From Broads ForkMarauders and I had been talking about doing the entire triple traverse, but knew we would not have time, so we decided to climb Dromedary and possibly Sunrise if the time permitted. We both had to be home early in the afternoon, so unless we really pushed ourselves, Dromedary would be our only summit of the day and we were both okay with that, because our main goal was to get some altitude and have a good time in the Wasatch playground.
We met at the trailhead at 6:00 a.m. and quickly donned our gear and made sure we had what we needed for the hike. We knew it was going to get hot later in the day, but it was still a little cool when we left the trailhead and we didn’t rush at all, although we did set a pretty decent pace up to the meadow. We stopped to take a few pictures and I knew that it was going to be a great day in the Wasatch.
When we reached the meadow we took a break to catch our breath and have a few snacks and the peaks that were laid out before us looked amazing and we both pulled out our cameras to capture the moment. I was surprised that we did not see another soul, because it was a Saturday and I thought for sure there would see the usual trail of ants marching up to climb the Twins, but so far we had the place to ourselves and the scene that was laid out before us certainly had captured our attention. It was just incredible up there and we certainly had one of the finest breakfast views in the entire state. The weather was perfect, the air was fresh and I knew it was going to be a fantastic day.
After taking some pictures we decided to get a move on, knowing that we both did need to get back reasonably early. The conversation was good and the views just kept getting better with each step and I was wearing my trail runners and as we reached the boulder field I was beginning to wonder if that was a mistake. In my early morning preparations, I went back and forth, debating with myself whether I should wear my sturdy hiking boots or the trail runners. I figured the trail runners would be okay and I chose them because they certainly are more comfortable. I soon realized however, why I had been debating with myself, as the boulder hopping was much more difficult without the sturdy support that my boots allow and I banged my ankles a few times and I knew that the descent was going to be much worse.
As we moved up through the boulders, Matt decided he wanted to take a few more pictures, so I pushed on ahead. Our goal was the top of the chute between Dromedary and Sunrise. The chute is actually a little steeper than it looks from the meadow below and near the top it really gets steep. I was about half way up the chute and I decided to stop to refuel and take a rest and Matt soon caught up with me and he had definitely found his groove, as he passed me kept up a very good pace to the top.
As we neared the top, we both angled over to the left to take advantage of the solid rock and plentiful holds and after a short scramble we finally made it to one of the finest and most scenic views that the Wasatch has to offer.
The top of the chute is not extremely roomy, with stunning views of Tanners Gulch below, the rugged east flank of Sunrise to our right and the sheer cliffs of Dromedary to the left. It is certainly not a scene that is meant for the faint of heart. After a brief few moments of taking it all in, we decided we better get moving. We had to descend into the Gulch and then angle over to our left. You can either descend the slippery sand and loose gravel or use the nice rock holds on your left. We did not have to descend very far and within just a few minutes we were able to find a nice little faint trail that allows you to traverse the back side (South) of the mountain.
We took a few minutes to take a few pictures and both of us commented that this had to be one of the top five most scenic places in the Wasatch. Tanners Gulch is just so impressive and the jagged slopes of Dromedary and Sunrise can strike a little fear even in the hearts of the most seasoned mountaineer. We continued East until we came to a chute that goes right up the South side of Dromedary all the way to the ridge. Matt went first and I stayed back for a few minutes, as it was clear this chute was steep with several loose rocks just waiting to be knocked down. Matt began to make his way up the steep slope and sure enough he did knock off a few good sized rocks that certainly could do some major damage to the human body. We both stopped and watched as one particular rock got quite a bit of speed and tumbled down the mountain, finally finding a new resting place on the sheer slopes far below. At this point we decided it was probably not the best idea for both of us to be in there at the same time, so I made my way over and out of the chute, while Matt went up a little further. It soon became very clear to both of us though that the chute was just a little too loose and that just making our way up the steep slope was a better option.
From here we just took the most direct route we could find to the ridge. We did get into some class three boulders and we were able to practice some basic climbing moves while we made our way over some large boulders and slabs. The climbing was not difficult at all and we both seemed to enjoy picking our way up to the ridge.
Matt really picked up his pace here and he just bolted to the ridge, while I was definitely moving a little slower. Once on the ridge he proceeded to take some more pictures and I tired to push myself, so I wouldn’t slow him up too much. Once on the ridge it was a short scramble to the top, where Matt was waiting to capture my presence surmounting the apex.
We were both stunned with the sheer beauty of this place and we took a few minutes to survey the area and the surrounding peaks. We both knew that a climb of Sunrise was probably not in the cards, because as it was we would have to hurry to make it back for our previously scheduled engagements.
We both had some lunch and lounged around a bit on the summit, while taking in the breathtaking scenery. After a few more photos we decided we better get down.
The hike back down the south face was steep and we both picked our way through rocks, boulders and loose sand, as there is no defined trail on this part of the mountain. We made our way back through the chute and had to make a small climbing move to pull ourselves out, but nothing too serious.
We made our way back over to Tanners and the hike up to the top was definitely easier than making our way down. At the top of the Gulch we took a few more minutes to take in the magnificent views and then we again made our way over to the rocks that were now on our right and carefully made our way down through the steepest section. There are plenty of hand holds here and it was pretty easy going and we both thought it was much easier than the middle of the chute, because it was loose and nasty.
When we were finally back onto the boulders, Matt’s pace was much faster than mine and I had to watch every step, because my trail-runners are just not made for navigating boulder fields like this. I did bang my ankles a few more times and I was worried about every step. Matt descended much quicker and decided to stretch out on a rather large rock to rest, while I meandered my way through the seemingly endless sea of boulders. This surely was a tedious task. For a few minutes I completely lost site of Matt, because I could not see him lying on a boulder, so I was kind of surprised when I called out for him and he popped up only a few feet away.
We finally started to see the “ants” marching up and down to and from the saddle between Sunrise and the Twins. We had not passed another soul all day on our route and we were happy for the rugged solitude that we enjoyed. Just above the meadow, we did cross paths with a few different folks and it was a clear sign that we were getting closer to civilization. We took a brief break just past the meadow and I was running low on water. It was hot and I was tired and frankly not feeling all that well. I knew that we needed to get down, so after a few minutes we decided to get moving. We made a quick descent and we really picked up our pace. As always, the trail seemed to go on forever and it seemed like the hike down was much longer than the way up, although in reality I knew it was not. We took a brief break at the stream crossing to cool ourselves in the delicious water that was making its way down the drainage and it certainly seemed to boost my spirits greatly and with a renewed vigor we quickly made our way down the trail.
When we finally reached the trailhead I was spent. I was hot and tired, but that didn’t matter all that much, because we had just experienced one of the most magnificent gems in the Wasatch and the solitude and views had surely been worth it. Dromedary is a rugged mountain and we were both grateful for the chance to grace her summit, even if it was only for a brief, fleeting moment in time, but the memories will always remain.