Sundial Peak rests in the Twin Peaks Wilderness area. It is protected by surrounding 11,000 foot peaks and is probably the most photographed peak along the Wasatch range. It's prominent north face is a challenging rock climb. Additionally, Sundial Peak has been chosen to be the symbol for the Wasatch Mountain Club. The summit is seldom visited as many people choose to stop at Lake Blanche, which sits just to the north of the peak. For those choosing to summit, it can be ascended via a Class 3 route on the southwestern side of the peak. In the spring and winter it offers an exhilarating snow/ice climb on it's northwest side.
The trailhead is located in Big Cottonwood Canyon. To reach Big Cottonwood Canyon take the 6200 S exit off Interstate 215 and follow the signs east for the Brighton/Solitude ski resorts. The trailhead is located 4.5 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon from the intersection of Wasatch Blvd at the mouth of the canyon. There is a parking lot on the righthand side of the road. This parking lot also serves as the trailhead for the Broad's Fork approach to Twin Peaks, Sunrise, & Dromedary peaks. The trail is located just past the restrooms on the east side of the lot and follows a paved trail for 1/4 of a mile.
There are no permits or fees required although parking can be limited on summer weekend days. Sundial Peak is located in the Twin Peaks wilderness area.
When To Climb
Generally, Sundial Peak is climbed from June through September. Winter ascents are common to the base of the peak, however, travel to the summit requires winter mountaineering skills. Ice axe and crampons are recommended past Lake Blanche when snow conditions exist.
Lake Blanche Approach
The main approach to Sundial is via the Lake Blanche Trail located 4.5 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. The trailhead is located at 6200 ft. The trail leaves from the east end of the parking lot and is paved for the first 1/4 mile. It then turns south at the creek and climbs along the creek for 200 yards to a footbridge. Cross the bridge and ascend into Twin Peaks wilderness area.
The trail climbs steadily for 2 miles and then steepens for the last 1 mile to Lake Blanche. The trail is well maintained to the lake. Upon reaching the lake proceed around the north end and cross the outlet of the lake on the west end. Continue in a southern direction toward the talus at the base of Sundial's north face. This area before the talus can be swampy in early spring. It is easier to stay a little west of the talus should you encounter these conditions.
When you are at the base of the talus, aim right (west) and climb up into a hanging valley to the west of the peak. Caution should be used in early spring to avoid snowbridges within the cliff bands. Continue in a southeasterly direction up into the hanging valley. The summit of Sundial will be visible on the ridgeline to your left (east). Continue in the hanging valley for about 3/4 miles and look for a small saddle on the ridge to the east. Climb 600 ft to the saddle. From the saddle scramble along the knife-edge ridge back to the northwest for about 300 yards. The actual summit is the highpoint on the ridge. Their is a summit register held down in a mailbox on the summit.
Camping is permitted anywhere in Twin Peaks wilderness area. This is Salt Lake City watershed area, so camping is prohibited within 200 ft of any water source.