while enjoying the spectacular views of Lone Peak's east face and the NE couloir along with the high alpine flowers shining around us, we motored up the granite and reached the top of South Thunder. This summit is spectacular, remote, lonely and commands incredible relief down into Hogum.
South Lone Summit and the Big Horn

Looking Back at a Distancing Lone Peak (From Big Horn)

Big Horn Traverse

Coming off Big Horn

Upper Bells
Lone Peak from South Thunder

South Thunder Summit

It was fun to eye our favorite ski lines which tried desperately to cling to any remaining snow.  Incredibly dry and hot year we are having. The fun and one of the cruxes of the objective now lay out before our eyes in a northerly direction leading to North Thunder. The ridge is sharp and was sure to provide some excellent exposure and fun scrambling. We set out running what we could and then began the fun technical ridge. It was highly enjoyable and our minds filled with memories of the past and plans for the future as we reached the final peak and North Thunder's airy summit with an elapsed time of 4 hours and 50 minutes.
The Road to North Thunder

Along the Ridge

After chomping down some calories we quickly made haste down the west face of North Thunder and began a nasty descent which included mosquitos and serious bushwacking that drew blood all the way to the bottom meadows.  We missed our skis. The exit from there was straight forward with the Bells Canyon trail dotted with others enjoying a summer day in the hills. I'm so grateful for great friends and these wonderful mountains that allow us such amazing experiences.

July 1, 2012

Dead Snag

My boy and I enjoyed some excellent rock together last Saturday. He is doing so well and seems to love it.  Halfway up pitch one I asked him where his helmet was, and he sheepishly looked at me and said "at the bottom." He knows better and so do I.

Top of Pitch 1

Pitch 2

Pitch 3


Pitch 3

The Route