Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Lonely Box without Timp

Big Willow Cirque, with mutated summits
Hardest week so far, which is good. 52 miles, 16k'

 Monday: Desolation 13. 13 miles, 2k', 1:56
This is the fun 13 mile loop that starts either up Big water in Millcreek or Mill D in BCC. Chose to do it from Millcreek. Up to Dog Lake, over to Desolation Lake, up to ridge, down Crest trail to Red pine road junction, then back to trailhead via the old Red Pine road(singletrack) which I had never done. Some new engagee was taking her bridal photos right off the trail as I came barreling through trying to beat 2 hours. Almost took out the photographer and mom.

Tuesday: Did "Hell Raiser" variation of "Till Hell Freezes Over" up at the main hellgate. 5 pitch 11b.
More chossy limestone as I didn't get enough on Notch Peak. Landon took 11b crux pitch which was pretty small edges over a bulge. Worth doing once like all the stuff on chossy limestone.

Landon on Pitch 2 of Hell Raiser

Landon on Pitch 4

Wednesday: Ben Lomond from N. Ogden Divide. 15.6 miles, 3500', 2:31(new strava 3rd place record. Wahoo).
I am the most stoked  GPS-lacking-device person on the new Strava ap. Being pretty competitive I enjoy destroying others' trail times in a friendly fashion. Unfortunately I am too cheap to buy a smart phone or GPS watch. So I just try to beat the best times anonymously. Steve went up the day before and took 40 min off his previous winter time and got a new 3rd place record on Strava at 2:49 or something. The current record is 2:22 by Bob G or some dude. I went as fast as I could but only pulled off 2:31, good enough for 3rd place as 2nd is 2:29. 2 minutes! Lazy sack. Shouldn't have stopped to pet the mountain goats on the summit.

Friday: More climbing at Hellgate with Steve and Landon. Got worked on 12a Pandora. Long moves on sandy jugs. Horrible rope drag.

Saturday: Failed attempt at linking Lone Peak, Box Elder, and Timpanogos. 22 miles, 11k' , 11:29

With Hardrock going on fri/sat, Steve and I decided to attempt our own Hardrock training adventure by linking 3 11,000' peaks in a day. Our hero, Jared Campbell, who ended up taking 7th in Hardrock, linked Lone, Timp, and Nebo in a day, but that was too much driving and too hardcore for us. As it turns out, we are not Hardrock material.

We stashed water and shuttled my car along our trek after stuffing Arby's down our faces after climbing, which took way longer than we expected, and got back to my house at 1:30 am Saturday morning. Not a great start to a big day. We got to the trailhead at 8 am the next morning after checking the Hardrock winners.

Lone peak: 10 miles, 6k'
We started up Big Willow to do Lone peak, but were not confident we were on the right trail as it was labeled "Sawmill". Turns out that's correct but we were nervous as it took us over to Little Willow. We encountered severe "trail schwaking" up high which is defined as heavily invasive brush covering the small, narrow, largely unused trail. Hard to follow. We made it to the cirque, and ascended the notch that leads to the Lone Peak north ridge. I almost killed Steve twice with huge boulders I dislodged down the chuting gallery. Topped out at the 3 hour mark. We both felt good. We did a "choose your own adventure" down the south face as we could not locate the Hamangog trail. Upon reaching the upper Hamangog, we located the trail and descended towards Alpine and the Box Elder trailhead. Unfortunately, we got lost on the endless dirt roads that wind all over that mountain. We were heading west when we wanted to head east. Every road we took heading east just deadended. So we decided to just bushwack towards the trailhead.

Then disaster struck.

We found ourselves a short hop away from the trailhead, but a tall barbed wire fence and private property sign blocked our path. Not to be deterred by such obstacles, I hopped it easily with my agile skills, but Steve botched it badly and gashed his knee open pretty deep. Blood was gushing. Now we are on private property, and Steve is mortally wounded. My initial thought was that I didn't want Steve to bleed out on private property because I didn't want another ticket, but his needs come first. I ran to get some first aid supplies but managed to only scrap together some paper towels from a trucker. Luckily Steve's wound coagulated and he was able to escape to public roads and to the nearby homes. A nice mother and son graciously gave Steve some supplies and we debated whether to continue on the journey. It was now 1 pm, as we had used a bunch of time getting lost and treating deep wounds. Steve decided to press on as the blood seemed contained with his gauze and heavily medical taped knee.

Steve is on a trail, but you can't tell. 

The Notch, a portal to another world, er, cirque

Steve is now safe as I am am no longer unintentionally trundling rocks

On Lone Peak summit

Where or where has the Hamangog trail gone? 

Finally, the Hamangog trail

The actual event was too traumatizing so no pics were taken of the gore, so here is this one post bandaging

Box Elder: 12 miles, 5k'
The floods last week created a massive mudslide and washed out the Box Elder trailhead parking area. Giant mudpit. Phelps canyon, which we wanted to use, was largely untouched but still had many sections that were washed out. The forest service had signed it as "unusable". Not one to be deterred by such recommendations from the Forest Service, we hauled our butts up Box Elder in the heat via Phelps canyon, summiting in about 3 hours again. At this point we knew we had to bail on Timp because Steve's knee was bad(ie needed stitches 4 hours ago) and it was 4 pm. We still had a 5 mile descent, 10 mile run over to the Timp trailhead, then 14 miles up and down Timp. We wouldn't finish till like 3 am. I was craving Panda Express and they aren't open at 3 am, so we made the easy decision to bail. We hobbled down to Tibble Fork and managed to get back to our car at Aspen Grove via 4 different hitchiking shenangians, 2 trucks, a group of rowdy teens, and a nice old couple planning an excursion on the Great Western trail. Steve of course told all of them everything about his life while I sat quietly.

Mudslide carnage

Steve assessing knee carnage on summit of Box Elder

Running down to Tibble Fork off Box Elder

Timpanogos: 14 miles, 5k. Didn't attempt this time.

Steve headed to get his knee sorted out(7 stitches), and I ate Panda express(kung pao and orange chicken). All in all a crazy adventure. The failure was largely due to poor planning, poor execution, poor navigation skills, poor fitness, poor mental fortitude, and poor barbed wire fence jumping.


  1. Man oh man, the life you would live without a wife holding you back...

  2. Nice pictures of the Notch. Props, Steve, for toughing out the wound for another peak.

  3. If we had more time in the day I would have seriously considered going for Timp also on the bad knee. The cut really flayed the top of the knee right open but it stitched up nicely. Thanks for the write up Spence. And props on a solid week of training for Wasatch. I chatted it up lots with PA in the ER, thought of you.

  4. Annie, don't think about that, it isn't worth it. Sweet adventure. I see that things haven't changed much without me coming along (bushwacking, navigation issues, poor planning, hitchicking). Steve, good luck with the gash. Sounds nasty. Wish I was there. We could have sewn it up on the spot and been on our way. I will see whomever is coming next week to Colorado!

  5. You're crazy. Just a reminder. But I love the pictures!