|Craig at sunrise|
Craig and Jennilyn both expressed an interest in joining the group, but they had commitments later in the afternoon, so the 3 of us decided to start early ahead of the others, hoping we could make it up and back a little faster. We met at the Orson Smith trailhead and set off at 4:50 AM. We made quick work of the first few miles of Cherry Canyon until we reached the snow. It had been 5-6 years since I had been on this route and a few years for Craig as well. We took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the ridge. We post-holed for a while and finally got fed up and put on the snowshoes. We had to navigate some pretty awful terrain and it was quite cold. We were on a steep snow slope with a hard crust on top and then sugary powder below, making it difficult to move even with the snowshoes. After negotiating some boulders on the snowshoes and then getting into more bad snow our stoke for the summit was quickly dying. Getting off route slowed us down a lot and the mood wasn't great.
|Jennilyn on Enniss Peak|
Eventually we made it back to our route and started climbing the frozen slopes of Draper Ridge. The climbing was much faster and my attitude started to change, but it was very cold and now we had a stinging cold breeze to contend with. About a half mile from the top Craig started having issues with his new snowshoes. Jennilyn made a stop to change her socks and I started to get very cold. We got moving again and topped out on the ridge where Craig's foot came completely out of the snowshoe squashing any hope of a summit bid. Jennilyn was running out of time and both of them decided they were going to turn back. I was pretty bummed because I was really looking forward to getting to the summit, but I was hopeful that I could possibly meet up with the other group. After a long stop for Craig to mess with the snowshoe we started up to Enniss Peak. About half way up we saw the front-runners from MVH group traversing the slope up to Enniss and my mood quickly changed because now the summit was back on for me.
|Travis A. ans Steve B. with Lone Peak|
|Navigating the cirque. Photo by: Kendall Wimmer|
|Starting the ridge. Photo by Sam Jewkes|
|The ridge. Photo by Sam Jewkes|
|MVH on the first technical rock. Photo by: Kendall Wimmer|
|Making the final move before the top. Photo by: Stephen Lindsay|
|On the summit with Aaron Williams and Brian Peterson|
I spent about 15 minutes with the bite valve for my bladder in my mouth trying to thaw it out and eventually I was able to get some water flowing again. The descent back down the mountain was a slog. I was pretty tired and really wanted to get down. The views of the valley below were stunning as we had some really cool cloud formations forming. I stayed with MVH, Kendall and SteveB most of the way down. We finally took off the snowshoes with about 3.5 miles left and it felt great to get them off. The lower trail was now pretty icy which slowed us down some and then we had a little mud and I finally reached the trailhead about 10 hours after starting. It was definitely one of the most memorable days I've had in the Wasatch with old friends and new ones.
|Going home. Photo by Kendall Wimmer|