Fun climb! Not your everyday average BYU student "hike" of Timp. My axe and crampons were definitely put to good use! You hit snow almost from the get go. A HUGE slide has covered a large part of the initial Aspen Grove trail (some of the old paved section). When you get to it, just keep going straight and you will see the trail at the other end of the debris pile. At the second snow field you hit, just head to the top of it and you will be just below the trail; you will see it a few yards in front of you if you look carefully. Then you can stay on trail for a little while.
I saw probably a dozen sheep including some kids, and managed to get a few close up shots, but my digital camera wigged out when downloading to my computer and I lost the images!!!
The image I am most ticked about was a sweet shot of the Emerald Lake Shelter, with the roof and chimney just barely sticking out of the snow, and the glacier sweeping up in the background. Curses! There is still a ton of snow up there in the basins as can be seen from the pictures that did turn out.
The only dicey section of the climb was crossing over from the Emerald Lake Basin into Timpanogos Basin, heading towards the north saddle. Just as you are crossing into the basin, the snowfield is steep (close to 50 deg), and cliffs out below. Plus you are traversing which I think feels a little sketchier than just ascending. Once you get over about 50 yards, the cliffs below give way to steep snow fields so it is less scary. The picture below (left) is from on the snow field looking back. You can get a feel for what's below. The picture at right is from the same snowfield, looking at the North Saddle where one would normally see the Aspen Grove and Timpooneke trails merging.
There are also a couple steep snow fields covering the trail on the final ascent so keep your axe out. Same goes for the trail over to the glacier saddle. Most of the upper ridge is clear.
The old 2004 summit log is still in the hut, and no one has signed it for 2005 yet. I guess I am the first one this season to access it (not buried by snow). I don't know why all you guy that summitted this winter didn't dig it out to sign it :)
The glacier descent was fun. The initial headwall is pretty steep, and a little corniced in a couple spots, but solid (at least at 9 am). See image below. I kind of kicked in, and down climbed the first few feet, until I could glissade. No obstacles below so if you wanted to just go air born from the top you could.
Since I am the timing nazi, my time from trailhead to touching the summit hut was 3hrs:06min:54 sec. A lot longer than I anticipated, but the snow was a worthy obstacle.
Summary, this is an awesome mountaineering hike right now! Enough obstacles to keep it interesting. The snow fields are fun to negotiate. This put a new spin on hiking Timp for me, spicing it up nicely! Timp with Tobasco sauce!
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