This was my third visit to the summit of Storm Mountain, not one of my favorite peaks but a good workout for Spring conditions with the avalanche danger making me nervous about attempting a larger summit. The trail in the lower portions of Ferguson Canyon is somewhat poorly maintained and occasionally difficult to follow, but being in the bottom of a canyon it would be difficult to completely loose this trail. Eventually the trail turned northward and made a couple of switchbacks up the north side of the canyon, before continuing east up the canyon in the general direction of the summit. Soon after passing these switchbacks we began to encounter frequent patches of snow, which eventually became a continuous snowfield. The snow was fairly consolidated, but in the warm sun the snow was already becoming rather soft so we decided to strap on our snowshoes. A single set of fresh tracks in the snow indicated that we were not the first ones headed up the peak on this day, but although we occasionally saw these tracks all the way up to the summit, at some point our paths diverged and we never met the owner of this set of Vibrams. Even though snowshoeing up the increasingly steep slope was grueling work, the snow was actually somewhat of a blessing, covering up what I knew from prior experience was a rather brushy and overgrown trail. The trail makes one final steep ascent before leveling off at a pretty meadow, at which point the summit of Storm Mountain pops into view for the first time, now less than a half mile away. From the meadow we headed for the west ridge of the peak. On the increasingly steep south-facing slope we soon reached bare ground, where we happily decided to ditch our snowshoes for the scramble to the summit. Reaching a low point on the ridge about a quarter mile west of the summit we were greeted with an impressive view looking down to the north into Big Cottonwood Canyon. From this point it was a relatively easy scramble up the ridge to the summit, although the route occasionally involved negotiating around brushy pines which slowed progress somewhat, as did the periodic patches of deep soft snow on the north-facing side of the ridge. I finally slogged up onto the summit at the 4-hour 23-minute mark, not fast but certainly a respectable time for the slower Spring hiking conditions. Shelley followed about 10 minutes later and we relaxed and enjoyed nearly a full hour on the summit, eating lunch and semi-drying out our shoes and socks. I found a small geocahce cylinder on the summit containing a few amusing though worthless trinkets, but not being a geocacher I elected not to sign the small log book. The outstanding warm and sunny day made it difficult to leave but it was soon time to head down. After carefully downclimbing the ridge we returned to our snowshoes, but rather than put them back on we decided to plunge step down the soft snow. After passing through the flat meadow the slope steepened enough for glissading so out came our rolled-up plastic sleds. Wearing thin hiking pants while glissading we literally froze our asses off, but rapidly descending hundreds of feet made it a fair trade. The remaining hike down the dry trail was uneventful, although the lower sections of the canyon were now quite crowded with groups of rock climbers. Round trip time for this hike was 8 hours 47 minutes, including the full hour on the summit.
View this trip report with photos here
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