Timpanogos, west face/ winter ascent.

Timpanogos, west face/ winter ascent.

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 40.39075°N / 111.64568°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Mar 14, 2009
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Winter

Into the darkness

User Profile ImageLoverly view of the ridge we used to the top.

Our plan was to begin our winter summit attempt at 4 AM therefore I decided to try and squeeze in a little shut eye before our adventure. My roommate (who is too "duff" to climb) was in the next room live chatting with a girl he met on the internets. Well...apparently he had the volume up as high as it would go...needless to say I didn't get any sleep. When 3:30 AM rolled around I just got my gear together and called the boys. I picked up Jason and we drove to Tyler's and jumped in his vehicle that took us up to the Dry Canyon parking lot. It was probably 20 degrees or so but soon I was all like Richard Simmons and sweatin' to the oldies. Soon it became apparent that we would not need the services of our snowshoes and stashed them in the bushes.
User Profile ImageAfter we stashed the shoes...(deer in headlights).
The trail up Dry Canyon to the Big Baldy (Timp's Pregnant Belly) is relatively pleasant and joyous...not too steep and easy going. The ridge was very easy to find...I mean it's pretty much all you can see going up.

The Ginsu Ridge Variation

From our from angles (in Tyler's back yard) it looked like the ridge south of Everest Ridge would be easier. I have no idea if that is true but will soon find out in a few weeks. It only took us about an hour to reach the base of the ridge and the snow was perfect. Purchase was easy as our crampons bit into the solid snow. The valley was clear below us and the wind and sun sculpted snows of Timpanogos loomed above us. We couldn't believe that some of our friends were too wimpy to come and enjoy the majestic beauty of it all. The work up the mountain was strenuous to say the least. At the first band of cliffs we traversed to the right rather than risk some epic class 5 climbing. The detour took us a while and when we finally made it back to the ridge again I had to poo.
User Profile ImageIf you notice my legs are kind of scrunched together to help tell my bowels who's boss...Jason said he thinks I have a problem with my bowels
After my friends had cleared out and I did my business it was time to run on after them. The steep climb of maybe 45 - 50 degree slope continued on as the sun began to rise. We were in the shadow of the mountain and thus could not feel it directly.
User Profile ImageTyler climbs up the ridge as the sun erases the shadow...I was Tyler's shadow until we got to the saddle
We decided to once again circumvent some cliffs by going to the north of them. This proved difficult as we soon found ourselves in very deep powder. Trudging up the slope set my legs burning but on we pressed and were rewarded with a great view of the sun over the top of a cornice.
User Profile ImageAnders looks over a cornice at the sun spilling over Cascade Peak to the south.
At first we thought the sunrise was a boon but soon found out how hellish it could be. It got hot and quickly. The snow which had once been perfect turned into a slushy quagmire. (Note to self: start at midnight next time).
User Profile ImageTyler climbs back to the ridge after another traverse.
It seemed that the closer we got to the saddle the slower and more tired we became. The wind started out as a breeze as we got about one hundred feet below the saddle and increased steadily. The snow also became much better media for our crampons to bite into.

Saddle to the Summit

Arriving at the summit gave me one of the best feelings in the history of everness. It seemed a huge victory at the time and worth all the energy to get there. However, first things first...I had to pee.
User Profile ImageThis is Anders making some yellow snow on top of the Timp Saddle. Anders just doesn't pee anywhere.
It was very cold on the saddle. The wind was probably blowing around 30 MPH and the temperature was maybe around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the view was spectacular. Jason and Tyler took shelter on a snow ledge right under the saddle to get out of the wind.
User Profile ImageTyler's view from the Saddle.
I got too cold to sit around and decided to get moving.
User Profile ImageTyler and Jason getting ready for the summit push while sheltering from the wind at the top of the glacier.
The summit ridge was scary to say the least. There were many sketchy parts and walls that we had to free climb...nothing over ten feet but a fall would have been disastrous. Looks like my rock climbing hobby came in use, but I'm sure we could have found an easier traverse but I decided to chase after the mountain goats (J/K, we didn't see any).
User Profile ImageAnders in the far ground with his tracks on the edge of a cornice...step lightly boys!
Apparently, my companions had misgivings about going on. It was already 1:30 PM when we reached the saddle. The ridge got worse and even more treacherous as we went on. At one point there was a tongue of snow about six feet long and eight inches wide with big falls to the right or left...aka probably death. Not to mention the wind was still blowing as hard as ever. I was holding out on my last granola bar for the top and was so looking forward to it. We finally arrived at the summit at around 3 PM. I was dismayed that I had already eaten my last granola bar! (2nd note to self: bring more granola next time).
User Profile ImageAnders grumbling about not having any more granola while sheltering from the wind against the shed at the summit.
There were some really cool guys at the top who were going to ski down the face of timp (and actually did). They were nice and took pictures of us since we didn't feel like taking any.
User Profile ImageJason, Anders, and Tyler. I hate the way the hood on my Arcteryx Theta hood makes me look...

Getting Down

Since I had run out of granola, and we didn't feel like traversing back the way we came, we all thought we were going to die. Actually, we were just tired and wanted to get going. So we ended up walking off the edge right at the summit shed and probably 5 minutes later there was no wind and it felt like it was forty degrees. It was now time to glissade, and let me tell you...30 minutes after we left the summit we were down at the top of Battle Creek Canyon (named so because of a battle between Indians and Mormon settlers in the 1800's).
User Profile ImageAnders glissades down the face of Timp...putting his ice axe brake to good use.
The problem with glissading so far was that we now were on the other side of Big Baldy. We decided to just go down Battle Creek Canyon. Tyler called his GF and asked her if she would come pick us up...which she did! What a nice girl. We were finally pulling away from our adventure at about 6 PM. It only took us a little over 2 hours to get down...insane compared to the summit time. Anyway, it was epic.


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Viewing: 1-3 of 3

Beanusless - Sep 19, 2010 10:07 pm - Hasn't voted

I want to come next time

Just kidding, I'm only 17. But that sounds like it was a blast. Good trip report, too. Nice pictures


johnplocher - Nov 11, 2012 12:41 pm - Voted 9/10


Me and my friend did Mt. Timp from the Aspen Grove side during the Winter and made it almost to the peak. Weren't you guys afraid of the avalanches? When we were there we saw a lot of them and actually causes a few ourselves.


PrinceOfNorway - Nov 12, 2012 12:26 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Impressive

We were a little wary of avalanche but sticking to the ridges kept us out of the danger zone for the most part. Also, we were lucky enough to find a few days free of new snow fall so the snow pack had a chance to settle. There were also several skiers that went down before us, so we felt we could glissade down with relative safety. I really would like to climb Timp in the winter again, maybe go up the Everest Ridge instead. It is a very beautiful mountain, especially in winter.

Viewing: 1-3 of 3