Begin from the Alta Guard Station 8.3 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Hike up the road just to the west of the Guard Station and East of some garages. The road winds up through private property for 1/4 mile. Continue hiking on the road for 3/4 mile to a junction. Go left at the junction to begin the single track trail to Cardiff Pass. It is 1 1/2 miles to Cardiff pass from the Guard station with a gain of 1360 ft.
This is one of the finer scrambling routes in the Wasatch, and with the short approach, it is a great route to do if you want some good scrambling and a short climb.
The route can be made easier by cheating and staying low from the ridge, but since class 3 terrain will be encountered nonetheless, you might as well have fun and stay right on the ridge.
From Cardiff Pass follow a faint track north east along the north side of the rocky buttress. After about 50 ft there are some class 3 ledges that lead to the top of the small buttress. The route mostly stays just a little to the south of the ridgeline as it ascends a series of ledges and chimneys. The rock is solid and many variations abound with the many ledges, cracks, aretes, and dihedrals - in fact this route can be treated as a bouldering problem, with some optional sections offering some fun 4th and low 5th class scrambling.
Eventually a false summit is gained. From here the route finding is simple -take the line of least resistance along the ridge to an obviously higher point to the east. This is the 'summit' of Flagstaff Pk marked on USGS topos. Don't cheat by stopping here. Continue along a faint trail heading north from here to the higher summit of the mountain.
Distance: 1.84 mi (1-way)
Elevation Gain: 2,108'
Steepness: 1,146 ft/mi
Trailhead Elevation: 8,675'
(REAL/North) Summit Elevation: 10,561'
Snowshoes. Avalanche probe, beacon, shovel, and training.
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