Bomber Peak area viewed from under the north face of Timp
Point 11,347 is the 7th highest highest peak in the Wasatch Range, using a 200' prominence rule. We could call it the 6th highest by a 300' rule if it had about 32' more prominence above the Timp saddle. Despite this status, it is unnamed on USGS maps. The name "Bomber Peak" has its origin in Michael Kelsey's 1989 book Climbing and Exploring Utah's Mt. Timpanogos
, and comes from the peak's proximity to the 1955 crash site of a B-25 Bomber in the upper northwest part of Timpanogos Basin.
Bomber Peak is the highpoint of the long high ridge running between North Timpanogos and the Timpanogos summit, but is overshadowed by these larger neighbors, making it a relatively seldom-climbed peak, and therefore a worthwhile objective for peakbaggers seeking solitude and interesting views. It can also be difficult to identify which bump on the ridge is the true summit. In fact, Kelsey's maps label the northernmost peak as Bomber Peak, since it is closer to the crash site and has a greater view of its 400'+ north-side prominence, but the true summit is a meter higher and is the next peak to the south. On the other hand, from the south in upper Timpanogos Basin or on the ridge nearer the Timp saddle, the peak to the south of the summit appears higher and more impressive, but, at least in terms of being higher, this is an illusion.
Access to the popular trailheads for the easiest ways to Bomber Peak are the same as for Mount Timpanogos itself
, namely, from the Alpine Loop scenic loop, U-92, (accessible from Provo Canyon or American Fork Canyon). Both the Aspen Grove and Timpooneke Trails lead to the Timp Saddle, which is where one route to Bomber Peak diverges. The Timpooneke Trail can also be taken to the B-25 crash site, and from there to the peak from the east. It can also be climbed from the north via North Timpanogos or Pika Cirque, or from the west via Grove Creek.
B-25 Bomber Crash Site
GeoPooch Sobachka's photo of the lower of the bomber engines
A page on Bomber Peak would be imcomplete without some description of the event that gave the peak its name. This brief summary is based on the version in Kelsey's book.
On March 9, 1955, an Air Force B-25 on its way from Great Falls, Montana to March Air Force Base in Riverside, California, passed over Salt Lake City after having made a fuel stop at Hill Air Force Base near Ogden. It carried five people, including two civilians. During a storm that had that day deposited more than a foot of snow in the Wasatch Mountains, the WWII bomber made radio contact just after dark and then went out of radar sight and was not heard from again. The next morning, during a break in the storm, 18 search planes were sent to look for it and for another plane that was later found to have crashed in the Uinta mountains. The wreckage of the B-25 was first spotted from the air that afternoon not far below Bomber Peak. It is, I think, unknown what caused the aircraft to veer off course and crash.
Rescue attempts (or rather, body recovery attempts, as all aboard were instantly and gruesomely killed) were made repeatedly throughout the next few days, but weather and avalanche conditions prevented any members of official search parties from reaching the crash site until late March 12, and no bodies were recovered until March 15. Four were recovered that day, but the fifth was not reported to have been recovered until May 30. Meanwhile, the first people to have seen the crash site were not members of official search parties, but were local hikers who on March 11, climbed up and over the Bomber Peak ridge from Grove Creek, while American Fork Canyon was blocked to traffic by the Forest Service, which had been persuaded by the Air Force to close the area to the public until the last body had been found.
The wreckage still exists and is frequently visited as a side-trip from the Timpooneke Trail where a signed fork leads to a toilet upon arrival in Timp Basin above the Giant Staircase. That toilet is almost as much of a mess as the B-25.
When To Climb
Bomber Peak viewed from North Timpanogos
The peak can be climbed year-round. Summer conditions allow for walking on a class 2 trail along the west side of the ridge between the Timp saddle and North Timpanogos. In winter or spring conditions, the area would make a worthwhile snow climb or ski mountaineering objective. The west side is huge, steep potential ski terrain with fewer obstacles than farther south on the west face of Timp, and my much-less-than-thorough summer investigation suggests the possibility of some short couloirs on the east side of the ridge. Watch out for cornices above the sheer east aspect of the ridge. Be warned that all routes pass extensively through serious avalanche terrain, and winter or spring climbs should be only be undertaken during stable conditions with proper avalanche training and gear.
Again, this is the same as for Mt Timpanogos
. Two considerations bear repeating or emphasizing here. First, there is a fee booth at either entrance to the Alpine Loop; the fee has recently increased from $3 to $6 for a 3-day pass. Credit cards and checks are accepted.
Also, please practice Leave No Trace wilderness ethics, above and beyond complying with the Mount Timpanogos Wilderness Area regulations
, which include the prohibition of campfires and of switchback shortcutting.
Maps and External LinksNOAA/NWS snow, weather, and mountain conditions links
NOAA/NWS 7-day forecast
for 10,000' level in the Timp area.
USGS Timpanogos Cave