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Lone Peak Cirque conditions and approach


Original Post
Fan Zhang · · Silver Spring, MD · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,171

Thinking about heading up to Lone Peak Cirque in a couple weeks. Any one been up there recently or care to guess what the conditions might be like on the approach and at the meadow by then? Post holing? Running snow melt? Never been up there before but the approach beta on MP is intimidating. Any comparison to something like the approach for Mt. Whitney via North Fork of Lone Pine Creek? On paper, Lone Peak Cirque approach looks much harder. Thanks!

Stan McKnight · · AZ · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 261

I was in SLC last week and the top of lone peak is still completely covered in snow. I haven't been up to the cirque myself but judging from the way the mountains looked it would be very difficult to do the approach. 

Fan Zhang · · Silver Spring, MD · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,171

Thanks Stan. Very helpful. 

Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

My buddies climbed center thumb last week and the route was dry. They said only the north facing walls looked wet. They approached on skis. I haven’t been up there yet but the snow was good getting up to the pfeifferhorn Friday night and stayed good for the midday descent. We didn’t use snowshoes once, despite having brought them. Approach in the evening and you definitely won’t have issues. Bring microspikes for the steeps on the approach and definitely for the snowy petes staircase descent (this is the typical descent). Possibly even a crampons and axe for this descent route, as it’s sorta steepish and really exposed. I’m hoping to head up in the next couple weeks. I would definitely recommend getting the gps tracks and throwing them on your phone (google earth) or gps if you haven’t done the approach before. the trail is hard to find even without snow. At the very least you should study the mountain so you can find your way without the trail. 

Fan Zhang · · Silver Spring, MD · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,171

Thanks Devin. Great advice.

Jonathan Brown · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Mar 2019 · Points: 0

I was reading your post at lunch today so I snapped this on the way back to the office.  The snow is receding fast.  There's definitely a lot less white than even a week ago.  I'll  try & remember to take a better picture for you (not through my windshield while stopped at a red light).
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

Yet this is the web cam at Alta looking at Sugarloaf Peak, with Devil's Castle in the background. All at an elevation similar to the Lone Peak Cirque. Snowbird is reporting a base depth of 100" (they measure at around 9K').

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 1,200

Looks like some sweet ski in ski out devils castle climbing

Glen Kaplan · · Salt Lake City, UTAH · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
bus driver wrote: Looks like some sweet ski in ski out devils castle climbing

I’m in! That sounds lovely.   Holler.    

EricQuilter · · Park City, UT · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Don’t forget skin wax!

Eric Chabot · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 45

bump. Any conditions reports?

CoppiJ · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined May 2012 · Points: 5

Was up there on Saturday. Still plenty of snow, but travel conditions were ideal - mostly compacted snow with little to no post-holing. Made for fast approaching and descending. I will say we probably hit the sweet spot for snow coverage. As the boulder field starts melting out more, the snow will be weaker and it'll be easier to find those holes. Crampons were a must, the ramp down to the rappel station would be waaay sketchy without them. It's going to be a long Lone Peak season this year.

 
Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
CoppiJ wrote: Was up there on Saturday. Still plenty of snow, but travel conditions were ideal - mostly compacted snow with little to no post-holing. Made for fast approaching and descending. I will say we probably hit the sweet spot for snow coverage. As the boulder field starts melting out more, the snow will be weaker and it'll be easier to find those holes. Crampons were a must, the ramp down to the rappel station would be waaay sketchy without them. It's going to be a long Lone Peak season this year.
 

Thanks for the update! That ramp is pretty much the only thing stopping me from heading up there already, mainly cause I don't feel like lugging snow gear up a route. Would you have done the ramp in micro spikes? How long would you guestimate before the ramp is dry, or at least passable without snow gear? 

CoppiJ · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined May 2012 · Points: 5

Having crampons was worth the weight, you'd probably be fine with micro spikes. Probably another 2 weeks tops of warm weather to melt it out so you don't have to touch any snow on the ramp.

garrett knorr · · salt lake city · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 85

I did not bring crampons today and felt comfortable on the ramp. We descended the ramp at 230 and the snow was plenty soft. After sliding down the steepest part of the ramp, we hiked down the rocks to the side of the snow (but closer to the edge) which was totally fine. We did bring one ice axe for the ramp just incase but I will not bring that up the climb if I return next week.
Just my opinion, do what makes you feel most comfortable.  

shredward · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

My partner was uncomfortable with the ramp, so we hiked off on the hikers trail.  Glissaded down the back side of the ridge and we were back in camp in like 30 minutes.  I was not psyched on that option at first, but it seemed almost as fast as the ramp and rappels would have been. I would bet that the ramp will be fully melted out within a week or two, we noticed a significant amount of melting just over 2 days.   As others have said, snow coverage has been pretty prime for moving quickly, but it is melting out very fast. 

garrett knorr · · salt lake city · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 85

I was up there again today and didn't bring the ice axe for the ramp. The ramp has about a 20 ft section of 35 degree snow to descend before you can walk on the rocks all the way to the rappel anchors.
The snow has melted out crazy fast since just last week. I agree with the week or two assessment until the ramp is fully melted or at least melted enough you can walk on rocks entirely.  

Devin Rogers · · Provo UT · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
garrett knorr wrote: I was up there again today and didn't bring the ice axe for the ramp. The ramp has about a 20 ft section of 35 degree snow to descend before you can walk on the rocks all the way to the rappel anchors.
The snow has melted out crazy fast since just last week. I agree with the week or two assessment until the ramp is fully melted or at least melted enough you can walk on rocks entirely.  

We were up there on saturday. Climbed center thumb, and never had to touch snow from the top of the climb til the base of the raps. It looked like if you were coming off Question Mark wall, there'd be some mandatory snow however. 

Kyle Daly · · Salt Lake City · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

7/06/19: Lots of snow melting rapidly in the cirque from after the slabs on the approach to the base of the walls. Ice axe made me feel comfortable on the final approach to the summit wall, as a fall there would have high consequences, but I did see many parties using trekking poles instead (whippet would be the ideal balance between size and safety). Lots of snow on the backside of the south summit wall during the descent to Collin’s Highway, but this was easy to navigate as it was pretty low angle. There is an obvious way to descend Collin’s Highway to the rappels without touching snow at all. Then there is a large snow moat at the base of the question mark wall that we rappelled over - accessing the climbs on that wall could be tricky.

garrett knorr · · salt lake city · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 85

I lost my knife somewhere between doomsday book and the rappels. It probabaly at the top of out of the question where we sat down for a minute. Its a bright orange crkt, would love to get it back and will pay in beer for its safe return.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern Utah & Idaho
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