Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The CURL - Cardiff Ultimate Ridge Linkup

Since moving up Big Cottonwood, I've had a fair amount of time to explore Cardiff Fork.  About a month ago Noah and I ran up to Pole Line Pass, over to Flagstaff and out Day's Fork.  Mid run we looked up at the Reed Benson Ridge and then at Cardiac Ridge and had an epiphany.  They had to be linked.  We figured it'd be a miniature, less classic WURL.  We made plans a few times over the past month but never started due to the crazy August rains.  Last Saturday, weather was on our side.

We left from my front porch at 6 AM without headlamps figuring the sun would come up soon.  It did, but not until we had bushwhacked half way up the north end of the Reed Benson Ridge by phone light.  Luckily it wasn't too bad.  
Not too bad

The start of the rock
Once we were on rock it was pretty straight forward.  Follow the ridge.  We thought there were only a handful of 4th+ class moves.  One on the Reed Benson side and two on the Cardiac side.  They all probably could have been avoided were we more willing to deviate from the ridge but then it wouldn't be an ultimate ridge linkup right?  It may not be the classic that the WURL has become but it made for a stellar Saturday.

Reed Benson
Poser posing
Bristlecone Pines grow in some unlikely places
Easy slab
Noah nearing Flagstaff
Roni from either Jennilyn Eaton's or Spencer Weiler's WURL cache
The start of Cardiac Ridge

The crux crumbling tower
Noah scared the whole thing might fall
Finally on solid rock

Summiting Kessler
Amanda had peach smoothies in frosty mugs, banana bread, and black bean burgers waiting for us!  

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Lars and Tom had this planned for several months now and I always said I wasn't going to join.  The desire to repeat the WURL after spending 26+ hours on the route with Noah last year was non existent.  I was positive I'd never do it again but then they kept talking about it.  Then I agreed to join for part of it.  Then my work schedule came out and I had the day off.  Next thing you know I'm walking up Cardiff Fork with Amanda to drop off a food cache at Pole Line Pass and was fully committed.   It's funny how other's enthusiasm is contagious.

The plan was to enjoy the outing and not try to push the pace too hard.  Lars finished Leadville (6th, 19hours) two weeks ago and Tom just finished the Park City Point to Point a few days earlier so we figured the lingering fatigue of those big efforts would make this more of an enjoyable scenic day as opposed to a fast paced one.  With this in mind I packed a big camera and we were off.

We've always thought the WURL might be more aesthetic if it headed up Deaf Smith and out Jacob's Ladder.  That would at least straighten the ends out.  I'm not sure but I do know tradition is important to me and I have nothing but respect for Jared Campbell. So we decided we would start at Ferguson and end at Bell's just as he did.  Unfortunately that's not what we ended up doing.  By the time we hit Lone Peak we were 20 hours into the day and the mental/physical fatigue of the group was quite high.  I've been up and down the notch into Bell's half dozen times and find it to be a rather loose and dangerous place.  With this in mind we decided to head out Jacob's Ladder.  It's didn't feel great deviating from tradition but I think that for our party, that day, it was the right call.  I don't know.  Is it even the WURL if you don't exit Bell's?  Hard to say but I think we found the little bit of great scenery, adventure, and suffering that we were hoping the WURL would provide.

*** Special thanks to Amanda for refueling us at Hidden Peak.  I've never had a Deep Dish Little Caesar's pizza that tasted so good.  Thanks Ryan for the Ensure and Red Bull at the top of Red Pine. And THANKS Andy for taking our phone call from the top of Lone at midnight and then driving to the Jacob's Ladder trailhead at 3AM to give us a ride back home.  I'm not sure why you guys were all so willing to help but it made our day MUCH better!!!

Here are far too many pictures.
Early morning in Ferguson
Above Stairs
Between Storm Mountain and SLC Twins

Summit of SLC Twins

Heading towards Jepson's Folly, Sunrise and Dromedary

More of the same
Sunrise (O'Sullavan) Peak
Heading up Drom
Between Drom and Monte Cristo
Lars and Tom heading up Monte Cristo
The small bit of easy travel between Superior and Point Supreme
Devil's Castle
Tom mid Devil's Castle
My girl and the feast she provided 
Lars on the AF Twins
Tom on Red Baldy
White Baldy
Box Elder and Timp
The boys on the Pfeiff just before sunset
Lars on South Thunder

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Timp with Amanda

The other day Amanda, Alpha, Hannah and I went for hike up Timp. We hauled heavy packs to the upper meadows in a rain storm just in time to set up camp and and watch a cloudy sunset.  I hate heavy packs but staying up there may have been worth it.  Maybe.  A 5:30 start had us up on the ridge for some spectacular morning light.  A few pics...  
Campsite in the upper meadows
Hannah watching Amanda
Amanda and Alpha