UTAH ALPINE CLASSICS
Join us for a day of fun climbing in South Ridge in 50 degree snow, short steps of 5.6 rock on exposed knife edge ridges or any other Utah Alpine Classics.
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Utah Alpine Classics Overview
The Central Wasatch offers great winter alpine and ice climbing. Many of these climbs can be done in a long day, and offer high quality snow and mixed climbing. There are not many places in the U.S. that you can fly in one day and climb a 3,000 ridge of mixed the next day. The climbing’s easy access make Utah a supreme spot to train for harder objectives or for someone looking to enter alpine climbing arena.
Climbs of Utah Alpine Classics
Rising 3,000+ feet from the canyon floor, the South Ridge offers fun climbing (50 degree snow, short steps of 5.6 rock) on exposed knife edge ridges.
The southwest ridge of Superior is an adventure not to be missed. This outing requires a high level of fitness and intermediate alpine skills. Superior is an impressive looking peak just across the road from Snowbird. If you have ever skied at the “Bird”, you have surely looked across at this peak in awe. This climb consist of climbing an traversing an exposed ridge while traveling roped up with crampons and an ice axe. From the summit we have spectacular views of the magnificent Wasatch crest, the expansive Salt Lake Valley, the Great Salt Lake, and the Ophir mountain range to the West. For the expert skiers, it is possible to take skis and descend either the south face of Superior, a classic steep and coveted ski line, or off the Northeast chutes into Cardiff drainage and out to Big Cottonwood Canyon. Otherwise we hike down the east ridge and descend back to Little Cottonwood Canyon.
East Ridge of Superior
The East ridge is a gentler, but no less beautiful alpine climb that ascends to the summit of Superior. This exposed ridge is climbed partly on skis, and partly on a boot pack up an exposed ridge. No roped travel is required here, but we do take an ice axe for added security. You then find yourself in the heart of the Wasatch with many options for skiing down depending on where the snow quality is the best! Come fit for this adventure and we will take you on a grand tour of some of our finest ski terrain available.
A three mile approach bring us to the base of this symmetrical and very recognizable peak. A route up the North Ridge begins with a climb up a 40+ degree gully to gain the steep broken ridge. The ridge offers up to 5.7 rock and mixed climbing.
The Great White Icicle
The Great White Icicle offers four to five pitches of ice climbing up to water ice 4. This climb ascends a giant couloir giving it a very alpine feel.
This long ridge traverse begins by climbing the steep Tanners gulch to the col and then over three summits; Dromedary, Sunrise and Twin. we descend Broads fork to the road. Mostly snow climbing on exposed ridges and excellent views.
Stairway to Heaven
This stunning waterfall has 800 vertical feet of ice climbing up to water ice 5. There are a number of variations and neighboring climbs, offering something for every ability.
The Grunge Couloir is a Grade IV ,AI 2 – 3. It is one of many fun adventures accessing the Wasatch’s second highest peak, 11,749 feet.
Best Time to Book*
- January and April
- *The rate per person/day and based on the total number of people in your group.
- $500 per person
- *$125/person for an additional person.
Client to Guide Ratio
- We maintain a 2 clients to 1 guide ratio. North Ridge of the Pfifferhorn and South Ridge of Superior in winter are considered big objectives and we charge $50 extra per person.
Please contact us for group rates, custom dates or any other custom booking requirements
- IFMGA/AMGA certified guide.
- Liability Insurance
- Upon request we will provide a Back Pack with Beacon, Shovel and Prob.
- Unforgettable day in the Wasatch Backcountry
- Transportation or cost of public transport
- Lift ticket is needed
- Tips for the Guide
While the difficulty of climbing required on every trip is different, there are some basic skills that are required on any climbing trip. Every climber needs to be able to put on their own equipment correctly, as well as have basic understanding of climbing jargon adequate to follow your guides directions. Each climber needs to be able to tie a figure eight rethread knot as well as a clove hitch, and have basic belay and rappel experience.
If we are on glacier during the trip, you should have previous experience using crampons and ice axe, as well as training on self arrest. Crevasse Rescue training, while not required on every trip is a good skill every climber should have in their tool box.
This stuff can all be learned in a day or two out with an ITCOG guide or one of our colleagues. Get in touch and set up a training class today.
Each climb has a technical grade ranging from class 1 (hiking) to class 5 (technical rock climbing). Most of our Alpine offerings start at Class 3, which is described as scrambling on rock with the use of both feet and hands. Being comfortable moving in this terrain while being short roped or coached by a guide is our base line.
Many of our Alpine climbs require 5th class climbing, described as technical rock climbing. Terrain where you would not want to fall without a rope. The class is then divided by grades: 5.0 to 5.10 for example. You will need to climb proficiently at the grade of the objective for which you are signing up for. For example: The Matterhorn is rated 5.4, you will need to move at a good steady pace for 8-12 hours , up and down in 5.4 terrain. (please check out our climbing grades comparison chart at the end of this document.)
Most Summit days are big! On our alpine climbs you can expect to be moving at a steady pace for 8 to 14 hours. That’s a big time difference, I know! But that ultimately depends on you! A good guide won’t waste time, he/she sets good pacing and route finding sure! but your fitness and skill level will be the biggest determinate between a big and a huge day. Ultimately speed is safety. The longer you are out the more tired you become. Standard times on mountains are always a consideration and are generally adhered to.
A positive attitude, which includes being mentally prepared goes a long way in the mountains. But determination will only get you so far. I always ask people what their average week of exercise looks like, and what is their biggest day of exercise in the past year. I look for a regular exercise program of 2-3 days a week and many weekends. Having a big activity like; a big hike or a long run, or past experience Alpine climbing and mountaineering are good indicators for adequate fitness.
Many of our alpine climbs are above 14,000 feet. At these elevations the lack of oxygen getting into your lungs with each breath is a factor when considering fitness. The single greatest thing you can do to improve your performance at altitude, is to show up with a
strong heart! If you show up cardio fit. You should be pushing your cardio in the months and weeks prior to your climb. Your strong heart and lungs will adapt to altitude better than they otherwise would.
We have lot’s of experience helping people get fit for trips. The last thing in the world you want is for your fitness to stop you from doing your trip of a life time. We are happy to work with you to establish a training program that fits your goals and lifestyle. If you can make it to Salt Lake City, we would love to take you out and give you an idea of where you are at with your climbing ability and skills, as well as your over all fitness. Don’t forget if you have different abilities or a different agenda, we are always happy to do a private trip for you and your group.