Location: Bullion Divide East to West, Salt Lake County, Utah
Start: Cecret Lake Trailhead - 9400 ft
Max Elevation: 11,489 ft.
End: White Pine Trailhead - 7700 ft
Difficulty: Class 3/Class 4
Personnel: Luke and Kirk
The 7 Peaks from East to West:
1) Sugarloaf Mountain: 11,051 ft
2) Mount Baldy: 11,068 ft
3) "Hidden Peak": 10,992 ft
4) American Fork Twin Peaks: 11,489 ft (Salt Lake County highpoint)
5) "Red Top": 11,380 ft
6) "Red Baldy": 11,171 ft
7) White Baldy: 11,321 ft
In mountaineering it is not uncommon to attempt two or maybe three peaks in one go. This is often dubbed a "twofer" or a "threefer." Yet the Bullion Divide has over 9 prominent peaks and most can be tackled in one long day. The Bullion Divide is the ridge separating Little Cottonwood Canyon and American Fork Canyon. Most often the ridge is hiked from the east starting at Cecret Lake TH in Albion Basin, home to Alta Ski Resort, and ending at the White Pine Trailhead.
We dropped one car off at White Pine Trailhead and made our way up to the Cecret Lake Trailhead where we would be begin at 5:15 am. The trail leads to the lake in about a mile. From the lake, we made our way up to the saddle in between Sugarloaf and Mount Baldy and on to the peak of Sugarloaf. We made it to the top in less than an hour and the sun still had not risen.
We next scrambled back down to the saddle and up to Mount Baldy, where some unnecessary fixed ropes were tied to a tree to assist climbers. From the top of Mt Baldy we hiked down and over "Hidden Peak", past the Snowbird ski resort and up to American Fork Twin Peaks which required our first true scrambling over a knife-edge ridge. The climb up Twin Peaks offered some interesting geology with interlayered slate and quartzite. It was 8:15 am when we reached the top of AF Twin Peaks. 4 peaks, 3 hours. The top of Twin Peaks offered great views in all directions and of the rest of our route.
The remainder of the hike was more challenging and more fun. Red Top, Red Baldy and especially White Baldy were moderately challenging with some hand-over-hand climbing and route-finding. In between Red Baldy and White Baldy is a sharp contact between the reddish quartzite and the whitish granite that gives these mountains their names. The granite is part of a large igneous intrusion which intruded most of western Little Cottonwood canyon and it makes for great climbing!
White Baldy is easily the most challenging of the 7 peaks we climbed and the most fun, with lots of scrambling, free-climbing, and route-finding. From the top we chose to descend into Red Pine drainage to the west rather than White Pine drainage to the east. We reached the car around 2:30 pm. Just over 9 hours total. Great trip.
Just a couple 11,000 ft peaks left in the Wasatch....
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