Millcreek Ridge - July 3, 2015

scatman

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On Friday, July the 3rd, my hiking partner Matt and I attempted a 16.3 mile hike beginning at the end of Millcreek Canyon, hiking up to Murdock Peak then heading west along the Millcreek Ridge to Grandeur Peak.

We met at the small park at the end of Wasatch Boulevard near Parley's Canyon at 5:00 am and left our vehicles at our endpoint. My wife then shuttled us up to the top of Millcreek and we hit the trail at 5:30 am. The temperature was a nice 53 degrees when we started hiking. It took us about an hour and forty five minutes to cover the 3.3 miles to the summit of Murdock Peak. At first we had the pleasure of hiking in the moonlight but soon the sun was hitting Gobblers Knob located on the south side of the canyon. As we made our way up Murdock, soon the prominent Cottonwood Ridge came into view.

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At the trailhead

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Not quite a full moon

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Sunlight on Gobblers Knob

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Cottonwood Ridge coming into view

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Gobblers Knob and Mount Raymond

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Murdcok Peak

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Almost to the top

Once on top of Murdock Peak, the rest of the day seemed pretty straight forward; just follow the ridge for thirteen miles back to Salt Lake. The first section from Murdock Peak to Millvue Peak was relatively easy with only two small areas of intense bushwhacking. The wildflowers along this stretch, and actually the entire hike, were absolutely fabulous!

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Scatman on top of Murdock Peak

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Looking down the ridge in the direction we are hiking. Grandeur Peak is located on the far right side of the photo way in the background.

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Another look along the ridge with Grandeur way in the back just left of center and Mount Aire to the right of center

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Wildflowers along the way

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Abandoned tripod on the ridge

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Sticky Geraniums along the way

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Matt on the ridge

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Scatman with a good view of the rest of the Millcrrek Ridge behind. Grandeur Peak is in the center way in the back just above my head.

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Paintbrush

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More wildflowers

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And still more

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One of the areas with intense bushwhacking before Millvue Peak

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Looking along he ridge in our direction of travel

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What looms ahead

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Grouse that actually attacked me protecting its young

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Me on Millvue Peak - Grandeur Peak getting closer! Mount Olympus can be seen over my right shoulder in the distance.

After Millvue Peak things began to get rougher the bushwhacking grew more intense and the general up and down became steeper. There is a trail down from Millvue to the saddle between Lambs Canyon and Elbow Fork but it is grown over and we lost it about halfway down. This cost us valuable time towards the end of the hike that we could have used.

At the saddle. the trail continues along the ridge to the north for about four tenths of a mile and then it is off-trail travel again as we dropped down to a saddle and then gained the ridge again east of Mount Aire. Once reaching the unnamed peak to the east of Mount Aire we dropped down to another saddle before beginning our climb to the summit of Mount Aire.

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Good look at Mount Aire

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Looking back on the unnamed peak east of Mount Aire

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Matt on top of Mount Aire - Parley's Canyon in the background

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Scatman on Mount Aire

We then proceeded down the normal trail that ascends Mount Aire until we reached the saddle between Elbow Fork and Smith Creek Canyon. At this point we picked up and old trail to gain the ridge again that quickly became grown over and soon we lost it. From this point it was just a flat out nasty bushwhack to reach the head of Burch Hollow. Without question, the hardest bushwhacking I have ever done.

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Bushwhacking through similar vegetation all the way to Burch Hollow. Nasty stuff!

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Looking back on Mount Aire and the unnamed peak to the east

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Large rock at the head of Burch Hollow

Once we reached the large rock at the head of Burch Hollow, there is an elk trail that runs along the north side of the ridge that would take us almost all the way to Church Fork Peak. Once on top of Church Fork Peak, we had Grandeur Peak staring us in the face!

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Elk trail followed to Church Fork Peak

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Looking back on Burch Hollow. Mount Aire on the left in the background and Millvue on the right of the image.

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A mirror on top of Church Fork Peak

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Scatman on top of Church Fork Peak. Mount Aire just above my right hand in the distance.

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Grandeur Peak in front of us!

After Church Fork Peak, we headed out towards Grandeur. This section turned out to be extremely tough going and our pace was slowed considerably. We were also losing precious daylight as we made our way.

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Looking back up at Church Fork Peak. A nice scramble down the rocks.

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Last good image of Grandeur that I could get with the fading light

We finally reached the Church Fork Trail that heads up Grandeur Peak from the east side. we only had a half mile to go; maybe twenty five of thirty minutes of hiking at the most and Matt could not continue uphill. He was completely out of gas. Bonked! He could only mange to go slowly downhill so we hiked out on the Church fork Trail to the road.
We completed the hike at 12:05 Saturday morning. Over 18.5 hours of hiking! Happy Fourth of July!

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Matt, sliding down on his rear end to the Church fork Trail, exhausted

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Scatman at the Church Fork Trail on Grandeur Peak

Since we didn't exit at the West Slope Trailhead for Grandeur, we had some folks who passed us at the end of the Church Fork Trail call my wife when they had cell service and she came and picked us up.

Wow, what a hike! It really took it out of me. I'm not sure how hot it got up on the ridge but it was hot. I carried 3 liters of Gatorade and 5.5 liter of water, three of which were frozen. I probably should have carried one more liter of water or Gatorade. My legs are beat to shit, I've got two nasty blisters on my right foot underneath my calluses and three days later my energy levels haven't returned to normal though certainly they are heading in the right direction.

