Toward the Saddle…

The most prominent peak of the Wasatch Mountains that form the eastern geographical boundary of the greater Salt Lake Valley is actually a set of peaks named “Twin Peaks.”  There is only a two-foot difference in their elevation and they lie in a somewhat east/west orientation and are often referred to with the designations of “East Twin” and “West Twin.”  Located about 100 yards apart, the peaks measure 11,330 and 11,328 feet respectively, east and west, and rise approximately 7,000 feet from the valley floor.

You might remember a photo similar to the one below in my post “It’s great to be alive in the West” from March of this year.  When I made this photo, I was located about 4-5 miles south of the front, or western face of the mountain, so we can only actually see the west peak from this view.

Twin Peaks from the south in March

The peaks are often referred to as the Broads Fork Twin Peaks, as this is the most common approach to the peaks…and the below photo shows what they look like from Broads Fork.  You might remember similar photos from my two posts on the area last summer.  The saddle is located in the deepest part of the ridge-line toward the left of the image…which is still a bit of a hike from the beaver pond.

Broads Fork Twin Peaks morning reflection

This is Sunrise Peak to the left and the southern edge of the west Twin Peak to the right…with the saddle right there in the middle.

Trail to the saddle

And this photo below is right about where I ended my foray into the area last year…it should be photo #8 in the post, “Broads Fork – Part II.”  Actually, I think I was a little further up the trail last year…about where you can see the people…to the right of the left-leaning stick, just down from the mass of trees…just left of the middle of the image.

Trail to the saddle with backpack

There’s a man and woman toward the bottom of the below photo…the woman is wearing the neon green shirt and turquoise shorts…we’ll see them again later….

People heading up....

We can still see the woman and her neon clothing in the below image…just down a little and over to the right of the huge rock that is a little ways below the horizon…if it’s hard to find her, keep the rock and where the woman should be in the center third of the photo….  She’s there….

People almost gone

About one-third of the way up the slope, I was wondering if I was crazy…wondering if I really needed to keep going upwards…so I found a flat stone for a seat and turned around while I had another drink and an apple…….wondering…..

Turn around and look toward the east

If you noticed the yellow hue to the side of the highest peak toward the left of the above image, here’s a closer look at it…from miles away, literally, you can see the color of thousands (and millions?) of sunflowers that covered Mt. Raymond…some of which I have already featured here.

Mt Raymond's yellow mantle

One can only sit on the side of a mountain for so long eating an apple and having a drink before one has to decide whether to keep climbing up or to head back down to the truck…so I turned and looked up again…and up again…and figured “What the hell,” and kept climbing…one step at a time…this isn’t a race, right…….?  And you can tell that we’re looking UP, right?  There’s a bit of a trickle of water in that darker spot…down and to the right of the big rock that is now on the horizon….

Closer to the saddle

How many of you have been to a gym or fitness center and tried their “Stair Master?”  We’re still looking UP in the below photo….

Still going upward

Remember the man and woman from the earlier photos?  I had asked them if there was a clear trail to the top…the woman said “yes” and the man said “no.”  He said there’s no trail, but “you’ll know where to go.”  It seemed that I needed to head toward that bit of a notch in the rock between the middle and left spots of snow….

Headed toward the notch

In the notch now and still moving upward…hanging-on to cracks in the side of the rock, scrambling on hands and feet….

Going up the notch

Looking toward the right of the notch…the lighter peak is the west twin….

Looking right from the notch at western Twin

…and after another bit of a scramble and a climb, I’m sitting on the saddle…

Sitting on the saddle

Wow!  Looking toward the south, I see the southern ridges of Little Cottonwood Canyon….

Looking south from the saddle

…looking toward the west I can see out over the Salt Lake Valley….  Those are the Oquirrh Mountains out there, the western geographical boundary…and that lighter-colored, damnable open-pit mine is toward the right edge of the mountains.

Looking out over Salt Lake valley

Back south again at the Pfefferhorn on the left…

Pfefferhorn and ridge

and the Lone Peak ridge….

Lone Peak Ridge

…and now a self-portrait looking toward the east again…with that beaver pond from the earlier photo…a little bit above the tip of my boot…waaaay down there.

Self portrait looking east

You can see the woman in her neon-colored clothing and her hiking companion near the top of the lower peak, down in the right-hand corner of the below image…rather tiny….  They were actually coming back DOWN from being up on Twin Peaks…already coming down and I just made it to the saddle……

West Twin with people on right

After the slippery and slow climb back down from the saddle, it was nice to make it to the spring again…such clean and cold and refreshing water.  I refilled my two empty bottles and headed on my way.

Back at the spring, safe and sound

One last look at Broads Fork Twin Peaks before climbing a small, final rise and then hiking down the remaining three miles of trail back to the truck.  If you’d like to read more about Twin Peaks and the various ways one can reach the summits, you can click right here to be taken to Summit Post, one of the leading web-sites for climbing and hiking enthusiasts…not just for Utah, but for all over the world….

