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North & South Ridges from Bells Canyon

 
North & South Ridges from Bells Canyon

Page Type: Route

Location: Utah, United States, North America

Object Title: North & South Ridges from Bells Canyon

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Time Required: Half a day

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Difficulty: Trail, routefinding, scrambling

Grade: II

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: Joseph Bullough

Created/Edited: May 27, 2006 / May 29, 2006

Object ID: 196477

Hits: 1753 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Overview

 
East Face
East Face

This route to the summit of Rocky Mouth Canyon Peak follows the Bells Canyon trail to Upper Bells Canyon Reservoir, followed by routefinding and scrambling.
 
Ascending East Face
Ascending to the South Saddle


Either the north or south ridges of the peak may be reached by scrambling up the steep east-facing slopes of the peak, to reach saddles to either the north or south of the peak. For variety, it is possible to ascend via one ridge, then descend back into Bells Canyon by way of the other ridge.

Getting There

 
South Ridge
South Ridge

The Bells Canyon trailhead begins at 10245 South Wasatch Blvd. There is a parking area for the trailhead on the east side of Wasatch Blvd.

To access the trailhead from I-215, take the 6200 South exit and follow Wasatch Blvd. south for approximately 6 miles to 10245 South. Park in the parking area on the east side of the road.

The trailhead can also be accessed via I-15 by taking the 9000 South Exit, then following 9000 South east for 6 miles to Wasatch Blvd. (by which time 9000 South has become 9800 South). Turn right (south) on Wasatch Blvd. and drive for 0.7 miles to the trailhead parking area, located on the east side of the road.

For GPS users, the trailhead is located at NAD27 12T 432036E 4490598N, el. 5,120 ft.

For more detailed information refer to the Bells Canyon Trailhead page.

Stats

One-Way Hiking Distance: 4.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 5,172 ft.
Average Gain per Mile: 1,124 ft.

Trailhead Elevation: 5,120 ft.
Summit Elevation: 10,292 ft.

Route Description

From the Bells Canyon Trailhead at the north end of the parking area, follow the trail up though a residential area, across a bridge, then up a steep stretch to Lower Bells Canyon Reservoir.

Follow the dirt road which circles around the west and then north sides of the reservoir. About 200 yards beyond the reservoir the Bells Canyon trail leaves the road on the left, marked by a sign.

After leaving the dirt road the trail meanders through brush and scrub oak until it reaches a small bridge over the Bells Canyon stream, approximately 0.5 miles from the lower reservoir.

From the bridge the trail continues east on the south side of the stream for approximately 2 miles, then makes a sharp turn to the right (south). Approximately 100 yards after making the turn south, cross to the east side of the stream on a very primitive bridge constructed of logs and 2x4's (during periods of low runoff the stream may be crossed at a number of other spots as well).

Pick up the trail on the east side of the stream and continue hiking south. From this point onward the trail slowly deteriorates and becomes increasingly difficult to follow. If the trail is lost just continue heading south and upward along the path of least resistance, and eventually either the trail or a periodic cairn should be spotted - do your best, and try to keep the cursing to a minimum.

Approximately 4 miles from the trailhead the Upper Bells Canyon Reservoir will be reached. Rocky Mouth Canyon Peak lies approximately 0.5 miles to the west of the reservoir. There is no trail from the reservoir to the base of the peak, so begin to routefind westward towards the peak. It will be necessary to make several up/down traverses across minor ribs to reach the base of the peak.

(Note that it is not necessary to go all the way to the reservoir. It is possible to leave the trail ±0.5 mile before reaching the reservoir, and make a bee-line towards the base of the peak. Distance-wise this will result in a slightly shorter route, although there will not be the benefit of a trail).

At the base of the peak there are two options, depending on the desire to ascend the north or south ridge of the peak. Either option will require ascending the steep east face of the peak, to either of the two saddles on either side. The north saddle leads to the north ridge, while the south saddle leads to the south ridge. At the south saddle the route merges with the south ridge which is reached via the Big Willow Canyon route.

North Ridge
Ascend the slopes leading to the saddle on the right (north) side of the peak. There are a number of lines possible, all of which will depend on conditions and personal preference. From the saddle turn left (south) and proceed via class 3 scrambling to the summit.

South Ridge
Ascend the slopes leading to the saddle on the left (south) side of the peak. These slopes are slightly steeper than the north ridge version described above, and a short section of class 4 scrambling is required to reach the saddle. From the saddle turn right (north) and follow the class 2 south ridge to the summit.

From Bells Canyon the North and South ridges may be combined to form a complete traverse over the peak. The recommended sequence in this case is to ascend via the south ridge, then descend back into Bells Canyon by way of the north ridge, since the scramble to the south saddle would involve more difficult downclimbing.

Essential Gear

Standard summer hiking gear for a fairly long hike.

An ice axe and crampons for spring and early summer hikes.

From spring to mid-summer mosquitos and flys in upper Bells Canyon can be savage; don't forget your DEET.

Images

South RidgeAscending East FaceEast FaceEast Face