An Unspeakable Day in the Wasatch Mountains: Photo Trip Report.

An Unspeakable Day in the Wasatch Mountains: Photo Trip Report.

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 40.58997°N / 111.67053°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 22, 2008
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Spring, Winter

South Ridge, Mt. Superior, Utah

Considered a Wasatch classic climb, the south ridge of Mt. Superior lies directly north of the Snowbird Ski Resort. In the summer, the south ridge is a spectacular climb, which is mostly 4th class and a few sections of low 5th class rated at 5.3. Under snow cover, the route becomes more challenging as you climb 55-60 degree snow, negotiate cornices that swallow the ridge proper, and search diligently for good protection. Overall the ridge is a magnificent climb in superb surroundings. This one comes highly recommended!



Here come the photos...

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Our ascent up the south ridge and descent down the south face of Mount Superior.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Glenn enjoying the sunrise on the lower slopes of the south ridge. The majority of the initial slope is between 30-40 degrees. As the slopes funnels to create the first narrow section of ridge, the slope max is roughly 50-55 degrees.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Atop the initial slope, we gained our first view of the majority of our route.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Exposed sections of the ridge, which are quite comfortable in the summer, become more unnerving as cornices swallow up the real estate. We attempted to chop a hole in this cornice, but the snow and ice was rock solid.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Looking down the first narrow section of ridge, with a beautiful cornice peeling over the east side.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
The final section of the first narrow ridge on the south ridge route. This section of ridge ends at the top of the Suicide Chute. With some exposed rocks and horns we could have used a running belay, but with all this snow, the rope would only assure that we all died together in a fall, so we kept the rope coiled away.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
The view up the middle section of the south ridge as seen from the top of the Suicide Chute. This was a great spot for a rest.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Above the Suicide Chute was a 60-degree slope that I didn't bother to take a photo of. I just wanted to climb up it fast. After that fun, we got back to narrow ridge lines.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Along the entire route there was so much snow that protection was few and far between. This was the best belay all day.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
A nice mild section of climbing just over midway up the route. On these broad sections of the ridge the snow was a bit soft, but still powdery so trailbreaking wasn't too hard.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
This was the first really exposed move on the route. Although the camera doesn't show it too well, the rocky areas in the middle of the photo required some of those full-commitment moves. Glenn found some good protection by wrapping a sling around an ice column under the overhanging rock.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
A close up of some of the huge cornices.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Other than the tree belay shown earlier, the rest of the climb was boot/axe belays and the like.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
The last section of exposed climbing on the south ridge. Again, the camera doesn't do this justice. Before Glenn placed his steps, this was a thin fin of sugary snow and it was very hard to tell where the rock ended and the cornice began. Although we all pulled our share of leading, Glenn took the two most difficult sections, which earned him the "balls of steel" award. It was some fine climbing.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
After the last exposed section of ridge, it was time to relax and coil the rope. What a climb this was turning out to be!

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Taking the last section of the ridge to the summit. Most of the south ridge is visible below.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
The summit of Mt. Superior with Monte Cristo in the background. Days like this make you pinch yourself to assure it's real.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
Traditionally we would walk down the east ridge route, but with the stable snow, how can you resist a glissade down the south face of Superior? During our climb, we watched three groups of skiers put lines down the south face, so we decided to join 'em.

South Ridge, Mount Superior, Utah
In the soft snow we could only glissade so far, the rest was I swear my hips and thighs nearing exploded by the time we reached the road below.


How would we sum up the day? Unspeakable! Great partners, stable snow, perfect weather and spectacular surroundings. Ah, the mountains, it doesn't get any better.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 30

warriorpoet - Mar 24, 2008 10:24 am - Voted 10/10


Proof that it takes more than a camera and a good eye to get a great shot.


vanman798 - Mar 24, 2008 11:10 am - Voted 10/10


Awesome pictures, of what one can tell was an awesome climb. I was skiing over at Alta why you guys where climbing, and several times I took at my binoculars to spot you, but wasn't lucky enough to see you.

Very Impressive!


Pinchosa - Mar 24, 2008 11:19 am - Voted 10/10


Just reading this report gives me butterflies in my stomach! What an experience! From your pictures and description it looks and sounds like it was an incredible climb. Glad you could enjoy the perfections of the day and one killer route!

By the way marauders, your pictures are amazing!

Ammon Hatch

Ammon Hatch - Mar 24, 2008 11:31 am - Voted 10/10

Major Envy

I can't believe I slept through my alarm...

