Lone Peak is beyond any doubt the mountain to which Grizz Randall a.k.a. mtn_runr has a deep personal connection, reinforced by about a hundred ascents (Grizz's precise tally for our January 22th summit run was #86, and I have no clue how he can still keep the number exact :)
I had a privillege to accompany Grizz on three of these trips, but this one was the first time when I shoot some good photos. Grizz and Joseph got even nicer shots, and I hope they don't mind if I organize all these pictures together into a short, largely pictorial TR.
We started from Cherry Canyon TH minutes after 7 am and put on the snowshoes some 1200 verical ft later, by the "first circle of rocks".
Met the first rays of rising Sun briefly at the "Mahogany Tunnel" section at 7,300 ft, and then again after crossing the "Cherry Bowl". By this time the gray mass of low clouds crawled over the Oquirrhs and poured over Traverse Mtn into Utah Valley, but it was sunny and beautiful up ahead.
We crossed the open slopes towards Jacob Ladder - Draper Ridge trail junction and reached the usual viewpoint
from where about everybody photographs the mountain (I'd be surprised if Joseph didn't - it must be a pretty shot). There were pillows of wind-deposited snow drifting off the ridge to the South, and we decided to continue away from the rock formations of the ridge and closer to the bottom of the drainage leading into the cirque. At this point the clouds caught up with us at last, and the visibility dropped at times to a couple hundred ft. From time to time, a little window would open in the fog here and there, but we still managed to overshoot the "correct" gully leading through the steeper section of the hanging valley at 40° 31.25'N, 111° 45.98'W
. The route normale
is up the middle of the three gullies converging here, but we veered into the Sothern gully and finally reemerged from the fog at 10,000 ft right next to the first cliffs of Question Mark Wall.
Actually it wasn't a long detour, and it gave us an unusual vantage point to marvel at the cliffs of the cirque, so I am kind of glad that we missed the straight shot route there. And Mother Nature finally rewarded us with a sunny, sheltered spot for lunch. Then it was off into the breeze again, on an upward traverse along Willows Divide and onto the North Shoulder.
A hundred or so yards from the summit we ditched the snowshoes and booted on, mostly staying right of the knife-sharp cornices
(although I couldn't resist playing a leftie and bypassed a couple of particularly unpleasant spots on the left-hand side).
Yay! Isn't it a beautiful summit, and doubly so in the blanket of snow?
Thanks, Grizz, Joseph, and Sharon!
Any more pictures to include?