Twin Peaks via Broads Fork

JohnP

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Aug 18, 2014
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After scoping out Twin Peaks during a Broads Fork afternoon hike a few weeks back, I came back on Sunday morning to attempt it. And while my route finding was far from perfect (or efficient), I made it to the top and was rewarded with a summit all to myself and beautiful views from all angles. This hike has it all -- a long, scenic approach; flowing streams throughout; snow & boulder filled upper bowl; beautiful ridge line; class 3 scrambling; and beautiful views throughout. You definitely have to earn 'er but totally worth it.

I got off to a late start due to my severe coffee addition and preference for over-priced lattes on Sunday mornings and by the time I got to the trailhead, the main Mill B South parking lot was full. Luckily, the other lot had plenty of room and I avoided parking on the road along the S-curve.

At a little over 2 miles and 2,000 vert feet, the hike up to Broads Fork meadow is the perfect balance of scenery and "warm-up" physical exertion to get you started on the right foot.

After about a mile in, you come to a wooden bridge crossing Broads Fork.
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Continuing up to the meadow, you pass through a beautiful set of Aspen trees. What does one call a "grouping" of trees? A group? A set? A gaggle?
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Arriving at the meadow (about 8,200 feet), you can finally appreciate the options ahead of you. Dromedary, Sunrise, and the twins dot the skyline. I imagine a lot of people camp at the meadows although I didn't see anyone during this trip.
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From the meadow, you'll want to take the trail heading toward the large pond to the left. You'll cross a "bridge" that has definitely seen better days but gets the job done and start heading up to the upper bowl.

As you'll see with my GPS tracks below, I didn't take the "easiest" path up even though there is a clearly marked trail ..... and by "clearly marked", I mean it became abundantly "clear" to me on the descent.
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Soon the saddle between the Twins and Sunrise will become visible and you start the real work. There was still quite a bit of snow in this section but I don't think I'd want less ..... the prospect of a boulder field for this section would have made travel worse, IMO. With that said, a pair of yak-traks made the steep sections much easier.
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I hugged the right hand edge, which required a bit more scrambling than necessary ..... it seems that most people choose a section of snow that ran right up to the ridge because .... well ..... that's probably the most efficient path. I, on the other hand, apparently prefer the more difficult / inefficient approaches.

The saddle gives way to some beautiful views into Little Cottonwood and a perfect place to rest and consume some calories.
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This is where the scrambling begins ....... although if you follow my approach, there was plenty of it up to the saddle. I dropped down on the south side of the saddle about 100 ft or so and followed a lose set of cairns taking you to a snow couloir / chimney. Here, you climb up a hundred feet or so back to the main ridge.
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Once back on the ridge, it's a straight-forward switch back trail to the summit.
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Views for miles in each direction --- absolutely stunning
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The descent was pretty straight-forward .... although I attempted to drop in a bit early and had to backtrack back to the ridge for another 20 mins "detour". I'm a slow learner, folks.

H20 fill-up on the descent
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I ran into a rattlesnake in the meadows on the way down and he quickly made it clear that it was HIS trail, not mine. That was my first rattlesnake encounter and despite my fatigued legs, I jumped high enough to clear a standard automobile. That rattle is distinct sound I will never forget ...... but didnt deter me from turning around and taking a picture after I collected myself.
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GPS showing my tracks (kind of .... too large for a single pic)
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Nick

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Very cool! That looks like a great hike and a great time to do it with the snow. I really enjoyed your narrative too.

Continuing up to the meadow, you pass through a beautiful set of Aspen trees. What does one call a "grouping" of trees? A group? A set? A gaggle?

I believe that would be a grove of aspen trees. Although with aspens, when they are all together, they are sometimes the same tree.
 

LarryBoy

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You chose a good time of year to do it. Every time I do the Broads Fork Twins, I'm reminded why it's a bad idea - the headwall of the cirque leading up to the ridgeline. That steep, loose talus is no fun.
 

Artemus

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Great report. I've done your route twice. I need to attempt the Robinson Variation one of these days.
The other ways I've been up are up Bonkers and up Stairs Gulch. What is the Robinson Variation?
 

scatman

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@langutah - The Robinson Variation follows the same approach, but breaks off at the basin and gains the ridge to the north of the eastern peak then follows the ridge south to the peak.
 

