Saturday, December 10, 2011

Grandeur Peak, Well Almost


I didn’t post this sooner because I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the pictures. However, seeing how I haven't done much lately I decided I would post it.

It was a simple idea really, hike above the smog line. Every winter we get an interesting (read horrifying) whether phenomenon called inversion. Which basically means the smog cannot escape the valley and just builds, and builds. There are weeks we go where the smog is worse than anywhere in the US. It’s awful.

I last minute decided to see if my friend Monica wanted to join me on my weekend adventure. After doubling back a few times trying to find the entrance to Mill Creek Canyon, we found it and drove up. Interesting side note: It was rather interesting to drive past all the cub scout camps I went to as a kid. I knew they were somewhere local-ish and now I found them. Brought back some old memories. I’m surprised I didn’t take any DBP pictures.

Anyway, Drive up the canyon a little ways until you reach the Church Fork Picnic area. There is a parking lot past the picnic area at the trail head, but it is almost always filled. Most likely have to park on the side of the road and add o I donno, a quarter mile hike through the picnic area.

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Mill Creek


Ice Covered Stream


Half Frozen Waterfall


Frozen Splash


Even in the wintertime this little picnic area is rather pretty. It’s a hilly little meadow with a stream bubbling through it. I would really like to return in the spring time.


This small frozen waterfall is at the small parking lot to the trail head.


Frozen side stream.


The same waterfall from above.


From the other side.


From this altitude, and the right angle, it looks like a nice day. However:


Not quite above the smog yet.

About this point Monica had to start back. We didn’t get very far up but both agreed we should return again someday.


Better angle on the first waterfall.


The little stream.


Here you can see the valley below filled with smog. We paid the $3.00 area use fee and made our way home.

After parting ways with Monica I decided I wasn’t done yet. I didn’t want to pay the $3.00 to go back into Mill Creek Canyon, so I decided to go back to where I first saw Gradeur Peak from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. And attempt the more difficult, and not as pretty climb up the West Ridge Trail head.


Downtown Salt Lake. The smog doesn’t seem too bad in this photo.


But you can barely make out the Oquirrh Mountains across the valley.


The West Ridge Trail offers 2 options. One starts in the valley, and makes it way up to the left ridge, the other immediately climbs the right ridge. I tried option b, and that proved to be too steep for me. So I climbed back down and tried option a. As was later proven, this was not a much better choice.


Okay, this trail, in this smog was not the best idea. I had to stop and catch my breath every 20 feet or so. This was really tough on the lungs.


Thick trees.


I can barely make out the Oquirrhs!


I like this lonely duo on the hill side.


This is about as high as I could muster. The smog combined with the steep climb was really kicking my butt.


But I did get the photo I was after.


I then decided to hike out to that lower peak. This small trail actually made me a little nervous. With the wind gusting, and a pretty steep hill on both sides it was a little eep

Granduer stitch (2)

Quick little panoramic.


A view of the peak. See that dark spot a little above halfway, below the peak, that is about as far up as I got, well almost.



So, I attempted to climb Granduer Peak 2 different ways today, and failed to make it on both attempts. It is on the list of things to complete one day.

Due to not making it, and the general conditions I don’t think it would be fair to rate either trail. I will throw this in, the West Ridge trail, I would never, ever in a million years attempt to do in the summer time. Full sun, absolutely no shelter. It may be the shorter route, but it is tough, and I imagine it would be absolutely miserable in the full sun on a 80+ degree day. The Church fork trail, even in the dead of winter was much prettier. If you have time, I would say do that one.