The Timp Glacier is a field of semi-permanent snow located in a high, north facing cirque on Mount Timpanogos, the towering mountain that rises abruptly above the Utah Valley and Sundance Ski Area. It has long been a favorite spot for local skiers to get summer turns, although it requires a schlep of about 3500 vertical feet just to get to its base in summer.
|The Timp "Glacier" on July 30, 1949. Credit: Ray Stewart, summitpost.org|
|Topo Map Source: AcmeMapper, Googlemaps|
Despite the mythical name, geologists with the Utah Geologic Survey do not consider the Timpanogos Glacier to have been a glacier during historical times:
I don't know of any peer reviewed publications discussing trends and fluctuations in the coverage of the Timp Glacier. There is some discussion at summitpost.org, including photos. Some case is made that there was a glacier before the 1930s, although I'm inclined to go with the interpretation provided by the Geologic Survey scientists above. Perhaps others will favor a different interpretation. Science isn't never black and white!
"Mount Timpanogos, the second-highest mountain in the Wasatch Range, dominates the eastern skyline of Utah Valley. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the cirque basin below the peak of Mount Timpanogos held a permanent snowfield that has been called “Utah’s glacier” or “Timp glacier”; since then, a small snowfield commonly remains in that area throughout the year. Whether or not glacial ice was ever present in recent historical time has not been rigorously documented, but is doubtful. The site now appears to be a relict rock glacier, but ice could still be present at its core." - Biek et al. (2010)Rock glaciers are masses of boulders and talus that contain ice buried below the surface. The Timp glacier appears to be a small remnant of one that can be semi-permanently covered by a snow field. The photo below shows a nearly snow free Timp Glacier in 2003.