Bruce Christensen

Bruce Christensen - Mar 24, 2008 12:00 pm - Voted 10/10


It looks like you guys had a great time. Nice pictures, and nice job on a beautiful route.

Dottie Little Tent

Dottie Little Tent - Mar 24, 2008 2:27 pm - Voted 10/10


I thought these were some of the best photos in a trip report


Dean - Mar 24, 2008 3:43 pm - Voted 10/10


Love the great pics and trip report. Congrat's on a great day in the mountains.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Mar 24, 2008 4:53 pm - Voted 10/10

I love Utah!

Matt, your photos confirm again why Utah is such an awesome place to live. Good job guys.


PellucidWombat - Mar 24, 2008 4:54 pm - Hasn't voted

What a day out!

I've never seen so much snow on the South Ridge. The crux rock move appears to even be snowed over! (Photo 12) It looks like a completely different climb than any time I've been up it.


marauders - Mar 25, 2008 12:19 am - Hasn't voted


...for all the great comments. We'll have to get another SP climb together soon.


dmiki - Mar 25, 2008 3:58 pm - Voted 10/10


A jolly good outing I must say.


seanpeckham - Mar 25, 2008 8:38 pm - Voted 10/10


Nice job on the climb and the TR, but especially the photos!

Joe White

Joe White - Mar 26, 2008 3:59 am - Voted 10/10


This was a fantastic trip report! Thank you for sharing.

A quick question: As a climber who cares about taking great pictures, what photography equipment do you carry on a typical mountaineering adventure? (camera, lens etc.)

marauders - Mar 26, 2008 12:31 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks!

Thanks for the compliments. I use a digital SLR camera, specifically the Canon 30D. I carry it in a Promaster bag (I mention the brand because it's the only one I've ever found that keeps the snow out without having to zip the top. I just use the clip, so that I can pull out the camera fast.) I clip it to the side of my pack. At first it was heavy and a bit awkward, but you get used to it. I compensate by putting water, etc. on the other side of the pack to balance it out.

As far as lenses you have to have an ultra wide angle lens to get any descent ridge photos. I use the Canon 10mm-22mm lens. I also carry a Canon 24mm-105mm lens for closer photos, flowers, animals, depth of field, etc. I carry that in a Lowe Pro lens holder on my other side so that I can change the lenses back and forth quickly. Other than that, a circular polarizer filter, lens cloth, extra batteries and memory cards.

The trick is to take tons of photos without interrupting the rhythm of the climb. Sometimes I don't succeed with that goal, but my partners are cool and appreciate the end result. I've become a lot faster over time so hopefully the camera doesn't get in the way too much.

Joe White

Joe White - Mar 26, 2008 7:30 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Thanks!

This was SUCH a helpful reply! Exactly the information I was looking for :)

Ya might be worth it, one day, to post an article about photography and climbing, like some tips of the trade you have found helpful! That would probably be super helpful for a lot of people.

marauders - Mar 28, 2008 1:06 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great pics

I appreciate the comments. My website is fun hobby.

mrburns - Mar 27, 2008 12:48 pm - Hasn't voted


Great Pictures, Great Trip Report. Looks like a great day!

Nyle Walton

Nyle Walton - Mar 28, 2008 9:58 am - Hasn't voted

Wasatch Climbing Alpine Style

As I realized in the 1950s, you have to climb the peaks in the Wasatch during the winter to dulplicate conditions you would find in the Alps the year around. Great pictures. If it weren't for the trees, I could be fooled that you were actually in the French Alps.

marauders - Mar 28, 2008 12:08 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Wasatch Climbing Alpine Style

Killer photos on your profile page! You were climbing the Wasatch 25 years before I was even thought about!

Nyle Walton

Nyle Walton - Mar 29, 2008 10:26 am - Hasn't voted

Two generations removed.

In 1950 when I climbed the Grand Teton, one could not find an ice ax in Utah. I never saw crampons until I went to Mexico to climb Popocatepetl in 1951 and bought some crude Mexican "spiks" along with an ice ax.
Back then mountain climbing was limited to eccentric individuals who belonged to the Wasatch Mountain Club and practiced rock climbing on Pete's Rock under Mt. Olympus. Compare those conditions with today's broad popularity of the sport which attracts millions and people no longer question what idiocy makes people want to climb mountains.

Viewing: 1-20 of 30



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.