Three of the Four American Fork Twin Peaks

Discussion in 'Hiking & Camping' started by regehr, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. regehr

    regehr Member

    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    The American Fork Twins, along with Red Top (to the west, un-named on the map) and Peak 11391 (a bit to the south of the east twin) might as well be regarded as a quadruple peak since the other two have very little prominence.
    Screenshot from 2017-07-14 23-04-44.png

    I've lived in SLC for 17 years and somehow had never visited any of these, and decided to fix that today since my kids needed dropping off and picking up at Snowbird for a summer camp. The tram base at Snowbird had a couple hundred people walking around in camo, carrying compound bows, it turned out they were hiking the trails and shooting at enormous numbers of fake deer (and fish, dinosaurs, and more) cunningly placed near these trails. They made me nervous but I ended up leaving them behind within minutes and didn't see anyone until I got to the tram top a few hours later. It was a nice morning:
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    But it didn't take me long to remember why I'd been avoiding this area -- ski stuff in summer is just not very pretty.
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    Yuck.
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    There were a few flowers out but it wasn't wall-to-wall like you sometimes see.
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    The route starts at 8100', follows service roads for a while, then ski slopes, ending up at the Gad 2 lift at about 10,000'. Super easy walking up to this point! Then a short, steep climb up some talus and grassy slopes to the ridge overlooking White Pine.
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    I couldn't figure out what this is for.
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    This ridge climbs directly to Red Top. It is listed as class 3 in books such as "Wasatch Eleveners" which seems maybe a bit of an exaggeration, it's maybe class 3- or class 2+ if you go for that sort of rating. Mostly it's an easy walk with just a few steep rocky sections, and little or no exposure. Here I'm just below the summit of Red Top looking over at the twins. DSC03842.jpg
    Past Red Top, the (higher) west twin is still just a bit of a slog. This is the highest point in Salt Lake County and the highest point in this part of the Wasatch Range -- comfortably higher than its neighbors like the Broads Fork Twins, Pfeifferhorn, Lone Peak, etc.
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    Looking back at Red Top we can see it hardly rates as a summit of its own.
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    Happily there was a nice snowbank right atop the west twin so my summit beer was well chilled. I let the beer cool and deliberately dropped my pack before trekking over to the east twin so that I wouldn't be tempted to try the knife edge ridge to Hidden Peak. I don't like doing exposed class 4 by myself.
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    A half dozen of these contraptions littered the ridge between the twins.
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    One of them had some gear on top and a sticker indicating Whistler Ski Patrol. It wasn't clear to me what this contraption would accomplish but whatever.

    Some nice flowers near the saddle:
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    Looking south at Peak 11391 which I did not take time to visit:
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    So many good mountains I can't stand it. I climbed Red Baldy on June 8 and was on snow almost the entire time, hiking it would be very different now.
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    Looking down from the east twin at the knife edged ridge leading to Hidden Peak:
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    At this point I noticed the service roads on both sides of the ridge and decided to hike out to the tram and bail to one of the roads if I didn't like the knife edge. So I had to go back to the west twin, drink my (now ice old) beer, grab my pack, and come back to the east twin. The scramble down to where the rock changes from very dark to very light was super fun! Solid rock and little exposure, perfect class 3. Somewhere near the low point, near where the rock transitions from dark to light I bailed to the south (right) and this was very much not a fun couple hundred vertical feet, it was possibly more difficult than just staying on the ridge would have been. But anyhow I ended up on the road at which point is was a quick and easy walk to the tram. Looking back at the east twin from the road you can maybe appreciate that bailing off this ridge to the south sort of sucks:
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    Nice view of Devil's Castle along with developing clouds, one of the reasons I felt like bailing to the tram instead of retracing my steps past Gad 2 to Snowbird base.
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    Summary of the descent from the east twin (at left of photo). The top part (light rock) is steepish and somewhat loose, but an easy walk. The dark rock is a real scramble but easy and fun. The light-colored knife edge ridge is supposed to be tricky and I didn't want to do it. There are service roads on both sides not too far below the ridge. Perhaps the one to the north is easier to get to than the one to the south.
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    The tram took me back to the Snowbird base about 5 hours after I had left.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  2. Wanderlust073

    Wanderlust073 Member

    Messages:
    289
    Location:
    Colorado
    Some good looking mountains there.
     
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  3. DrNed

    DrNed The mountains are calling and I must go

    Messages:
    766
    Location:
    Utah
    Good stuff!

    I too have been thinking I need to do more in the mountains
    in our own backyard.

    Did you find out the "hunters" were?
     
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  4. regehr

    regehr Member

    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
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  5. xjblue

    xjblue Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    UT
    I've done that hike once, also alone, essentially the same route, I did visit the high point to the south, and I did cross all of the knife edge to Hidden, the light colored portion of the knife edge ridge presented me no problems at all as I recall and I've a healthy fear of heights and not comfortable with exposure, in fact I recall all of it being surprisingly easy and fun, what I didn't like so much was how loose things got just before getting on the solid rock of the ridge. Then after crossing I was dumb and didn't take the tram down...
     
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  6. regehr

    regehr Member

    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    Thanks for the data point, I'll try the knife edge next time, but maybe starting from the Hidden Peak side so I'm not tired out.
     
  7. WasatchWill

    WasatchWill Ready For More

    Messages:
    1,059
    Location:
    Provo, UT
    Very nice. Looks like a great way to make the most out of an obligatory drive up the canyon.
     
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  8. ridings82

    ridings82 Member

    Messages:
    11
    Thanks for posting all of the pictures. I was up there on Sunday myself. White Pine trailhead to White Pine Lake, boulder hop to Red Baldy, and followed the ridge to Red Top, the American Fork Twin Peaks, and then Snowbird. The descent from Red Baldy down to the saddle before going up Red Top is a tricky class 3. Tons of fun though. I loved the views up there.
     
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  9. PreGeezer

    PreGeezer New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Are you folks talking about the American River fork in California ?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. regehr

    regehr Member

    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    I've climbed Red Baldy quite a few times, but the one time that I tried it from the saddle between it and Red Top, I backed off since it seemed scary. If there was a moderate class 3 route I couldn't find it!
     
  11. regehr

    regehr Member

    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    These American Fork twins are on the ridgeline between American Fork Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City.
     
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