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Lone Peak Conditions?

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Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:18 am

After having tried Broads Fork Twin Peaks 3 times in the last month and failing each time due to struggling through the snow of Broads Fork I want to try a different tactic. Based on what things look like on the south to southwest facing aspects of BCC I'm kind of hoping that Lone Peak is pretty bony right now. I was thinking of heading up that way, especially the Jacob's Ladder trail. My plan was to leave work on Sunday afternoon and hike up to ~9200 feet to set up for the night and summit the next day. I recognize this is likely to be a complete slog at some point, but the Mount Olympus trail has lost a bit of it's excitement as of late.

Has anyone had a look at the southern side of Lone Peak recently? It looks covered in snow from the North but I know that's highly deceptive with these conditions.

Also, any suggestions for what to bring on this excursion? I used both snowshoes and crampons going up broads fork and at a certain point neither of them were particularly effective in the crusty mess that is left right now.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby ZeeJay » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:01 pm

I just drove by on I15 going north and I was looking at Lone Peak myself. I was surprised by how much snow there appeared to be on south facing slopes. It looked like it was at least as low as 8500' and possibly lower.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Phenom » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:39 pm

With this recent cold front, most of the Wasatch above 8,800 feet has an accumulation of about two feet on average. Nothing has really melted out, even the south facing aspect up higher. It's consolidated the top layer a bit, perhaps one to two inches. Just enough to break through to the sugar snow below. This year about roughly this time and in years past it's proven to be a bit more challenging due to conditions like this. Snow conditions like this seem to make it a bit unpleasant to hike/snowshoe in, and not enough snow to warrant skis/skins just yet. However... it looks like we might get some snow next weekend. :)

As far as approaching Lone from Jacob's Ladder I'm willing to bet that the cirque is holding a good amount of protected snow right now. I was up there in October and there was a decent amount then from that early season storm we had. Once on the summit ridge the north aspect seemed a lot like what you were explaining about upper Broads. Gotta watch our for those mini-moats up there right now!

Video from October:

http://youtu.be/O2IzbDqyjRk
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:28 am

Ok, it sounds like snowshoes are in order for that amount of snow. Monday will be my last day off until at least the 6th of January so I'm gonna give it a shot no matter what. Maybe someone else was also stupid and broke in the trail for me up Jacob's Ladder.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Phenom » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:24 am

Sounds like fun! Were you going to access Jacob's Ladder from Corner Canyon Road? Draper has closed the gate up the road for the season about a mile from the Orson Smith Trailhead, near the junction of the Bonneville Shoreline trail. At least it was closed when I was up there biking in the area about three weeks back. Might add about two miles, give or take, to reach the Ghost Falls/Jacob's Trailhead. It might even be closed down at the Orson Trailhead now, that I'm not sure about. Another option would be to drive to the top of Suncrest, and start from Haddington Court and cut across north east along the ridge to Jacob's. This is also a couple mile's worth of detour one way. Haddington Court is located in the condos just north east of the four way intersection at the top where the roads from Draper and Alpine Converge.

Granted these pages on MBpost are mainly for mountain biking, they do have some info for that upper cutoff from Suncrest to Jacob's.

http://www.mbpost.com/trail/282696/View-Benchmark.html

http://www.mbpost.com/trail/283090/Jacob-s-Ladder-Utah-.html
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:30 pm

Thanks for the heads up Phenom! It looks like that Haddington Trailhead would be about the same distance for walking but would save me ~1k of elevation gain on the way to the Jacob's Ladder trailhead.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:18 am

Just an update:

I summited this afternoon about 1PM, just before the weather turned to crap. There's patches of snow on the trail almost the whole way, but from 9k on up it's snowshoe time (roughly where the Draper Ridge trail meets in with the Jacobs Ladder trail). There was a nice snowshoe track that lead me up right into the cirque on the west side. For whatever reason the track braided a few times. At one point I counted SEVEN parallel snowshoe tracks. I broke a track in very nicely though, so assuming the weather doesn't deteriorate too badly in the coming days now would be a good time to summit. It took me about 12.5 hours car to car. I wasn't rushing and could've done it faster but I got off track and climbed a steep chute I didn't realize I could've avoided by going further north.

I definitely needed snowshoes (I saw some poor bastards tracks without snowshoes), crampons and poles. I should've brought an ice ax but didn't think I'd need it. A whippet would be ideal right now Lone Peak. Most of the way up the snow was nice and solid but it varied quite a bit. The summit ridge was covered in sugary, unconsolidated snow and didn't feel very stable at all. Crampons were a necessity!

Now here's a picture from the summit looking west:
Image
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Ryan202 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:25 am

Nice work man! I was following this thread; good to see a recap of your climb. Were you alone? I assume you started hikin at 12:30am.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:15 pm

Yes, I didn't see a soul the whole day (other than the entire Wasatch front of course). I started in the dark at about 5:30 AM and finished in the dark at about 6 PM. I saw evidence that one person got on the summit ridge sometime since the last snowstorm.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby TheSalt » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:19 pm

Nice work! Ive got to get up there soon.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Phenom » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:32 am

Cool you got up there! Lone is such a neat summit. I'll bet it feels good to get Lone after those trips in Broads Fork. You end up taking that Haddington cutoff section? If so I imagine the mud along some portions of the ridge was frozen that early in the morning, haven't been up there this season late enough in the day about the same time you were heading back. Hope it wasn't a mudfest if that was your starting point up there.
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Re: Lone Peak Conditions?

Postby Gafoto » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:36 pm

It was very satisfying. I did start from the Haddington trailhead and walked over to the Jacobs Ladder trail. Ended up cutting behind some houses when I missed my turnoff on the way back at night. It was pretty solidly frozen along that road. Much of the road is covered in snow actually. There was a little mud on the trail on the way down but nothing horrendous. All in all pretty pleasant compared to Broads Fork. Here's a shot after I got off the summit, just before the weather rolled in and covered everything:
Image
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