Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
Utah, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Nov 22, 2008
Activities:
Mountaineering
Season:
Winter
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Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).
Created On: Nov 25, 2008
Last Edited On: Apr 8, 2013

The Approach

In early November, the Wasatch Mountains of Utah received a series of storms covering the central range in four feet of luscious, powder snow. For two weeks, the skiing was good; but a continuation of warm, dry weather reduced the snowpack to a stout sun crust over sugar. From a skiing perspective this was depressing, but for early season winter climbing it was phenomenal! Lesson learned: If the snow gods give you a lemon...climb it!

Climbers: Alec, Brenton, Levi, Matt.


Pfeifferhorn
The North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn (middle-left).


 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Climbing the northeast couloir. Early season conditions provided some good mixed climbing that needed to be protected.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Pfeifferhorn poking above the forest.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Traveling through Maybird Gulch.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Approaching the northeast couloir (Variation B).
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The base of the couloir. Our first sun of the day (almost our only sun of the day).

The Lower Portion of the North Ridge

The northeast couloir maxed out around 50 degrees with a good mixed section. From this couloir we gained the north ridge. Brenton (fowweezer) began the climb through 4th class terrain. Although powder snow glazed many of the rocks, ample protection opportunities made the climb safe overall.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Matt (marauders) considering the options ahead, below the Lightning Bolt Crack.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Nearing the mixed portion of the northeast couloir (Variation B).
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Matt (marauders) leading the mixed portion of the northeast couloir.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The snow glazed rock of the lower north ridge.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The first portion of good, bare granite along the lower north ridge.

The Middle Portion of the North Ridge

After some good 4th class granite, the middle portion of the north ridge provides a fun, exposed traverse across a granite slab that ends in a steep couloir down the northwest face of Pfeifferhorn. Initially the slab looks harder than it really is. There is a network of cracks that provides secure footholds.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Brenton (fowweezer) leading the traverse.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Alec (PocketsOfBlue) providing a useful belay.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Brenton (fowweezer) reapproaching the crest of the north ridge.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Looking down on the granite slab. Just don't look down while your on it.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Alec (PocketsOfBlue) making his way across the slab.

The Crux & The Summit

After the granite slab, the north ridge narrows substantially and is bisected by the Lightning Bolt Crack. The crack appears slightly overhanging, with minimal features. Can it be climbed? Definitely. But that's not my cup of tea. Instead we took the standard route to the east of the crack. This circumvention places you on the northeast face where the crux moves exist. The 5.3 moves are simple, but the steep terrain, snow, crampons and gloves give it some added spice. Why climb this in the snow? Well, the ridge is normally a loose pile of granite. So the snow and ice help hold the rocks together. Don't dwell on that too much as you look between your legs!

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The crux moves circumventing the Lightning Bolt Crack.

 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Brenton leading toward the crux.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Looking straight down the northeast face. So exactly which rocks are solid?
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The last snow ridge to the summit.
 
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Descending the east ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.

Conclusion

Few climbs have provided the full adventure and satisfaction of the North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.
Great weather, great conditions, and superb partners. Life is rarely this perfect.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Glissading down Maybird Headwall.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Skiing down Maybird Gulch in early season conditions.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
Alec and the sunset.
North Ridge, Pfiefferhorn, Utah
The North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn.







Comments

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Viewing: 1-20 of 27
12
Moogie737

Moogie737 - Nov 26, 2008 10:47 am - Hasn't voted

Wow

That's all I can say: Wow. Nice going, you guys. A good example for all of us. Thanks.

Scott Wesemann

Scott Wesemann - Nov 26, 2008 11:06 am - Voted 10/10

Great Pics

Thanks for posting.

Deltaoperator17

Deltaoperator17 - Nov 26, 2008 11:09 am - Voted 10/10

Very Nice Picture Story

I just love picturebooks stories! thank you for sharing these!

All my best,

Steve

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Nov 26, 2008 11:35 am - Voted 10/10

Another beauty

Good work!

marauders

marauders - Nov 27, 2008 9:07 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: super

Ah, so true.

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Nov 27, 2008 8:27 pm - Voted 10/10

Coooooool

Cool photos, looks like fun!

marauders

marauders - Nov 27, 2008 8:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Thanks...

...everyone for the kind words.

tommi

tommi - Nov 28, 2008 3:09 am - Voted 10/10

Great

Really great, the photos are amazing, you did such a good job.
Thanks for sharing!

wyopeakMike

wyopeakMike - Nov 30, 2008 12:04 pm - Voted 10/10

great pics

awesome photos made me feel like I was on the route with you. Awesome job, well done!

tbacus

tbacus - Nov 30, 2008 1:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Lucky

We are all so lucky to have climbs like this in our backyard.

PellucidWombat

PellucidWombat - Nov 30, 2008 2:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Sooo jealous . . .

Kudos on an excellent climb!Plus you did a wonderful job documenting it with those excellent photos.

Cheers.

marauders

marauders - Dec 1, 2008 3:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Sooo jealous . . .

I loved your beta shots on this route, and I was mistakenly waiting for the sun to hit the east side of the ridge to get some cool lighting. Unfortunately, the November sunlight is far too low in the south sky. I'd like to hit the route again in March/April when the sun is a bit higher. I bet the photos would be even better.

edubbs

edubbs - Nov 30, 2008 6:58 pm - Voted 10/10

Beautiful

Great photos, looks like a wonderful place to be. Well done!

imontop

imontop - Nov 30, 2008 10:16 pm - Voted 10/10

Right on man!

Cool stuff as usual! Very nice photos!

Garfimi

Garfimi - Nov 30, 2008 10:40 pm - Voted 10/10

AMAZING!!!

Very well written trip. Excellent pictures. Pfeifferhorn is my favorite peak in the Central Wasatch. Awesome!

marauders

marauders - Dec 1, 2008 3:09 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Holy Crud!

Thanks! While the Wasatch is not a major alpine destination, there are definitely a few gems.

COTrekker02 - Dec 1, 2008 7:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Awesome

This is why I love SLC and the Wasatch. Great job, guys! I hope to climb the Pheifferhorn next Summer.

rasgoat

rasgoat - Dec 1, 2008 9:47 pm - Voted 10/10

Yeah!

Excellent photo's
looks like a trip that will be hard to forget!

dfrancom

dfrancom - Dec 2, 2008 12:52 am - Voted 10/10

Great

Wish I had come! I think you guys invited me on this one? I really missed out. Looked like the weather was really good!

marauders

marauders - Dec 2, 2008 12:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great

Yeah, we'll get out again soon.

Viewing: 1-20 of 27
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Wasatch Alpine Classic: North Ridge, Pfeifferhorn (Photo Trip Report November 2008).

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