Upwop Peak is one of the Wasatch 11,000 foot summits that resides on the Alpine Ridge, high above Little Cottonwood Canyon on the Hogum Fork headwall and head of the Dry Creek drainage above Alpine, Utah. There are several names given to this peak, such as UN 11,137, Hornypuff, Horny Pfeiff, sub-Pfeif, and others. The most common name for this summit seems to originate from some Wasatch Mountain Club members who adorned the name Upwop. (Un-named Peak West of Pfeifferhorn) Upwop Peak is also listed on the Wasatch 11,000 foot peaks list,
by Summitpost member Ammon Hatch.
The Pfeifferhorn, left, and Upwop Peak at the right.
Call it what you will, standing on this summit will give you some of the most dramatic and breathtaking views the Central Wasatch Range
has to offer. Pristine rugged granite ridges, glacial carved canyons, and the other classic Lone Peak Wilderness area summits are close at hand from Upwop. This peak offers some solitude with a short 1 hour side trip from the crowds on the Pfeifferhorn and the Red Pine drainage area, primarily during the summer season.
Upwop and the Pfeifferhorn, via the Coalpit/Hogum Fork Headwall.
Upwop Peak is also a summit reached on a portion of the popular Beatout Hike,
a challenging route leading from Red Pine Canyon across the Alpine Ridge, crossing several summits on the way. The Beatout terminates at the Bell Canyon Trailhead. Generally speaking Upwop Peak is the second summit encountered on the Beatout Hike.
TyeDyeTwins exceptional photo of Upwop, from upper Hogum Fork.
B.Yates awesome photo from Upwop during the Beatout Ridge Traverse, 2006.
A wintry seen from the Obelisk, looking south at Pfeifferhorn and Upwop Peak.
This peak is generally best accessed from the White Pine Trailhead area in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
From I-215, take the 6200 South Exit, (#6) and follow highway 190 curving around the gravel pit area south-east for 2 miles to the intersection at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Continue straight through the intersection south up the hill and follow the road, gradually curving south-east for another 4 miles to Little Cottonwood Canyon. Continue heading east up Little Cottonwood Canyon just over 5 miles past intersection at the mouth of the Canyon to the White Pine Trailhead. Keep an eye out for the access to the trailhead, located on the south side of the road. It is easy to miss for those not familiar with Little Cottonwood Canyon. Once reaching the trailhead area, there is a large parking lot and a restroom. The trail starts just behind the restroom building at the south west side of the parking lot.
Little Cottonwood Canyon is a watershed area, enforcing rules such as:
- No pets or other livestock.
- No group sizes exceeding 10 persons without a permit.
- No camping within 200 feet of lakes, trails, or other sources of water.
- No camping for more than 3 days at one site.
- No short cutting a trail switchback.
- No disposing of garbage, debris, or other waste.
- No open fires in the Red Pine Fork and Maybird Gulch drainages.
- The fish limit is 4 trout per day.
Back country campsites are abundant in the upper portions of White Pine Canyon, Red Pine Canyon, Maybird Gulch and Hogum Fork. For those wanting solitude these sites are suggested.
There are several improved Campsite locations in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the closest being Tanners Flat Campground.
More information for this campground below. Plan on booking this one well ahead of time!
Description: Elevation 7200 feet. 39 developed campsites tucked away in the canyon walls. Group facilities available.
Location: 4.15 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon on UT 210.
Address: Salt Lake Ranger District
Wasatch Cache National Forest
6944 South 3000 East
Salt Lake City, UT Phone: 801-733-2660
Season: late May or June- mid-October
Fee: $12/ individual; $75 group use
Reservations: tel: 1-877-444-6777
The Red Pine drainage and the standard route up the Pfeifferhorn
is the fasted approach to Upwop Peak, which resides just under half a mile west of the Pfeifferhorn. The East Ridge route
written by Pellucid Wombat
is a great resource for accessing the Pfeifferhorn's summit.
The route to Upwop from the Pfeifferhorn is straight forward, descending the Pfeifferhorn's west ridge just over 400 vertical feet to the saddle below. The west ridge is fairly steep, however will not exceed class 3 terrain unless getting off route. Once at the saddle, continue west up class 2 and 3 terrain up to the summit of Upwop, with a rough elevation gain of 200 feet.
