Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Brighton Ridge Run

Yesterday, Steve and I wanted to make an effort to do the Brighton Ridge Run, which generally includes a few peaks and then back to the car. We, however, decided to extend the trip and try and summit 6 peaks, making a full loop all the way back to the car.

It has been very hot all week with temperatures in the 90s, but on Sunday a storm rolled in, dropping the temps and a whole lot of rain in the valley. It continued through the night, depositing about 4 inches of snow in the mountains above 8,000 ft. Our trip was going to be dodgy to say the least, but we felt that if we woke to no rain/snow that we would still make an attempt.

We met at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon at 6 am and made our way up to the Brighton Ski Resort parking lot by 6:25 or so. On the trail by 6:30 we had little need for our headlamps even though we wore them for the first 20 minutes or so. Neither of us had hiked from that trailhead before so route finding was a little tough at first. We had to do some cross-country trekking before we finally got on the right trail, but it only slowed us down a total of about 5 minutes.

We ran into consistent snow once we got to about 9,500 ft and after that spent the rest of the time hiking in no more than 3 inches of snow.

Our first peak was a no name peak, 10315 (elev.). On the summit it was still partly cloudy and you could see all of the peaks we were attempting to hike. In the picture below you can see all the peaks, 5 in all if you know where to look.

Me on the summit of 10315.

Once on top of Pioneer Peak you got a goo look down into the valley. Below you can see the smaller lake, Lake Catherine, and the larger one is Mary's Lake. This was about the end our our partly cloudy skies as we got closed in by clouds for the most part of the rest of the trip.

Route finding was easy considering we couldn't see very far. The route is straight forward and makes a horse shoe shape around the lakes pictured above. Once on the ridge, you simply stay on it until you are right back at the car. There were times when the clouds would break and we would get a good look at the surrounding area. For a short time we even had a good look into Albion Basin and even caught sight of Devil's Castle and Sugarloaf. It lasted about 5 minutes and then we were socked in again.

Below you can see me peak jumping on Tuscarora, our 4th peak of the day. By this time we had very limited field of vision, but our spirits weren't dampened and we thoroughly enjoyed every part of the hike.

Millicent was our last summit and just as we got done taking photos a storm rolled in and it started hailing heavily on us, with wind gusts upwards of 50+ mph. It was a bit scary going down, but once off the summit cone we were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the hike down.

We completed the whole hike in almost exactly 4 hours. It was extremely fun and I would love to go back when the weather is better and I can enjoy the views more. What a great trip.

1 comment:

Rob said...

"What a great trip." Wait just a second here, your great trip consisted of hiking through newly fallen snow in cold temps then getting nailed by a hailstorm? Dude, picture this - Labor day, nobody at the gate buttress in the afternoon, three classic pitches in perfect temps.

That is my idea of a good time, just FYI.