Final look at Broads Fork Twin Peaks

If you’d like to see where Broads Fork and the Twin Peaks are located on the map I recently shared on the blog, click here, and then find the second yellow pin up from the bottom of the map in the first image…it’s just to the left of center in the photo…and then it happens to be the only yellow pin, also near the bottom, on the second photo.  Also, as a reminder to help with orientation/direction, the view of the map is looking eastward up the canyons…so the right side of the map is toward the south, the left is toward the north, and behind you (not on the map) is toward the west.

Thank you, yet again, for spending a bit of your time with me…for accompanying me on another hike into the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

30 responses

  1. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography)

    Very enjoyable thank you Scott.

    July 24, 2013 at 7:32 am

    • And thank you, Vicki.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:22 pm

  2. Oh, that was some climb! 🙂

    July 24, 2013 at 7:50 am

    • Quite a climb, Bente!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm

  3. That’s one hike I would enjoy.

    Ah, who am I kidding!? I enjoy all hikes.

    Great narrative and photos.

    July 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

    • Thank you, Emilio…I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm

  4. I’m pooped just looking at your pictures. That is one hell of an amazing hike, Scott. Not to mention the fantastic photos… what a great backyard!

    July 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    • It took me more than a couple of days to recuperate, Gunta…and yes, a great backyard!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm

  5. A landscape of epic scale….beautiful vistas……and from my armchair, such an easy climb…….lovely post, Scott…….and I bet those feet have covered a few miles.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    • So happy I could share it with you in your armchair, John…the landscape and vistas tug at my heart…so beautiful…and such a pleasure to experience.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

  6. That looks like the kind of hike that might be a little harder coming down than going up, but I can imagine a case of rubber legs at the top. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of the view in that third shot. What a place to build a house!

    July 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    • The case of rubber legs didn’t stop at the top, Allen, as you can imagine…that made it more difficult and shaky on the way down. There is a nice little camping spot a little ways off to the right and behind where that third shot was taken, too…nice little clearing with incredible views all the way around…. A cabin would be wonderful there. 🙂

      July 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  7. Outstanding series of photos Scott! What a place!

    July 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    • Thank you, Terry…and it certainly is!

      July 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm

  8. Incredible views Scott.

    July 25, 2013 at 9:37 am

    • Nearly mind-boggling, Adrian.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm

  9. If I were searching for that woman, she’d be out of luck. I never did find her in the second third” of that photo. 🙂 I am tired now. I can’t imagine how you do it. The views are amazing though once you get there. Well, along the way too.

    July 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    • Well, George, she managed to make it up and back down again before I did, so I think she’ll be ok if we can’t find her again. 😉 My tiredness caused me to take a weekend off from the hiking, too…needed a bit of rest, but I’m anxious to get back out there. And yes, the views are amazing…part of the reward or treasure in being there.

      July 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

  10. powerful !!!

    July 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    • It sure is, Ordered Chaos…one can see the land and imagine the power that it took to bring it to such form….

      July 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

  11. Great adventurer post! really, it’s an unforgettable climb for lifetime. amazing views of landscapes.

    July 29, 2013 at 4:44 am

  12. Your mountains are truly spectacular! Decribed beautifully in your photographs.

    Are the rocks sedimentary? The layers in the picture where you’re sitting on the Saddle look as though they could have formed at the bottom of the ocean and been squeezed into convoluted strata.

    July 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    • They are spectacular, Finn…and intriguing, too. I would guess that many of the rocks are sedimentary, given the layers of strata that can be seen throughout the area…. When traveling through the canyons, one can see many examples (evidence) of where the plates of the ground have been lifted and are now nearly vertical in their mountain form…like plates stacked on their edges. On top of Mt Aire in Millcreek Canyon, and along part of the ridge that separates the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons (above the granite), there are layers of sandstone that are very clearly from the one-time bottom of an ocean or sea…and there are other places where the rock looked like it was poured out of a cauldron….and I could go on and on…… 🙂

      July 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      • It’s incredible to think that the power of the moving earth has transformed the seabeds of antiquity into our modern day mountains.

        That has happened along the south coast of England where the ancient horizontal sea bed has become folded into vertical strata such that as one heads west the terrain gets older. It eventually gives way to igneous rock and ends at the ‘Fossil Coast’ in Dorset where the rocks are full of dinosaurs!

        July 30, 2013 at 3:21 am

        • And what a fascinating adventure it must be, to travel back into the eons, simply by driving west! I’ll bet it’s equally exciting to visit all of the dinosaurs at your Fossil Coast…sounds like fun. 🙂

          July 30, 2013 at 7:11 pm

          • It is indeed fascinating. It’s called the ‘Jurassic Coast’ and it it gets older the further west one travels and the coastal cliffs and the rocks on the beaches are laden with fossils, millions of them, so it’s a fossil hunters dream!

            July 31, 2013 at 1:16 am

          • Sounds wonderful, Finn. 🙂

            July 31, 2013 at 7:08 am

  13. Hey, thanks for the hike, Scott. I needed the exercise, the fresh mountain air, and the sunshine.

    July 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    • You’re very welcome, Karen…I’m glad you could go along with me. 🙂

      August 13, 2013 at 6:38 am

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