JohnP

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@scatman, @langutah - very interesting ....... what about a Dromedary / Sunrise / Twins traverse? Ever been done?

I imagine setting up a "launch" camp above the meadows for an early morning start. Question becomes .... what's the technical climbing / scrambling required to chain together those 3 peaks. I know each can be done via class 3 scrambles individually but I'm not sure what the ridges between each for a true traverse would look like
 

scatman

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@scatman, @langutah - very interesting ....... what about a Dromedary / Sunrise / Twins traverse? Ever been done?

I imagine setting up a "launch" camp above the meadows for an early morning start. Question becomes .... what's the technical climbing / scrambling required to chain together those 3 peaks. I know each can be done via class 3 scrambles individually but I'm not sure what the ridges between each for a true traverse would look like

@JohnP - It's done quite regularly and is know as the "triple traverse." I have never done it, but if memory serves me right, people have told me that with the right route finding it is all class 3 scrambles. If I remember correctly, you may have to drop down on the southern side of the ridges occasionally to keep it at class 3. @langutah has probably climbed both peaks and can give you first hand information on the route and difficulty. I'll be interested to hear his take on this. This can also be done as part of the Cottonwood Ridge Traverse which is truly an all day affair.
 

Artemus

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@JohnP - It's done quite regularly and is know as the "triple traverse." I have never done it, but if memory serves me right, people have told me that with the right route finding it is all class 3 scrambles. If I remember correctly, you may have to drop down on the southern side of the ridges occasionally to keep it at class 3. @langutah has probably climbed both peaks and can give you first hand information on the route and difficulty. I'll be interested to hear his take on this. This can also be done as part of the Cottonwood Ridge Traverse which is truly an all day affair.
Yes that traverse is relatively common and supposedly can go at 3rd class if you hunt around. It is done in winter too. I have been on Dromedary and Sunrise and Twins independently and the other one on that section of ridge - Summit Post probably documents them all - but I have never done the traverse. I probably will some day.

It could be done as part of the Cottonwood Ridge Traverse or the other one that has been invented - from the valley up to the ridge, over these peaks along the ridge, circling Alta on the Ridge then all the way out the LCC/American Fork Ridge to Lone Peak and back down to the valley. In one push!

UPDATE - here is that summitpost description of the peaks and the triple traverse is about half way down. http://www.summitpost.org/wasatch-cottonwood-ridge/171207#chapter_4
 
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Eric O

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Apr 12, 2014
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I was up there today taking a look. Beautiful area. I just went to the pond, hung out and took in the views for a bit and then headed back down. Started at 7am and I got back to the car at 10am. How long did it take round trip? I'm not a very fast hiker so if I am going to attempt the summit I'll need to give myself plenty of time.
 
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JohnP

rugged, remote, and beautiful. you have captured the essence of the twin peaks wilderness area.

triple traverse is the gem of the Wasatch. a bit of touch-n-go class 3 action between the saddle and dromedary peak if you choose to follow the line of least resistence on the south side of the ridge. though equally impressive and enjoyable, the advantage of robinson couloir (aka bonkers) vs the standard route is that you don't repeat any part of the route. however, imo, the best approach is cruising up the north ridge (broads fork/stairs gulch divide) - hang a right at the first meadow just passed the bridge low down in broads fork and thrash for a short distance to the ridge. follow the clean ridge all the way to the summit... you will not be disappointed.

for a more sporty version of the triple traverse you would simply want to fire straight up the gut of stairs gulch. the gnarled/stunted "bonsai" flora surviving up there in the mid-upper elevation violent/harsh environment (grade 5 avi slide path zone) adds an "other-worldly" element to the whole ordeal. i could hang out in that zone all day.
warning: do not enter stairs gulch until well after the spring avalanche cycle. june at the earliest.

and of course, for the fit you have the cottonwood traverse (twins to Superior), or for the crazy-fit you have the "triple double" (if you want to keep it the twin peaks wilderness), and for the freaks there is always the W.U.R.L.

the go to source for twin peaks wilderness outings...

http://www.summitpost.org/-broads-fork-twins-routes/115706/c-150522

get after it!
 
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