A bit of history
Provo Peak is aptly named since it quietly towers above Provo Utah. Most people really don't notice this eleven thousand foot peak as other peaks in the area grab their attention and poor Provo Peak goes often unnoticed (even at 11068 feet high). I am guilty of this myself as Cascade Mountain and Y Mountain were the ones I seemed to focus my gaze on. Now I am not even mentioning Mt. Timpanogos as it dominates just about everything in the whole area yet, the Cascade Mtn - Provo Peak combo, are a worthy duo as well and don't really have to take a backseat to Timp. as it is fondly called by the locals.
I went to college in the shadow of this mountain's presence but I really focused my attention on Timp and ignored all the other great mountains that the Provo-Orem area has. The hike up Timp was the usual goal of most students and skiing at Timp Haven (now called Sundance) was where many of us learned to ski, with Timpanogos lording over all. If you had asked me to point out Provo Peak, I couldn't have done it. I had no clue which one it was and to top it off, no one ever really talked about this one.
Then I discovered prominence peaks
, thanks to the influence of SP's Bob Bolton. When I studied the maps I was stunned to find that Provo Peak was one of them (having 3428 feet / 1045 meters of prominence ), along with Timp, Spanish Fork Peak, Loafer Peak and Mt. Nebo to name a few. In fact the Utah valley area was surrounded by prominence peaks. So, along with Utah's county highpoints, I began to chase the prominence peaks of this fine state. West Mtn, Lake Mtn, Mt. Nebo, and Flat Top were all completed on various visits to the area. The only ones left in the Utah Valley area that I hadn't climbed (or hiked or crawled up) was Loafer and Provo Peaks. More on prominence HERE
and this map
will show where and what the prominence peaks are.
A job opportunity in the Orem area allowed me to set up a home base to not only work but to further chase more of Utah's prominence peaks. Loafer and Provo Peaks were dead center in my sights.
After taking care of the Loafer/Santaquin duo on September 8th, only Provo Peak remained to be done.
I made one foray to its base on Sept. 14th but didn't have time to actually climb the peak. Four days later I returned and I had plenty of time to enjoy the experience. I drove past the spot where many had mentioned that they park and found a spot at the 8300 foot level where I could park my truck out of view.
An ATV track ran up towards the northwest and by following this ATV track, I ran into where the trail came up from below. I was surprised to find a trail that was easy to follow as other accounts said they lost the trail in several areas but this trail really led me all the way to the summit. At first I ascended through some trees, mainly aspens and then brush and after the brush ran out the trail really started to become much steeper as it ascended rocky areas where I encountered a lot of loose scree on the trail but nothing difficult. The views kept getting better and better as I gained elevation and often I had to stop just to take the views in.
Utah Lake and all of Utah Valley was soon laid out before me and it was wonderful to have such views. The peaks that had been above me when I started were now all lower and the sheer height advantage of this peak became apparent. From the place I parked my vehicle at 8300 to the top of Provo Peak, the elevation gained is close to 2800 feet and in less than two miles of hiking making for a steady yet steep ascent although at this time of the year there is absolutely nothing technical. Mainly class one / two with no class three sections.
The trail follows the west ridge faithfully and a few interesting trees that had long since passed from mortality made great photo op's for my camera to take in. At just about the two and a half hour mark, the top of the peak made its appearance and I headed for a cairn that I found a baggie containing a register. A better container would be nice and if I head up to the top of this one again, I'll bring it myself. I found that the last person to climb this peak had done so well over two weeks before. Interesting since it was so close to a major population area. Perhaps many are scared off by the reports that the road is super nasty but I did not find that to be true. There are some rough spots and good high ply tires are a great choice but my son made it up to this road in his Corolla. He said he took it slow and careful but that he found it very doable.
Views from the top of Provo Peak are outstanding in all directions. I was a bit disappointed with all the haze but I would love to return on a clear day and really get some good photos. The pics I did take are all a bit dulled by the haze but my eyes will always remember the views and the panoramas I was able to enjoy. After a quick snack and a phone call to my wife, it was time to get back down and back to that other world we always have to return to. I took my time going down as several spots demand being careful and I was back at my vehicle in about two hours. So overall, this one took me a bit less than 5 hours to do . And of course, as the title of this trip report indicates, I saw no one else all the time I was on the mountain so I had it all to myself.
I wonder what that slope is like with snow on it. Perhaps a great ski opportunity.
A nice goal
I am hoping to hike this peak from the valley floor some time so when I do so I'll add that hike information to this trip report. I'd actually like to hike up to the top of Y mountain, then go up over Lion's Head and go up the west ridge to Provo's summit.
Provo Peak from Y Mountain