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Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).
Trip Report

Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).

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Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Utah, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 40.53370°N / 111.7052°W

Object Title: Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).

Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 22, 2008

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Winter

 

Page By: marauders

Created/Edited: Nov 25, 2008 / Apr 8, 2013

Object ID: 466312

Hits: 9753 

Page Score: 96.96%  - 64 Votes 

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The Approach

In early November, the Wasatch Mountains of Utah received a series of storms covering the central range in four feet of luscious, powder snow. For two weeks, the skiing was good; but a continuation of warm, dry weather reduced the snowpack to a stout sun crust over sugar. From a skiing perspective this was depressing, but for early season winter climbing it was phenomenal! Lesson learned: If the snow gods give you a lemon...climb it!

Climbers: Alec, Brenton, Levi, Matt.


Pfeifferhorn
The North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn (middle-left).


 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Climbing the northeast couloir. Early season conditions provided some good mixed climbing that needed to be protected.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Pfeifferhorn poking above the forest.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Traveling through Maybird Gulch.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Approaching the northeast couloir (Variation B).
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The base of the couloir. Our first sun of the day (almost our only sun of the day).

The Lower Portion of the North Ridge

The northeast couloir maxed out around 50 degrees with a good mixed section. From this couloir we gained the north ridge. Brenton (fowweezer) began the climb through 4th class terrain. Although powder snow glazed many of the rocks, ample protection opportunities made the climb safe overall.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Matt (marauders) considering the options ahead, below the Lightning Bolt Crack.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Nearing the mixed portion of the northeast couloir (Variation B).
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Matt (marauders) leading the mixed portion of the northeast couloir.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The snow glazed rock of the lower north ridge.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The first portion of good, bare granite along the lower north ridge.

The Middle Portion of the North Ridge

After some good 4th class granite, the middle portion of the north ridge provides a fun, exposed traverse across a granite slab that ends in a steep couloir down the northwest face of Pfeifferhorn. Initially the slab looks harder than it really is. There is a network of cracks that provides secure footholds.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Brenton (fowweezer) leading the traverse.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Alec (PocketsOfBlue) providing a useful belay.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Brenton (fowweezer) reapproaching the crest of the north ridge.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Looking down on the granite slab. Just don't look down while your on it.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Alec (PocketsOfBlue) making his way across the slab.

The Crux & The Summit

After the granite slab, the north ridge narrows substantially and is bisected by the Lightning Bolt Crack. The crack appears slightly overhanging, with minimal features. Can it be climbed? Definitely. But that's not my cup of tea. Instead we took the standard route to the east of the crack. This circumvention places you on the northeast face where the crux moves exist. The 5.3 moves are simple, but the steep terrain, snow, crampons and gloves give it some added spice. Why climb this in the snow? Well, the ridge is normally a loose pile of granite. So the snow and ice help hold the rocks together. Don't dwell on that too much as you look between your legs!

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The crux moves circumventing the Lightning Bolt Crack.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Brenton leading toward the crux.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Looking straight down the northeast face. So exactly which rocks are solid?
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The last snow ridge to the summit.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Descending the east ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.

Conclusion

Few climbs have provided the full adventure and satisfaction of the North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.
Great weather, great conditions, and superb partners. Life is rarely this perfect.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Glissading down Maybird Headwall.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Skiing down Maybird Gulch in early season conditions.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Alec and the sunset.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.

Images

Pfeifferhorn

Comments


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Nyle WaltonTremendous.

Nyle Walton

Hasn't voted

I hiked and climbed in the Wasatch more than fifty years ago. However I was never aware of the Pfeifferhorn. It appears to be just east of Lone Peak. You might call it "the Matterhorn of the Wasatch." Congratulations on some excellent photography. Digital photography makes picture-taking so much easier and foolproof than old 35mm film.
Posted Dec 2, 2008 11:09 am

Nyle WaltonTremendous.

Nyle Walton

Hasn't voted

I hiked and climbed in the Wasatch more than fifty years ago. However I was never aware of the Pfeifferhorn. It appears to be just east of Lone Peak. You might call it "the Matterhorn of the Wasatch." Congratulations on some excellent photography. Digital photography makes picture-taking so much easier and foolproof than old 35mm film.
Posted Dec 2, 2008 11:10 am

maraudersRe: Tremendous.

marauders

Hasn't voted

On the USGS maps the official name is actually "LIttle Matterhorn Peak". The local name of the peak "Pfeifferhorn" is more recognized and is named after Chuck Pfeiffer, who was a past leader of the Wasatch Mountain Club.
Posted Dec 2, 2008 3:32 pm

coloradoclimberNice One!

coloradoclimber

Voted 10/10

looks like a great climb. excellent photos
Posted Dec 2, 2008 1:20 pm

PinchosaBest yet...

Pinchosa

Voted 10/10

Your trip reports keep getting better and better! Seriously, these pictures are incredible! Next time, don't wait for me to go find them to see them. You better show them to me sooner. =) Love you!

Posted Dec 2, 2008 2:40 pm

TRPLookin good

TRP

Hasn't voted

Your photos are awsome. I have climbed the north ridge many times, but your photos made it somehow much more compelling!
Posted Dec 3, 2008 11:03 am

woodsxcGreat Pictures

woodsxc

Voted 10/10

Some of the best pictures I've seen in a while. Thanks for sharing.
Posted Dec 6, 2008 10:25 am

Viewing: 21-27 of 27 « PREV 1 2 NEXT »