brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
[personal profile] brdgt
On Sunday we hiked the Pfeifferhorn - a 11,326' peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon that several people had recommended to us. It would be our highest peak yet.

We got to the trailhead at 9:30 AM and saw mostly trail runners on the way up. The trail is very steep after the first few miles - 2,000' elevation gain in 3 miles.

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The peak in the distance is the false peak we would have to summit before reaching the Pfeifferhorn.

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We had lunch at Red Pine Lake, where we watched a fly fisherman catch several fish and asked around about the trail up to Pfeifferhorn but only succeeded in finding out that no one knew anything other than it wasn't marked.

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Luckily there were enough cairns that we found our way and after another mile or so encountered the beginning of the more difficult part of the hike - very steep mountainsides with poor surface to climb on. We did see lots of pikas and a marmot on this hillside.

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Looking back at Red Pine Lake. Nick stated he would rank this view one of the top 5 he has ever seen.

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And this was just to the *false* summit. Over the course of the whole hike (~9 miles) we had 3,877' elevation gain.

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After the false summit we hiked along a ridge, where views of Mount Timpanogos opened up.

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And then, there she was.

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Nick did not like the look of this knife's edge and argued that we should not summit. I argued that we at least wait until the two trail runners who were at the top came down and ask them their advice. Fortunately, they had some useful suggestions and we went on, traversing the knife's edge by dropping down the northside.

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Then the final ascent!

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We made it!

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You may have noticed those darkening clouds in the background? A big storm hit us just as we descended the summit, but before traversing the knife's edge. In addition to the lightning striking less than .5 miles away the rocks were too wet to scramble (definitely a Class 4 scramble).

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After 45 minutes and the lightning stopped we decided we were too cold - I was honestly worried about Nick having hypothermia - that we decided to risk the wet rocks and escape our little cave.

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We ended up getting back to the trailhead at 8PM, with rain and mist the whole way down.

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It was a great hike, despite our travails. I did experience altitude sickness, mostly just headache and vertigo while hiking - but I experienced some worse symptoms that evening after returning home - feverish, extreme fatigue, and, oddly, extremely dry eyes.
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Brdgt

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