Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Day in the Mountains

I was in high school the first time I hiked Mount Timpanogos. Some friends heard of a route up the front of the mountain and invited me to come help them find it. In the following years, an early season hike up the front of Timp became something of a tradition.

This week I revived (or at least revisited) the tradition. Down in the valley, a lot has changed in 20 years, but Timpanogos is a bit more constant.

Tuesday, we started out from the Dry Canyon trailhead (a luxury that wasn't available in the 80s), hiked to the saddle between Baldy and Timp and, from there, headed south, hopped onto the snow and hiked to the ridge.

The Route

Snow and weather conditions were just about perfect. The company was good. The mountain was beautiful. It was great to be back.

I'll save you a few thousand words with these pictures:

Mount Nebo smiles down on Utah Valley from the morning haze.

The sun seemed determined to support our effort. In the early going she lit things up, but stayed behind the mountain, so it wasn't too hot. She came over the top in time to keep us warm as we got to the higher, cooler altitudes. Then on the way down, just as we were getting to the warmer air and off the snow, she ducked behind some friendly clouds, keeping the temperatures down while we hiked out.

Toward the top, we started sinking into the softer snow, so we decided to hop onto the ridge between the two northern drainages as we worked our way up.

Russell leads out on the final pitch.

From the saddle, looking north-west toward the summit. The wind, perhaps encouraged by a storm that was coming in, was really whipping toward the top. Would have been a nice day for prayer flags.

On the way down, the soft snow ruled out boot skiing, so we went with plan b.

The lower parts of the mountain are starting to green up nicely and on the hike out we encountered a variety of flora and fauna, including...

these tiny white flowers that are among the first things to blossom after the snowmelt, and...

these cheerful yellow fellows.

On the fauna side, we saw two big horn sheep on the cliffs at the entrance to Dry Canyon (the first I've seen in these parts), and...

a couple of blow snakes, including this little one who moved remarkably well considering the size of the lunch it was still digesting.

1 comment:

Zina said...

Mary's Fb teasers had left me curious, so thanks for filling in the details. A couple of these photos pretty well terrify me, so I can tell this hike wouldn't be a good choice for me.