Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pfeiferhorn, September 20, 2013

Almost there: The Pfeiferhorn with the "scary" ridge just ahead. I keep hearing stories from friends and co-workers of how this blocky ridge turns them away. They say it's too exposed and dangerous, they think I'm nuts to go solo. It's all relative I guess, what bothers some doesn't raise an eyebrow in others. This has never bothered me, but an hour at City Creek (the mall not the canyon) has me feeling like 20 mosquitos are buzzing my face. My advice on the ridge: if you get gripped just look around and you can always find an easy way (safe?) across. 

East face of Pfeify, view north along the Hogum/Maybird divide and Broad Fork Twins.

About a month ago at dinner (Royal India) our waiter was telling everyone that he had just hiked the Pfeiferhorn in 2 hours and 7 minutes. His comments got my mind spinning; I wondered if I could do it in under two hours? Maybe an hour to Red Pine Lake, then another hour to the peak?  The fastest time on Strava is 1:09, so I thought two hours for a mere mortal was doable. Worth a try anyway. I must have been channeling that Indian restaurant because the whole way up I was craving Chicken Tikka Masala with a side of Garlic Naan. Oh, my time? Car to summit was 1:41:05. Indian food is the new endurance food.

Timpenogos, the shadowy ridge line. The last of the "glacier" is the remnant snow in center-frame. Box Elder Peak is the peak in the sun, near right.

Gap-toothed freak. Put a shirt on!

Summit log: I never saw Craig and Eli, they must've gone early. I started running just after 1PM and didn't see anyone above Red Pine Lake, but lots of old timers below. Yeah, at 51 I guess I'm now an old-timer. I hope I'm still kicking my way to Red Pine Lake when I'm in my eighties, which is more impressive than a Strava-Dude running the Pfeif in 1:09. 

Upper Hogum Fork, and no snow!! First time in my 51 years that I have not seen snow up here. In late 2005 I saw a small snowfield (next photo) below the NW face of the Pfeiferhorn with a crevasse stretching along its upper face (100 feet?). A crevasse in Utah? Does that make it a glacier or a snowfield with attitude? Today I planned to hike down to that snow, assuming it was still there, and measure the depth of the crevasse, assuming it was also still there, using a rock tied to a string. Sadly, the snow is gone. The snow and "crevasse" of 2005 would have been just out of view in the lower left of this photo. Glacier or snowfield? Now a moot point.

Photo taken September 28, 2005, showing the crevasse that I hoped to check out today. Why is this exciting? Uuuuuh, if I have to explain maybe it's not that exciting? Exciting to me because glaciers have not existed in Utah since the last ice-age (10,000+ years ago) and crevasses are typically a sign of an active glacier. Yes, snow does "creep" from gravity which can cause cracks to open, but, if you zoom-in, it appears the crevasse is made of ice (darker) and ice is another sign of glacier. I should have checked it out in 2005.    
Macro view, taken September 28, 2005, showing conditions of the basin below the NW face of the Pfeiferhorn, with the "permanent" snowfields of the Wasatch, that are now gone. The crevasse is mid-frame, along the upper edge of the snow.

Same view today, September 20, 2013, and no snow.

Back to September 20, 2013: Summit shot taken from near the start of the ski run (NW Couloir).

Large-crystalled, igneous rock is tough on the knees. This is what happens when pushing to fast and re-crossing the ridge  too many times (trying for too many camera angles). And YES, I wear nylons! They're good for the soul and for avoiding blisters. $5 for 20 knee-highs, a pittance for a wonder cure for way-too-tight ski boots or worn-out running shoes.

Lone Peak (shadow "W" notched peak) just beyond Lightning Ridge (the other semi-shadowed ridge in foreground).

Pfeiferhorn summit (near), Lightning Ridge (beyond sunny knoll), Lone Peak ("W" notch), the Oquirh Range, the Stansbury Mountains on the horizon-right and Deep Creeks (?) horizon left.

LCC "Granite", Box Elder Peak, and Timpenogos. Utah Lake on the right. Carp anyone?

View north along Maybird-Hogum divide towards Broads Fork Twins, O'Sullivan Peak (Sunrise), Dromedary and LCC ridge line (L-R).

Timpenogos and Box Elder (hidden by trees).

Same, but color.

More color. I can't decide which is best, color or black and white? Sometimes the moodiness of black and white speaks to a buried emotion, but today the sky was so clear and bright I think color wins.  

Broads Fork Twins, O'Sullivan (aka, Sunrise Peak) and Dromedary.

Hogum/Maybird Divide, and north ridge of the Pfeiferhorn (left).

Red Pine Lake from atop the head wall, just before starting the descent into Red Pine Canyon. 

Hogum/Maybird divide.

Broad Fork Twins from above Red Pine Lake.

White Baldy (south of Red Pine lakes).

White Baldy, in living color.

Red Pine Lake, Broads Fork Twins, O'Sullivan and Dromedary Peaks.

Still waiting for yellow.

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