Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hiking Mt. Timpanogos

Mt. Timpanogos from Pleasant Grove. Saturday September 3rd after our hike.

From the south with Payson in the foreground.

From the southwest side of Utah Lake. Just to the left (north) of the tallest section (the highest point is the north point of that plateau looking section) is the lower lying saddle--which is the point where the two trail coming from the north and east finally reach the crest of the mountain.

The east side of Timp from Brighton. The highest point is in the center with the saddle to the right (north) just beyond the big shadow cast by the summit.

Rising to 11,752 feet, Mt Timpanogos is the second highest peak of Utah's Wasatch Range. It is also a popular hike, with the Labor Day weekend being one of the busiest times. There are two trails to the top and people all have varying opinions about which route is the best and when is the best time to hike. Back in 1997, newlyweds Marie and I made the hike via the the Timpooneke trail beginning at about 3:00 AM so we could be on top for the sunrise. In 2009 I made a second assent with the Young Men in our ward. We left at about 6:00 AM in the cool of a July morning--also long the Timpooneke trail. Two years ago Sarah made her first attempt with the youth of the ward. They left early morning from the Aspen Grove base near Sundance on the Timpanogos trail. The group got started on the wrong trail and by the time they corrected and back tracked they only had time and energy to get as far as Emerald Lake. Ever since then Sarah has been wanting to give it another try. It was on her list to do this summer. Joel was also excited to give it a try. Reluctant Will decided the night before to give it a try, even though he has long protested about going on 'hikes". Marie who is a slow and steady hiker, decided to sit this one out lest she slow down the whole group.

We were out the door at 4:10 AM. Marie kindly volunteered to shuttle us there since parking is at a premium on summer weekends. Good thing she helped out, the lot at Timpooneke was full when we arrived. We set out at 5:00 AM with flash lights in hand. Early on we passed two groups of returning hikers who had gone up and back all in the dark. A nice way to avoid crowds and mid-day heat, but they missed all of the beautiful scenery.

First rest, in the dark.

We climbed about two hour in the dark to an elevation that allowed for great views of sunrise colors.

Looking to the northeast.

Sarah thought the colors and textures of this mountain side looked like an oil painting. About an hour into the hike Sarah took a rest stop and forgot to pick up her cute red Art Institute of Chicago sweat shirt she inherited from her grandma Emmett. Seven hours later we found it tied up on a bush by some kind soul for the owner to happily pick up on descent.

It was at about this point that Will figure out that after two hours of upward hiking there was still at least two-three hours left to go before we reached the summit. He started to grumble that he wouldn't have come had he know that it was such a LONG HIKE. I reminded him that I had explained the whole thing the night before including how long of a hike it was. I continued to patiently answer his questions every ten or so minutes about what time it was and how much longer it would take. Luckily a trip to the grocery store the night before had him well supplied with energizing snacks and food.

We had fun spotting pika in several of the large rocky slopes along the way. The non-hibernating pika harvest grass and other foods and store them in granaries in the rocks to eat during the long winters.

July is the best time for wild flowers. These are the daisy remnants.

photo by Joel

photo by dad. Joel's i-phone captured the right shading much better.

The northern-most peak of the Timpanogos crest. Timpanogos Cave lies beneath it.

Good Samaritan Joel let Sarah wear his long sleeve shirt when higher elevation meant lower temperature.

The summit.

It was cloudy most of the day and even threatened rain, but it never did.

Group hug. The saddle, in the left center of the photo, was our next stop and Will was not happy at how much further we still had to go.

A lonely mountain goat--center in white.

Several groups of goats.

Will decided that he only wanted to climb to the saddle so Sarah and Joel headed out at a quicker pace so they could make it to the summit.

Tasty currants.

Last of the lupines. Almost all had already gone to seed.

The view of Utah Valley and Utah Lake from the saddle.


Cold and strong westerly winds made us all glad we had brought an outer wind break layer.

While waiting for Sarah and Joel, Will and I sought shelter for lunch on the leeward side of the crest which was out of the wind. This is our view to the east with Heber Valley in the distance.

Waiting for siblings to safely return.

Western foothills of Timp.

 Four photos by Joel--when they arrived at the saddle this mountain goat was happily grazing among the dozens of passing hikers.

Way to go Sarah and Joel. They made it to the windy top.

Then they hurried down the rocky trail.

It took Dad and Will five hours to get to the saddle and Sarah and Joel 5 1/2 to get to the summit.

Down we go. My knees were not happy.

Waiting while others ate their lunch. His good humor and adventuresome spirit had returned.

Sun, warmth, beauty and happiness.

Beyond the far crest of mountains lie Brighton, Alta and Snowbird.

The trail zig zags down through this formidable slope.

We enjoyed seeing the beauty of the lower portion of the hike that we passed earlier in the dark. The Timpooneke trail has more trees, shade and beauty (so I've been told) than the other trail. We arrived at the parking lot at 2:20 where Marie was waiting with chocolate milk, cold water and a smile.

Timp Summit looking South. Bishop Emmett on the right with the four leaders and four Teachers and Priests of the Spring Creek 18th ward during our high adventure. July 18th 2008.

Looking down on Emerald Lake and the yet-to-melt snow fields.

For more photos of that climb go to this Flickr Album:

Unplanned, I wore this favorite shirt of mine on my last two Timp hikes--perhaps subconsciously in honor of my one great feat of mountaineer. I bought it in 1993 at the refuge shelter half way up the slope of Mt Cotopaxi in Ecuador. I was traveling in Latin America so I could be better prepared to teach my Latin American geography class. When my adventure travel group offered an add on hike up Cotopaxi, I happily decided to give it a try--even though my only other attempt at serious mountain climbing was with my brothers up through the snow field of Mt. Teewinot in the Grand Teton Range.

Mt Cotopaxi. At 19,347 feet it is the highest active volcano in the world.

At such a high elevation, I could only take about 50 steps before my lungs would scream for me to stop and allow in more oxygen.

The one other guy in our group, who was the one who arranged for the Cotopaxi add on hike, sadly got altitude sickness and remained in the refuge while I slowly made it to the top with our two guides. I don't think they ever thought I would be able to make it but I did.

1 comment:

  1. So cool, Chad! Thanks for sharing. Re: Cotopaxi: We didn't make it to the top, but we DROVE up the side of the volcano, which gets one pretty far! We were in Ecuador 1999-2001. Our daughter Susan graduated from, you guessed it, Cotopaxi Academy in Quito!