August 11, 2013

Red Bird Traverse

From AF Twins West
Yesterday morning I traversed from Red Pine to Snowbird. I'll call it the "Red Bird" traverse in place of other random names I have heard. My camera has been a problem of late. On my second to last summit of the morning, the screen flashed "format disc." I had lost all my pictures from the morning along with my wonderful West Slabs trip this week with Wes "Bane" Murry. I was heartbroken and angry. 

Anyhow, I left my car alone at 5:32 AM alone in a crisp darkness. I could see my breathe as I crossed the first little bridge on the White/Red Pine trail. I passed a young man who had a big pack and heading to White Pine. His headlamp faded as I entered the Red Pine trail. My stomach was giving me fits as I worked up to Red Pine Lake and then onto the Pfieferhorn-White Baldy ridgeline. I was feeling depleted from stomach problems and wondered what I should do.  Nearing the ridge a beautiful little pika stood a couple feet from me, posing with a deep blue and orange sky behind. I took the picture and sadly lost it at the end of my trip. It would have been one of my best. I decided to head for the challenging and fun ridge of White Baldy.

I moved as smoothly as I could along the White Baldy ridge, covering the technical exposed scramble along the flat section and then on up to the steeper sections. Each move on the elegant granite was accompanied by southerly wind, which added to the effect of one of the more techy sections of ridgeline in the Wasatch. It's a fun ridge with jutting pillars that cantelever over the ridge. Arriving on top the sun was burning through rain clouds as I looked to the east at my next destination. I forget how slow going the reconaisance of White Baldy can as both the west and east ridges require some fun climbing moves and concentration.

Staying on the ridge and moving up the west side of Red Baldy the stark contrast from granite to quartzite is amazing. In one step the rock completely changes. From on top of Red Baldy the ridge in my opinion becomes even sharper, more exposed and exhiliarating. Both the Little Cottonwood and AF sides were beautiful in the unique lit morning. The sharp quartzite can be both suspect and solid at the same time. It is my favorite part of the traverse.

With the wind still accompanying every step, I moved down the exposed ridge and then on up to the top of Red Stack Peak. No rain, just a cool wind and even better, no people. I had tried to stay on the true ridge during the entire traverse and in all but a couple small spots was able to do it.

I then reached the top of AF Twins West and then AF East in 3 hrs 43 mins. I moved on down and out Snowbird and then to the White Pine trail head ending at my car. Elapsed time of 4 hrs 47 mins.

A look back from top of AF Twins East


  1. Bummer about the camera. It would be nice to see some of those shots. Sounds like a hidden gem of a traverse with some fun scrambling around.

  2. I had some beautiful shots. Bummer for sure.