I had to get a good winter climb in while I could. Spring thaw is just around the corner (I hope), and my plans are starting to focus on the upcoming biking season. I found the Tushar Mountains in southwestern Utah to be a hidden gem as far as mountain biking and hiking goes, and a winter trip to Delano Peak, Tushar's highpoint, did not disappoint either.
Above: the treeless south face of 12,200-foot Delano Peak. At this point, I'm about halfway there.
In winter, the best place to start the climb is from the Elk Meadows Day Lodge. Although the ski resort has been out of business for several years now UDOT, for some reason, still plows the road all the way up here. I was hoping that someone may have broken a trail to the top, but no luck - I was the first since the last storm, and even with snowshoes I was sinking in a good 1.5 feet.
Above: snow drifts are the only things getting a lift at Elk Meadows these days. Lake Peak is in the background.
Oops, I guess I trespassed a little bit.
The big shut-out by the Mt. Holly club has apparently already began. The club has purchased the ski resort and many private homes. They are planning a posh, gated community with a luxury ski resort, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, and multimillion dollar homes. To become a member you have to maintain a certain number of millions net worth; everyone else is completely shut out!
Above and below: just getting above tree line - view is to the south toward Lake Peak.
Above: rolling terrain near tree line; treeless mountain on the left is Shelly Peak; prominent peak on the right is Mt. Baldy.
Above: climbing up inclined ice-encrusted snow to a saddle just south of Delano. The direct route up the south face had an obvious avalanche that had just come down, so I chose the second most direct route to the top. I barely made it up; the ice and steep slopes were too much for my snowshoes, I really should have had crampons and an ice axe for a few of the more sketchy sections.
Above: this impressive craggy peak is east of the main summit ridge and tops out at over 12,000 feet. Amazingly, it remains unnamed on all of my maps.
Above: a closer look at the cliff near Delano's southern summit.
Above: 100 yards away from the top. you can just make out the mail box marking the top.
Above: view northward from the top of Delano. The prominent peak right of center is Belknap, a mere 30 feet lower than Delano.
For a summertime view of Belknap see this previous post.
Above: looking south along the summit ridge toward Mt. Holly.
Above: Mt. Baldy, a mere 45 feet lower than Delano.
Final numbers: 6.5 miles and 2200' vertical.
Below: a couple of short video clips from the top of the Tushars.
Who's ready for spring?!
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