Monday, July 30, 2007
Where have I been....oh!....Paradise!
This is a picture of our destination...Mt. Timpenogos. Folks say the mountain looks like a lady lying down starting from your left is the head, then the bust and at the end is the feet. We climbed the Timpenooke trail to the top and traversed from the saddle near the feet to the bust then just before the face we dropped down and slid down the glacier to a meadow.
Here's the details and pictures:
After about an hour drive from Deer Valley we arrived at the trail head to begin the climb. We had maps and read stuff on the web but all we really knew is it was 7.5-9 miles up and you gained 4,500 feet to top out at 11,750. We had heard the trail was in great condition and the wildflowers were in full bloom so we were excited.
Right off the bat we see another person who looks like an ultra runner. She had very little gear, trail shoes and running clothes for a mountain climb so it had to be an ultra runner. It was Deborah Askew. Very small world as she knows all the Oregon runners so it was fun to talk with her. She said it takes her about 3 hours to summit the mountain.
The climb was nice and gradual with a couple of beautiful plateaued meadows filled with wildflowers. The trail was fabulous and mostly runnable if you could breath and were in good shape. The view behind us wasn't bad either. Part of the Wasatch course is in the background as we continued our climb. It seemed quick but we were half way up when Deborah's husband pointed out a moose bedded down in the meadow below. That was ourfirst wildlife treat! The mountain was in full view the entire way up the trail and rough rocky cliffs seemed to go on forever. It was crazy to think we would soon be on top of it. The trail to the top was cut into the scree on the sides of the cliffs and large switchbacks led the way. The Timpenooke trail summits at the saddle just before the feet of lying woman. You continue on the ridge line trail which is very narrow and rocky but safe, just don't take the wrong step. The picture to the left of Beast and I was taken on the saddle. We obviously wanted to go to the summit, the highest point on Timpenogos. We also were hoping to see some Mountain Goats, a herd was spotted earlier. Once you get to the summit there is a hut and you can sign you name. At this point you have two choices. One, continue on the ridge towards the face of lying lady and slide straight down the only glacier or turn around and re-trace your steps. At the summit we began talking with some young hikers who have been here at least 4 other times and have slid down the glacier and they ensured us it would be mild with the low snowfall Utah had this last winter. We decided to follow them and check it out. If we felt it was to dangerous we could just turn around and head back. We decided to have some fun and slide down. It was such an adventure and a total blast. In the picture to the left where Beast is sliding down you can see the green meadow below, that is our destination which is about 9,500 feet at about 2 miles below the summit. At the bottom of the glacier is a beautiful lake called Emerald Lake. We filtered water from the lake then just as we were continuing our journey down the mountain we see the Goats, two mama's and two baby's. Beast made me duck down so we wouldn't scare them but I watched the mama and I am sure she was telling her baby, "look at those crazy humans ducking down so we can't see them, don't pay any attention to them". They didn't look to concerned with our presence and I got a good picture of them. After we crossed this meadow it was down a nice trail along a scree field, all very runnable. Beast and I split up for the 5 mile run downhill to the car. I put on my headphones and jammed down the mountain happy and satisfied, summiting Mt. Timpenogos, seeing a moose and goats, sliding down a snow field and running through paradise. This is one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done. Anytime anyone has an opportunity to be near Sundance, Midway, Heber or Park City this is a must do! I will be back. The altitude was tough but better and my legs are coming back!