Distance: 4.5 miles.
Elevation Gain: 3700 Feet.
Class 2 and 3.
Upwop Stats: (From Pfeifferhorn)
Distance: .45 miles.
Elevation loss and gain: -406 feet to saddle, + 198 feet to summit.
Class 2 and 3.
This photo shows granite thrusted upward under much older precambrian quartzite strata.
Geological Relief Map of Utah.
[img:554986:aligncenter:medium:Upwop Peak and Pfeifferhorn, with the ridge traverse between. ]
[img:554993:aligncenter:medium:From the summit of Upwop looking east at the Pfeifferhorn.]
[img:559705:aligncenter:medium:Terrain encountered on Upwop's north west ridge.]
Other routes exist for this summit, though longer, from Dry Creek, the Lake Hardy area, Bells Canyon, and technical routes up the Hogum Fork Headwall.
When to climb and gear.
This peak can be reached year round. The primary time is usually during the summer season between June to October. A good sturdy pair of hiking boots and trekking poles will come in very handy on the standard route during this time, as some scrambling/boulder hopping exists on some portions. The upper area of Red and White Pine Canyons is ideal for back country ski touring and snow shoeing throughout the winter months. The upper ridge areas are prone to avalanche activity, check out the Avalanche Center link in the weather section for current snow conditions, and have the standard avy gear needed during this time. Spring ascents can be made ideally through mid-April to late May. An ice axe is highly recommended, and crampons depending on the snow pack and conditions. Again even during the spring and early summer seasons use discretion on the ridge areas where larger cornices are involved.
Access from Little Cottonwood Road is open year round, with the exceptions of heavy storm systems moving in and temporarily shutting down the road.
[img:468024:aligncenter:medium:A wintry seen from the Obelisk, looking south at Pfeifferhorn and Upwop Peak.]
The Wasatch has constantly changing weather conditions, especially at higher altitudes where this peak resides. Included is a link for the local weather information for Alta Ski Resort, near the summit at the head of Little Cottonwood Canyon:
Alta Weather Conditions.
For those choosing winter attempts, please check out the avalanche conditions before heading out. Included is a link:
Utah Avalanche Center Info.
The geologic composition of Upwop and much of the Lone Peak Wilderness area is Granite, the formation locally known as the "Little Cottonwood Stock." What is probably the most interesting about the granite here is it's age, it is the youngest of the rock strata forming the Central Wasatch Range. It was formed from upward thrusting magma (heated Proterozoic crust) from the earth's mantle about 30 million years ago. The magma reached a depth of 6 miles beneath the surface, then slowly cooled. Another term for this phenomenon is "Igneous Intrusive," which is common with other rock strata such as Basalt. Upwop and the Pfeifferhorn are both considered "glacial horns," much of their shape was formed during glaciation events from the most recent ice age.
The Little Cottonwood Stock was eventually exposed by upward displacement of the Wasatch Fault. Actual composition of the strata consists primarily of feldspar, quartz, biotite, horneblende, and smaller trace elements of apatite, zircon, magnetite, and sphene. Some of the larger feldspar crystals, technically referred to as phenocrysts, measure in sizes from .5 to 2 inches.
When up in the area remember that the rock you are traveling across made a 6 mile vertical journey to get where it's at today from below the surface of the earth, now exposed at over 11,000 feet. The photo below shows the intense uplifting of the Wasatch Fault looking over Red Pine and Little Cottonwood Canyons at the Cottonwood Ridge. The actual composition of the Cottonwood Ridge is the Big Cottonwood Formation, a reddish-orange pre-cambrian quartzite roughly 500 million years old, with the Little Cottonwood Stock underneath it.
[img:554998:aligncenter:medium:This photo shows granite thrusted upward under much older precambrian quartzite strata.]
[img:543628:aligncenter:medium:Geological Relief Map of Utah.]
Forest Service Information:
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Salt Lake Ranger District
6944 South 3000 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84121
Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
A great source of information for summits, routes, and general information is the book Wasatch Eleveners, written by Randy Winters.