Spanish Fork Peak with over 2,950 feet of prominence is clearly visible from most of Utah County yet it is a relatively unknown peak which is not often climbed. The 10,192 ft peak is located southeast of Provo and due east of Mapleton, Utah. This mountain is also known as Monument Peak and by some as Mapleton Mountain. The mountain like most of it’s neighbors is composed primarily of limestone. On the peak one will find a triangulation structure; compare a November view of the structure to a March view. For more information on Utah Triangulation Structures click here.
Crowd Ridge is the obvious pleat dominating the west face of the mountain, see labeled image. To the right (south) of Crowd Ridge is Crowd Canyon, and to the left (north) is another ridge running up in a South East direction to where it meets Crowd Ridge at a approximately 8600 feet making an upside down "Y" out of itself and Crowd Ridge. The canyon to the left (north) of this intersecting ridge is named Big Slide Canyon. View map.
Starting in Mapleton Utah, and following the Crowd Ridge route, as outline below, requires approximately 5300 vertical feet of climbing and 3.75 miles (one-way) to reach the peak.
This route is a good choice for a winter ascent due to it relatively avalanche free nature. In loose snow conditions most climbers will need to allow 5-6 hours for the ascent and about 3-4 hours for the descent. Winter climbers are advised to bring snowshoes.
Getting ThereTake I-15 to exit 258 and head east toward Manti/Price on Highway 6. Seven miles after the exit notice a sign for Mapleton and Springville with arrows pointing left. Take this exit onto Highway 89 heading north towards Mapleton. After 1.8 miles take a right turn onto 2600 south (Mapleton). After 3/10 of a mile 2600 south jogs to the right and becomes 2620 south and after 2/10 of a mile 2620 ends at a T-intersection with 800 West. Turn right onto 800 West, after half a mile 800 West becomes a dirt road. Go 2/10s of a mile on the dirt portion of 800 West and turn left onto a rougher, rutted, dirt road which heads east and parallels a barbed wire fence. In 2010 at the left turn there was an abandoned horse chariot. Once on the rougher road go another 2/10s of a mile and turn right into a field where you can park. From the parking spot Crowd Ridge is clearly visible due east about 3/4 of a mile away.
Route DescriptionThis route is not a well-define nor a maintained trail and, as such, requires some route finding skills.
From the parking spot (approximately 4,900 ft. elevation), head due east toward Crowd Ridge. Your route will soon intersect the rough, rutted, dirt road you followed east to the parking spot. This 4X4 road will have angled to the south. Cross the road heading toward a gravel quarry, as you parallel huge gray colored power lines on your right. After about a half mile one will intersect a well maintained dirt road which is the privately owned Power Line Road, follow this road around a u-shaped turn to the north and up a hill to the base of Crowd Ridge at 40.09419 N 111.57144 W. The approximate distance from the parking area to the base of Crowd Ridge is 3/4 of a mile.
Having gained the base of Crowd Ridge (at 40.09419 N 111.57144 W) one can either start directly up the ridge, or go around to its right (south) side and enter Crowd Canyon. In the winter, and at this lower elevation, the snow on the south facing side of Crowd Ridge will likely be sparse and avalanche safe, and as such one may wander a ways up the canyon before climbing onto the ridge. Bush-whacking concerns maybe the only advantage of starting in the canyon rather than climbing directly onto the ridge.
Once on Crowd Ridge simply follow its spine to the top about about three miles and over 5000 vertical feet away. The peak beckoning as one climbs this 25-30 degree ridge is the roughly 9,960 ft false summit. The 10,192 ft true summit can only be seen once the false summit is crested. The true summit is marked with an orange colored, pyramid shaped structure, and is a 1/2 KM SE 136.0° (as the crow-flies) from the false summit.
At approximately 8600 ft (40.09426 N 111.54458 W) the ridge that runs up south east to the right of Big Slide Canyon will intersect Crowd Ridge, and the view to the left will be Big Slide Canyon. Crowd Canyon will be visible to the right all the way to the false summit. At the false summit Crowd Ridge peaks and is crossed by a North to South ridge, continue straight toward the true summit. In the absence of clouds and fog the true summit, with its orange colored triangulation structure, should be clearly visible to the east and slightly right (SE 135.6°). Descend the false summit keeping as much elevation as possible. At the low point between the false and the true summit, before starting the ascent (again) to the true summit, one will be able to see into the right fork of Maple Canyon. In the winter this area will have large overhanging cornices so use caution and don’t go to close to the edge. After another 15-20 minutes of walking and 200+ vertical feet of climbing the true summit will be reached at 40.08792 N 111.52771 W.