South Ridge-Winter Attempt

Page Type
Trip Report
Utah, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Mar 22, 1997
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South Ridge-Winter Attempt
Created On: Oct 25, 2004
Last Edited On: Jul 30, 2007
Note: This TR was written over 7 years after the fact, and I don't remember the exact date, other than it was in March 1997, or all the members names. John and Jane will be substituted for the un-known names (if you came on the trip and happen to read this, let me know).

Mike Kelsey said the South Ridge from Bridal Veil Falls would make an interesting winter climb. I decided to lead a Wasatch Mountain Club Trip to attempt the ridge. Once again (see my previous attempt TR here), the weather forecast was just nasty, even for Provo and Salt Lake. When we all met at Bridal Vail Falls, I suggested we drive out to the House Range out on the West Desert and climb Tatow Knob. Every one said they came for Timp and that's what they wanted to attempt.

The South Ridge is a monster in winter. It gains almost 6000 feet in under 2.5 miles just to get to the South Peak! After that it is a long sawtooth ridge over several peaks to the main summit. Here's a photo, but the route is much tougher than it looks in the photo. We found Mike Kelsey's description that it might make a good winter climb to be a bit exaggerated. The access chute at the beginning turned out to be a bear. It was full of loose rock, and glazed with a thin layer of ice. It was much more difficult than expected. Either there was a fresh rockslide, or Mike didn't notice how bad it was for a group, since he almost always climbs solo. After some rather dicey 4th class/ice glazed faltering on the rocks we gained the South Ridge. The weather was just deplorable, with gale force winds and screaming snowfall. We climbed up to what is known at the First Buttress. Luckily the weather breifly cleared enough for a view of the massive, incredibly steep coulior on the north face of Cascade Peak. Dave, Jane, and John had enough and headed back down (interestingly, they were the ones most insistant that we didn't change the destination). Cheryl Soshnik, Jan Brain, and myself continued along the ridge. It was still tough going until reaching the Second Buttress, then it got even more difficult. Passing it was very difficult under the conditions. The weather was getting even worse, and we looked around for a possible campsite to hunker down and wait out the storm. We found none. We sat down and discussed what we should do. It was decided that we turn back and head for Tatow Knob. We descended safely, with a few scary ice-glazed sections, and drove to Tatow Knob, which turned out to be a great and spectacular climb. So ends winter attempt #2 for me on Timpanogos. Why is my luck always to have super-nasty weather when ever I plan a trip to the peak?

Briefly, here's a short re-cap on winter attempt #3: That same year in December(?), my brother Richard and I made an attempt of the Southwest (Sundance) Ridge. It is a specatular and long sawtooth ridge. We wanted to traverse the entire summit ridge of the mountain. I was working graveyards at the time, and we planned to climb during the night. We parked at Vivian Park and headed up the steep ridge to Arrowhead Peak, starting at around 10 PM. It was supposed to be a full moon, and we planned on using it for light, but the moon was blocked behind Cascade Mountain the entire time. When we got to the rugged sawtooth section (1 or 2 AM?), it was a matter of fumbling around in the dark for a vaible route (we had headlamps, but we still couldn't see far enough to pick out a good route). We looked for a campsite. Once again we turned back. We climbed Sugarloaf instead. Strike three.

Last Visit: My last winter visit to timp was in December 1999. We made it to Emerald Lake on a day trip. Unfortunately, this wasn't a summit attempt, and we didn't have the time to try. The weather was perfect. Oh well.



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