Utah Scrambles
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Mt Timpanogos
Mt Nebo North

Utah Scrambles in the Wasatch Mountains

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Trip August 8th to August 14, 2009

A thread on 14ers.com was started on good scrambles in the Utah mountains and as I looked at the driving route to get to the 14ers in SW Colorado I surmised it might be worth breaking the trip up and doing a couple of scrambles in the Salt Lake City Provo area. Only a little bit of searching things out and a number of popular scrambles in the Wasatch Mountains came to the surface. There was Mt Timpanogos, Mt Nebo, Lone Peak, the Pfeifferhorn, Dromedary Peak just to name a few. I picked out the most popular Mt Timpanogos and the highest in the Wasatch at 11,928ft, Mt Nebo North Peak.


The Rav4 rolled down the highway for 770 miles as I found energy to do a big day. I also found my favorite cereal again and planned to buy a few boxes on the way back, Kashi Heart to Heart Oat Cereal, ummm good early morning hiking food.

Photos on first travel day

The second day I rolled into Salt Lake City and headed to the REI on 3300S. Itís always fun for me to browse gear stores. After wandering through the store for a while I found a Camelbak Alpine Explorer that caught my fancy. I probably put it on and off with some weight in it about 3 times, my frugalness hindering me a bit. After all I call my Rav4 "Alís Bed and Breakfast". So with a bit of purchasersí dissonance I coughed up the money and made the purchase. As it later turned out it was a perfect pack for the 2 scrambles so good buy. Wanting to know a bit more about the scrambles in the area I picked up a good book by Randy Winters called Wasatch Eleveners.

I also picked up some more of my new favorite energy food, Clif Shot Bloks. Give them a try, I really like them. You need water to wash them down though.

REI, Salt Lake City 3300S

I would comment that people in Utah are in just a big of a hurry to who knows where as in Calgary. Everybody seems to be just frantically rushing around. We have our Deerfoot Trail in Calgary; they have the I-15 through Salt Lake City. I would also say that wealth seems to exude from the cities in Utah. New buildings are going up everywhere and what is there is medium to high end. Perhaps I didnít drive around enough?

But onto to the first scramble, Mt Timpanogos Aspen Grove Trail. I would have to say it is one of the most beautiful scrambles that I have done. Lots of greenery, lots of wild flowers, numerous waterfalls, beautiful high alpine, and I can see why so popular. I met a trio of families on the top who were friendly and I passed this web site address to them. One gentleman was from Boulder, Utah and lived in a Yurt and taught outdoor survival skills, another gentleman was from the Orem Provo area and had each summer off as he worked as a music teacher for the school system. Hope to hear from them again. Long day though, 4,900 ft elevation gain and 14 or 16 miles return.

On my day off I found a very good Mexican place to eat, the "Mexican Bajio Grill" in Provo. Very good burritos and salads, highly recommended. The green tomatillo dressing was great.

Mexican Bajio Grill, Provo, Utah, 992 South University Ave or Highway 189

On the same day I visited the Black Diamond store in Salt Lake City and picked up a ground sheet for my Black Diamond First Light tent and a cool hat. Definitely not on sale though!

Black Diamond Equipment, Salt Lake City, 2084 East 3900 South

From there it was off to the trail head for Mt Nebo taking the Nebo Scenic Byway beginning in the town of Payson. This road is narrow and winding and goes from the valley floor to around 9,000 ft on the east side of the Mt Nebo group. Just remember to pay attention to the road as guardrails are sparse if any.

Mt Nebo North Peak was a much more remote and rugged trip with a good climberís trail the whole way. I would call this route a class 2+ as it is pretty loose and dicey near the top. You need to pay attention with your footing on the last part both going up and going down. There is some hands down climbing for like the last 30 feet to the top of the false summit. I would only recommend this mountain in dry conditions. In any other conditions you need to carefully assess your abilities and the possible dangers you could face with snow cover or icy terrain or wet terrain.

And you know how it seems there is always a glitch along the way when scrambling? Well as I headed up the trail I realized I forgot my sunscreen on a hot blue sky day. So rather than lose a lot of time going back I wore my wind breaker for the whole way, good thing I had lots of water.

From there is was back to the Mexican Bajio Grill for supper and a leisurely drive back to Calgary, once I escaped the gridlock on I-15 near Salt Lake City that is. I stopped in Dillon, Montana at their big Safeway and loaded up on cereal, took highway 41 to get to Bozeman, Montana. Visited Barrel Mountaineering and Northern Lights Trading Co and unfortunately Rockford Coffee shop was closed.

From there it was back towards Helena, Montana stopping at the Wheat Montana Bakery at the intersection of I-90 and highway 287, Very popular spot.

The last night on the road was camping north of Helena at the Holter Lake campground off of I-15 Wolf Creek exit 226. Very nice spot and bug free. So a very unique and unexpected adventure as I was originally planning to head to SW Colorado but as man sometimes plans, the Lord can alter the steps.

Holter Lake Campground north of Helena, Montana

My traveling music, tracks 3,4,5,8