|The final push to 9410' Grandview Peak. Looking north, the Sessions Mountains in the mid-distance, Bountiful Peak (right) and Great Salt Lake (left) in far distance.|
I always try to climb at least one peak every winter in snowy conditions. I missed last year, so I've made it up by making two winter ascents this season. The first, City Creek Canyon's Grandview Peak, was really just a practice run for the much more grueling Charleston Peak that I would attempt two weeks later.
As usual, I began my climb from the very base of the mountain. Defining the base of a mountain is somewhat subjective, so I usually just go with what feels fair--in this case I decided to start (biking) from the corner of North Temple and State Street in downtown Salt Lake City (elevation ~4360'). I started at about 6 am, so it would be a while until the sun came up.
My paved road-bike part of the route took me up through Memory Grove, across Bonneville Boulevard, and on up City Creek Canyon to as far as the road was plowed (about a 1/4 mile past the water treatment plant at ~5480'). Here, I stashed the bike and changed into winter boots. Initially, the snow was not very deep and it was frozen, so I kept the snowshoes packed for later.
Once through Rotary Park and on to the City Creek trail, the snow deepened considerably and I strapped on my snowshoes. I followed both a single set of ski tracks and what appeared to be moose tracks heading up the trail. Veering north up Cottonwood Gulch, I was now making virgin tracks. Just past the Treasure Box Mine, the sun came up and I got my first look at the winter wonderland around me.
Snow conditions were firm, and I had no trouble making the peak by 11 am. After some lunch, taking a couple of selfies, and calling Susie to let her know I made it, I cruised back down in a hurry to make sure I'd have time to get cleaned up for a Super Bowl party later that afternoon.
I lingered briefly at the Treasue Box, snapping photos, but I was at the bottom of the canyon by 1:30 pm.
Final numbers (round trip): 11 mile/1300' gain bike + 11 mile 4400' gain hike = 22 miles & 5700' vertical total in 7.5 hours.
|Sunrise in Cottonwood Gulch of City Creek Canyon. Black Mountain , which divides the City Creek and Red Butte drainages, is the snow covered ridge in the distance.|
|Fast, hard snow in upper Cottonwood Gulch.|
|Several shallow, old avalanches on west-facing slopes in upper Cottonwood. It had been a couple of weeks since this area received snow, and the avalanche danger was very low.|
|Almost to the summit ridge dividing Salt Lake County's City Creek and Davis County's Mill Creek (Mueller Park). Salt Lake Valley and the Oquirrh Mountains are in the far distance.|
|Rime ice near the summit.|
|Final steps to the top.|
|A grand view indeed. Looking south along the central Wasatch. Lone Peak Wilderness on the skyline.|
|Refueling on the summit.|
|Looking 5000 vertical feet back down to where I started the day in downtown Salt Lake City. An incredible feeling.|