I might mention that we saw three moose, two deer, probably twenty grouse, seven horned toads, a few hawks, a vulture (probably circling us) and a vole which made this trip excellent form a wildlife perspective.

For those who want to see all the images of our hike, here is the link.

Millcreek Ridge Images

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Ouch!

Enjoy.

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regehr

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Nice! Last pic reminds me why I wear long pants on bushwacks. Another awesome ridge run is the S ridge of City Creek Canyon: from Lookout to Little Black Mountain.
 

Udink

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Both awesome and brutal, but mostly awesome. I wonder if that mirror was part of a heliotrope survey?
 

John Goering

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Geezzze, we did a 10 miler last Saturday and that was enough for me. Maybe as in geeezzzeeerrrr-----

Great photos.
 

scatman

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Nice! Last pic reminds me why I wear long pants on bushwacks. Another awesome ridge run is the S ridge of City Creek Canyon: from Lookout to Little Black Mountain.

I gave some serious thought to the long pants but I couldn't have worn my convertible pant legs with the shorts I was wearing because they would have gotten torn to shreds and I was afraid a heavier pant would have given me heat exhaustion eventually on such a hot day. I knew that my legs would get beaten up a little bit but I certainly underestimated the intensity of the bushwhacking along the route particularly after Millvue.

I've actually done roughly half the distance to Lookout from Little Black Mountain. I started in the avenues and had to turn around so that I could make it home for dinner. I don't recall getting beat up as bad on that one but I was younger back then and my recovery time was probably a lot less.
 

scatman

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Both awesome and brutal, but mostly awesome. I wonder if that mirror was part of a heliotrope survey?

My son and I hiked to the top of Church Fork Peak three years ago and the mirror was not there at that time. Not knowing anything bout a heliotrope survey, how would a mirror play into their survey?
 

scatman

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Geezzze, we did a 10 miler last Saturday and that was enough for me. Maybe as in geeezzzeeerrrr-----

Great photos.

Thanks John. I think I'm right there with you in the Geeeezzzzeeerrr category. This will be my first and last attempt at this. :)
 

scatman

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I forgot to add my forced smile picture for @Bob . Well here it is!

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Normal me

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Happy Me! Yuck! This was taken in a tiny sliver of shade on Millvue Peak behind some kind of weather station box?

Please feel free to compare and contrast. :)
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Great report. That's a lot of tough miles for 1 day. You're a beast scatman. I probably would have bonked out before Matt did.
 

regehr

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I've actually done roughly half the distance to Lookout from Little Black Mountain. I started in the avenues and had to turn around so that I could make it home for dinner. I don't recall getting beat up as bad on that one but I was younger back then and my recovery time was probably a lot less.

Yeah it's long and moderately brushy but not really a serious thrash. It was years ago that I did it-- gotta do it again but I've had a hard time convincing people to go along.
 

Artemus

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Epic! Scatman!

Just look at those shredded legs. And the size of those legs shows why most normal humans with normal legs shouldn't try that route. I did 75% of it solo 20 years ago and it was dark to dark and I was tapped out. Glad I didn't let you drag me along this time :) Reminds me why I most love alpine tundra - there are very few gambel oak bushes.

I love the TR. Love the smile. I know you had it in you.

I admire that you try hard things.

Makes a fellow geezer proud. Well done.
 
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heroic effort right there scatman! bonus points for you stickin' it out with a pair of shorts on. couldn't think of anything more hateful than that ridge section between church fork peak and the church fork trail top out... near the end of a very long day for that matter.

millcreek ridge is no where near a walk in the park... by the time I made it to the rocky peak east of millvue peak on my west-east attempt i was stripped of all exposed flesh and mental fortitude. at that point I made a rash decision of dumping off the ridge into millcreek which of course resulted in another epic in unto itself. probably would have stuck it out to Murdoch peak if someone/anyone would have advised me against wearing trail running shorts and sleeveless t-shirt. haha.
 

scatman

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Epic! Scatman!
I love the TR. Love the smile. I know you had it in you.

I admire that you try hard things.

Makes a fellow geezer proud. Well done.

Thanks for the kind words! That's the last smile I promise! By the way where is @Bob ? I expected some kind of praise for cheering up! :)
 

scatman

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I'm surprised Matt bonked -- he went up Mount Holmes two years ago without stopping (I'm pretty sure).

Nice selfie -- not sure about the smile.

You and me both, he has always been a rock.
 

scatman

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heroic effort right there scatman! bonus points for you stickin' it out with a pair of shorts on. couldn't think of anything more hateful than that ridge section between church fork peak and the church fork trail top out... near the end of a very long day for that matter.

millcreek ridge is no where near a walk in the park... by the time I made it to the rocky peak east of millvue peak on my west-east attempt i was stripped of all exposed flesh and mental fortitude. at that point I made a rash decision of dumping off the ridge into millcreek which of course resulted in another epic in unto itself. probably would have stuck it out to Murdoch peak if someone/anyone would have advised me against wearing trail running shorts and sleeveless t-shirt. haha.

Glad to know someone else attempted this. My hat is off to you! You know we found a water cache east of the rocky peak you mentioned. Was it yours? It probably would have been easier for you just to continue to Murdock. There were only two short bushwhacks the rest of the way. The rest of the ridge you would have had no problem.
 
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