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LaSal Mountains Traverse

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LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Thu May 30, 2013 8:41 am

Has anyone ever heard of someone doing this in a one day hike much like the Ten Mile Traverse in Summit Co? A straight line measurement of the range is about 13.84 miles. I would bet the traverse would be at least 15 to 16 miles with all the twists and turns of the main ridge of the 2 main groups and South Mountain.
Ragin Cajun

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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby SteveBonowski » Thu May 30, 2013 12:51 pm

I have not heard of anyone doing it, altho would suspect there are people in Moab who have done so. I've led Mts. Peale & Tuk for CMC a couple times, from La Sal Pass. There is dense timber south of the pass, going towards South Mountain. Good map/compass skills would be essential. There is now a route going up from the Pass, using the gully just west of Peale, to the ridge, which is the USFS ascent route. It's safe, but the rock in the gully is rather loose.

To get over to Tuk and back requires some rough & exposed Class III scrambling over a formation called the Razor Fang. Dropping off the ridge to the south to avoid the Fang is not a good idea because you end up on absolutely the worst scree field I've encountered in 30+ years of climbing in Colorado and elsewhere in the West.

I've not climbed on the ridge to the north of Peale. But given the problems just on the south end, I'd think it would be a really long day, and best done in June/July when there is maximum daylight.

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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby skiwall » Thu May 30, 2013 5:34 pm

I have friends who have done it. The final distance/vert was the reason I didn't join them. I think it was closer to 25-30 miles once you factor in trailhead to trailhead and hitting all of the peaks.

It's been several years, so I don't remember details. I could send them an email if you want.
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Thu May 30, 2013 9:46 pm

Skiwall, please contact them to get details, thanks! I've thought of skipping south mountain and just going down into Gold Basin from Tuk back over to Geyser Pass Rd. We'll see as the time draws closer.

Steve, I've done the middle group already and didn't find that ridge that difficult, but scree, loose talus is never fun, did them from LaSal Pass too! Ascending Mell had a lot of scree too, had me rethinking my life. :lol:
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby Scott P » Fri May 31, 2013 7:01 am

Michael Kelsey has done it, but in two stages and skipping South Mountain. I think he even did it in March as well. If it took MK 2 days in the early 1990's, it would take most people longer.

I guess I've done most of the traverse, but never all at once, but by little pieces over the years heading to various peaks (I used to live in the area). Of course the most challenging parts are the Razor Fang and the area around Waas (nothing remotely technical, but tedious boulders/scree).

The best time to do a traverse would be late May or early June when snow covers some of the scree. Some sections will require an ice axe for safe travel.
Last edited by Scott P on Fri May 31, 2013 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Fri May 31, 2013 8:00 am

Thanks for the info, it should be a doosey! Been watching the webcam of the LaSals for weeks now, it's looking good up there! But any local info would be nice from some of you Utah members!
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Fri May 31, 2013 8:33 am

In 2009, I spent 8 hrs doing the Middle group, 2 1/2 hours up to Tuk, 2 1/2 hours to Mell, 2 hours to Peale and an hour back to road below LaSal Pass. I glissaded that gulley west of Peale. Maybe I will post that old TR if anyone is interested.

let's say 2 1/2 hours to LaSal Peak, 10 min to Castle Peak, 45 min to Mt Waas, 45 min to pt 12,163, 30 min to Pilot Mtn, 1 hour to Manns Peak, 1 hour to Mt Tom, 1 hour down to TH at W Fork Burro Pass. 7 hours , 40 min so far?

30 min to Geyser Pass, 3 1/2 hour up to Mell, 2 hours to Peale, 1 hour and 15 min to Tuk, 2+ hours back to Geyser Pass Rd. 9 hours, 45 min....17+ hour day if everything goes good, but I don't count on that happening. Realistically it will probably be like 24 hours! :shock:

The plan is June 6th thru the 10th, North to South traverse, camp at Geyser Pass with bike, then ride back to Castleton Rd.
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Fri May 31, 2013 12:32 pm

Thanks Anna, those northfaces sure have some snow, but the southfaces are looking good. Plan on leaving Tuk down the NW ridge to Gold Basin, hopefully that basin has a packed trail on the road deep into the basin! I'm gonna need it! I wish the ridge coming off Laurel was just like the one on Tuk! Very nice pics btw!
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby geojed » Fri May 31, 2013 1:17 pm

I did Mellenthin from geyser pass and I liken it to climbing a 30deg slope covered in dinner plates. What made it even worse was powdery snow filled in all the gaps in the rocks which created Booby traps galore! :wft: Treeline has never looked so good!

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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby kaiman » Fri May 31, 2013 11:30 pm

Except for a bit of new snow on Tuesday which has already melted, the snow is going fast. I did a climb of Mellenthin's north face two weeks ago which required crampons and an axe on the steep spots but the snow is well consolidated.

I have done major portions of the route you describe but not in its entirety during one trip. If I was to do it I would have a shuttle vehicle parked at La Sal Pass and start in Beaver Basin (which requires a 4WD vehicle) and head south from there using the network of trails, ridge lines and dirt roads.

Looking at a map it looks like its about 15-16 miles if you included Waas, Manns, Tomaski, Mellenthin, Peale, and Tuk.

The trickiest part would be down climbing the Razor Fang. Otherwise you would have to descend Peale's standard gully route and then reclimb Tuk's shoulder which would add some mileage or you could just bail to La Sal Pass if you were spent.

Whatever you do I wouldn't recommend descending from Tuk into Gold Basin. I climbed Tuk from there last summer and you have to traverse over North Tuk and then drop down either a steep gully to the trail or a Class 2+ loose slope to the bottom of Gold Basin where the road ends. After a long day that is the last thing you will want to do trust me.

However you do it it should be a good adventure.

Happy trails!

kaiman
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:04 am

Kaiman, I was thinking about that gulley too and a small ridge to the east of that, I'm assuming that is your class 2+ slope. I was also thinking about staying on the ridge over pts 10,797, & 10,597, BM 9850, down that ridge to the Trans-LaSal Trail. You ever been that way before?

I don't have a 4x4, so the northside off Castleton Rd at Willow Basin/trail 34. I have the Manti-LaSal NF map and will look at it a little more to see where to start. But Beaver Basin can be hiked too!

I might make my camp between that TH and Geyser Pass. The temps seem to be a bit cooler at Geyser than the northside of the range. Must be some wind blowing through the gap. LaSal Pass is too far for me to ride back.

I just hope the weather is nice that day for a long ridge run.

I'm assuming you can drive up to Geyser pass?

Thanks for your input!
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Re: LaSal Mountains Traverse

Postby boudreaux » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:10 am

I'm gonna try to keep the pack lite to move fast, axe, crampons, poles. I was thinking shot blocks, goo, some candy, etc! Stuff the campsite or pass for a re-supply and keep moving.
Ragin Cajun

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