East Lovenia and Main Lovenia
East Lovenia has an interesting distinction of being the lowest but at the same time the most technically and physically challenging of Utah's 13ers.
David Rose dubbed the peak "Quandary" in his Utah 13ers book, and although the name may be too confusing to catch on (it isn't the better known Colorado Quandary Peak!), it kind of captures the right flavor of this most indimidating of the peaks on the list. (Check Scott's excellent highest-in-Utah list on SP
for more info!)).
First rays of Sun on the peak Upper East Face of East Lovenia Blacks Fork Peaks await peakbaggers
The peak is located in the Main Crest of Uinta Mountains, dividing East Fork Blacks Fork to the North from Lake Fork Valley to the South. The nearest trailhead, East Fork Blacks Fork, is approximately 12 miles away, so most people prefer to make it an overnight trip. It is quite common to tie the two Lovenias into a single trip, for those very few climbers who actually choose to ascend East Lovenia (even its easier, and slightly taller, neighbor to the West is a place of guaranteed solitude). A trip to both Lovenias is a 25-miler, so it would be a fairly long day trip (it took me over 11 hours).
West aspect of the peak
Approaching the Peak Lower NE Ridge View
The summit of East Lovenia is a triangular pyramid, made by a junction of NE Ridge, SE Ridge, and West Ridge (a.k.a. Lovenias Ridge since it connects the two Lovenias). It is ringed by cliffs on all sides, but occasional breaks in the cliff bands allow access from several directions.
The more accessible approaches are from the North-East (NE Ridge or East Face) and from the West (Lovenias Ridge or NW Face).
East Face of East Lovenia East Face Chimney Looking back into East Face Chimney
The rugged lower section of NE Ridge can be conveniently bypassed on the East. Then you can either reascend to the ridgeline, cross to the loose scree of the upper NW face, and maneuver between the cliffy sections to the summit cone, or traverse the East Face to the base of the most prominent cliff wall, where a convenient chimney provides a lower class 5 way to the upper East slopes.
Lovenias Ridge - view West from Upper slopes of E Lovenia Lovenias Ridge - view East from Lovenia Saddle Upper West Ridge
The Lovenias Ridge (West Ridge of East Lovenia) can be reached either directly from Upper East Fork Basin, or by traverse from Main Lovenia. The ridge is punctuated by 4 cols. The western-most of these, a.k.a. the Lovenia Saddle, is a wide plateau. The route to the next saddle to the East follows a prominent South Bench. To get to the third saddle, one may stay high on the ridge, then descend directly to the 3rd col (lower class 5 face), or to the benches to the North (lower class 5 chimneys). There may be an easier route dropping South a bit short of the 3rd col, check pictures. From there to the 4th (Eastern-most) col, stay on the North side of the ridge. To reach the summit, bypass the twin cliff bands, most conveniently on the South side.
Lovenias as seen from Tokewanna on a spring ski tour By early June, East Fk TH may be open while skiing is still possible
The trailheads of the North slope are virtually inaccessible in winter. The road from Meeks Cabin Reservoir typically opens in late May (it is plowed to within a few miles North of the reservoir), and Elizabeth Pass shortcut becomes passable June (it is well-traveled by snowmobiles from Bear River TH in winter). Moon Lake on the South is more accessible in winter, but it is nearly 25 miles away from the peak with some lower-elevation trail sections with intermittent snow, so winter access from that direction is also a challenge.
In spring and early summer, East Fork fords, and marshy meadows, could be a significant obstacle for hikers.
Getting There and Red Tape
Lovenias ridge between the peaks Red Knob pass provides trail access to the West ridge
East Fork Blacks Fork trailhead is located at a campground at the end of a long and rattling road which starts as a paved turnoff South 4 miles West of a hamlet of Robertson (on WY 410, from the Elk junction in Mountain View). You can also shortcut there from I-80 from the North, but the routefinding challenge may not be worth it. Past Meeks Cabin Reservoir, the road condition deteriorates, and some section may become impassable for passenger cars when wet.
When the conditions are dry, North Slopes Road (from Bear River Lodge area over Elizabeth Pass) provides a good shortcut, even though the East side of the pass is so full of potholes that it may take an hour to negotiate this 8 mile section. North Slopes Road merges into Meeks Reservoir Road near the concrete bridge over West Fork, some 6 miles South of the East Fork trailhead.
From East Fork TH, take a chain bridge located in the North end of the CG.
Wasatch Peaks and Tokewanna are attractive goals for a longer peakbagging trip. View from NE Ridge. Even more 13ers further East... TH access roads
West Fork Trailhead is another good starting point for those heading to Red Knob Pass. The signposted access road splits to the South from the North Slopes Road. The trailhead is located at a road gate on the East side of the river, but do not expect the road ford to be easy. In most conditions, most vehicles have to stop more than a mile short of the official TH, at the ford.
Moon Lake is the main access point from the South. It is a recreation area at the end of a paved road heading North from Mountain Home, UT, across Uinta and Ouray Reservation.
Usual wilderness group size / campsite selection restrictions apply.
A spring glimpse of Lovenias from the South side