| Taste of the Wasatch (UT) – 3 of 3
Tour de Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks, 11,330' and 11,328'
Wasatch Mountains, Utah
9-mile loop (up standard, down North Ridge Robinson Variation), 5,300+ total feet of gain, Class 3-4
Broads Fork Trailhead
Our third and final Wasatch climb over Labor Day weekend ended up being the toughest of them all.
We started up the super-steep trail at 5:50 a.m. Same as the previous two days, we could see without our headlamps by 6:40 a.m.
The trail up Broads Fork was easy to follow yet overgrown. Let's just say a machete would've been handy.
My bare legs got scraped up quite a bit, but I was more concerned with poison ivy and ticks. Thankfully, the trail didn't contain either of those threats.
Our previous two days of climbing were tough and I was beginning to feel the pain. My shoulder blade felt like someone had just hammered a nail in there and my feet were blistered and bruised.
Eventually, we broke out of the bushes and saw some of the route we would be taking before us (crudely drawn with red arrows).
In that valley we enjoyed the mellower trail. But it didn't last long.
And it wasn't all daisies; there were a lot of sharp things, like bees … and these evil weeds from hell:
We caught up with a couple climbers ahead of us, right about the time we started ascending an annoyingly loose scree/grass field. After expressing our displeasure with some choice four-letter words, we made it to a much more solid boulder field.
In photos, the ridge doesn't look so bad, but it steepens as you near it. We saw some climbers ahead of us working their way across some cliff bands on the right, but we chose a route just left of center (near the low point of the ridge/saddle).
Some parts were steep, and there was some loose rock to deal with, but there were plenty of solid holds to be found.
The large group ahead of us was breaking on the ridge. That's when I realized that Jen and I were the only ones wearing helmets. Does no one wear helmets on Class 3 and/or loose-rock climbs in Utah?
The ridge was tons of fun. I couldn't ask for better Class 3 climbing.
We pretty much stayed on the ridge crest, occasionally dipping down a bit on the left side.
When we came to a wall, we took an interesting ledge system down the left. Well, okay, it was more like a crack system …
When that horizontal crack became too small, we down climbed to a wider ledge below. That ledge brought us to a really cool crack/notch that led back up to the ridge proper. While it was steep, it had many solid hand and foot holds. The chockstone at the top appeared troublesome from below, but it wasn't so bad when we got up to it.
Beyond that crux, the remaining route to the top was fairly easy, just some Class 2 stuff.
Under perfect skies, we gained the east summit at about 10 a.m.
Photo of the west summit, taken from the east summit, with Salt Lake City far below (and Salt Lake to the right):
After wolfing down some food and chatting with a few locals, we scrambled over to the west summit, which only took us about 8 minutes.
Gaining the west summit:
View to the south (Pfeifferhorn and Timpanogos, which we climbed the prior two days, can be seen):
View of the east summit from the west summit:
Crossing the ridge from the west summit to the east summit (the east summit's north ridge dominates the photo):
At 10:40 a.m. we were back on the east summit. From there we decided to take the Robinson Variation route down the east summit's north ridge.
Move it, goats:
At first, the ridge was easy. But it kept us on our toes as it posed some interesting routefinding challenges.
We even found ourselves making a couple Class 4 moves here and there.
It was weird to be scrambling on some tricky stuff with trees around. I was tempted to hang onto branches at times, but I convinced myself the rock would be better.
Just when we thought we were home free, more obstacles had to be navigated around or over.
When we got to a low point on the ridge, we began our descending traverse (in hindsight, we should've climbed up the ridge farther and then traversed higher up). We quickly found ourselves in a routefinding quandary.
From above, our chosen path didn't look so bad. But as we descended the slope became steeper and the broken shale became looser.
We aimed for some slabs of rock that looked easy to cross, but when we got to them they were much steeper than they looked from above. Plus they were covered with marble-like pebbles. One slip/tumble and you'd slide over a cliff.
We carefully scampered below one slab and found a loose ledge to cross.
Long story short, descending that wide gully took a long time and it was mentally draining. By the time we made it back to the ponds (and the junction of the main trail) at 1:15 p.m., we were pretty spent. From there, we bushwhacked (literally) our way back down the steep trail and made it back to the parking lot at 2:15 p.m.
Climbing these peaks felt like a real accomplishment and it was a great way to finish our Taste of the Wasatch.
Post-climb, we enjoyed some awesome food and decent beers at the Bohemian Brewery. The Twin Peaks could be seen from the Bohemian's parking lot:
Before leaving we had to hit a couple stores … and take one last look at the Twin Peaks from the airport:
Here's a rough look at the upper portion (loop) of our climb:
Overall, we had a great time in Utah. Thanks again to everyone who offered suggestions on which mountains to climb!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):