Sunday, June 19, 2016

Box Elder on Father's Day

I often joke that there's no reason to go to Utah County, but really there's one, and that is the opportunity to hike (or ski) some truly spectacular peaks.  In fact, a credible argument can be made that the peaks of Utah County are more spectacular and beautiful than those of the central or northern Wasatch as they tend to be more isolated, have huge prominence, and have spectacular geology and ecology.

Today we hiked Box Elder Peak from Granite Flat Campground via the north ridge route.  The entire hike is spectacular, although much of the approach is south facing and hot.  Making it more tolerable are the tremendous views of huge ski lines that require full commitment.

Although it is only mid June, the hike is nearly entirely snow free.  The patch below was the largest we crossed on the north ridge and it was about 20 feet long.

Although steep, the north ridge has no real technical concerns, other than this highly intimidating class 2 Hilary Step that of course could be avoided to the left.

Nearing the summit.

View of Mt. Timpanogos from the summit.  Still quite a bit of snow on the primary hiking routes.  Willing to bet the Timp Snowfield will be DOA again this year.

Panorama of the divide with Little Cottonwood.

Father and son shot.

If you are sick of the crowds in the Cottonwoods, here's another reason to tag Box Elder.  Although it was very busy in American Fork Canyon, we saw exactly 2 people on the 10.5 mile hike.  Two people!  

In case you are wondering, the max temperature today in Phoenix was 118ºF., unless they had a spike after 5 PM.  Looks like the overnight low was 85ºF.  Yes, I know.  It's a dry heat...

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