Friday, January 7, 2011

Superior and Monte Cristo

We crested Cardiff as the sun began to peak over the horizon. Hiking in the dark seems to pass more quickly than in the light of day. All you can focus on is the small bit of light your headlamp casts out in front of you and the squeak of the snow underfoot. The long ridge to the summit laid out before us.

Deep wind-drifted snow plagued our path as we kicked in a boot pack up the steeper sections. The clouds moved in and the light went flat. Time passed faster than we had anticipated but as we gained the summit of Superior the cloud cover cleared and we were rewarded with a cloudless ascent of the last little bit to Monte Cristo. Standing on the summit was pretty surreal, a lot different than I had anticipated.

The Heart of Darkness was our next objective so we harnessed up and traversed down the north ridge of Monte Cristo in amazing snow. I pulled out the rope and fixed it in the narrow hallway that we would descend. Sitting in the narrow slot canyon, with looming walls framing the snow covered peaks in the distance, was like a little bit of Zion National Park had found its way north.

After seeing the Wasatch from a new perspective we descended through Mill B South. A long slog out. I had to stay in ski mode with my splitboard because of how flat it was. Parker and I had a heck of a time with the brief downhill sections.

"I HATE SKIING!" Parker screamed, with added expletives, at one point after yet another fall. If it weren't for the awesome surroundings I think he may have completely blown a fuse.

Next time we won't go out that way...Not faster. Not at all. Hayden then hitchhiked down to his car and we drove back to Alta to get our vehicles. Waking up at 4 a.m. and getting home at 5:30 p.m. made the journey feel like multiple days. Can't wait for the next summit.

Still a ways to go.

Nothing beats a ridge line sunrise.

Parker getting close to the Summit

11,132 ft.

On the summit of Monte Cristo.

Into the Heart of Darkness

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