Guided Alpine Climbs & Peaks - Mountaineering (Alpine Climbing)

Guided Alpine Peaks - Mountaineering

The Wasatch Range near Salt Lake City is home to various types of alpine climbs, from mixed to dry alpine rock. Hiring a guide enables our guests to attain summits, train and practice skills in all seasons and on their own schedule.

Some of our favorite Utah alpine routes include the following (many other routes are also available.)

The options listed below are some, BUT NOT ALL possible alpine climbs. Contact UMA to customize your outing.

MIXED ALPINE CLIMBS

Mixed rock and snow routes are exciting, challenging and fun. They often lead to beautiful summits. Ice axe and crampons are typically used, even on rock sections, to avoid transitions. This helps UMA guests prepare for climbing in the Alps, Himalayas, etc. Mixed alpine climbs are in prime condition in winter and spring.

West Ridge of Toledo Peak

Reach a spectacular, 10,530-foot Wasatch summit via the rugged, but well-protected West Ridge. This 2,000-foot ascent involves an approach from Alta, usually on snowshoes or skis. Along the way, suitable areas exist for a snow mountaineering skills session; i.e. practicing the use of axe and crampons in snow. Descent is to the east down Toledo Bowl or north into Cardiff Fork, on foot, glissade, snowshoes or skis.

On the West Ridge, guests are usually belayed and will: 

  • Climb a series of chimneys and aretes
  • Learn mixed rock and snow climbing, usually in crampons
  • Remove rock protection and anchors
  • Used fixed and running belays
  • Be prepared to advance to the South Ridge of Superior

Season: November through May

Difficulty: Beginner mountaineering; moderate fitness is necessary, but no previous ice axe, crampon or rock climbing experience is required

Duration: 6-8 hours

Max Ratio: 3:1

Meeting Time: Generally 7am

Meeting Location: Alta or Big or Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lot

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness, avalanche beacon, shovel, probe and pack (if needed)

What You Need: 

How to Register: 

1 person $395 / person
2 people $275 / person
3 people $225 / person

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Atop Arete Pitch, West Ridge Toledo Peak

Atop Arete Pitch, West Ridge Toledo Peak

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Mount Superior East Ridge

The 11,050-foot Mt. Superior presides over the Snowbird and Alta ski areas and offers spectacular, 360-degree summit views. East Ridge, is a rewarding 2,500 hike / scramble. It is a suitable first alpine climb, and is relatively non-technical, except for some exposed, class 3 scrambling near the summit.

  • Ice axe and crampons often helpful in winter and spring
  • Light hiking boots work well in summer and early fall

Difficulty: Good fitness is necessary, but no previous ice axe, crampon or rock climbing experience is required

Duration: 6-8 hours

Max Ratio: 3:1

Meeting Time: Generally 8am

Meeting Location: Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lot or Alta

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness, avalanche beacon, shovel, probe and pack (if needed)

What You Need: 

How to Register: 

1 person $395 / person
2 people $275 / person
3 people $225 / person

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Sun/Shadow line defines East Ridge of Mt. Superior

Sun/Shadow line defines East Ridge of Mt. Superior

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Mount Superior South Ridge

The prominent South Ridge of this iconic Wasatch peak rises 3,000 feet from near Snowbird Ski Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, to the 11,050' summit. Outstanding views, fun climbing moves, high-quality rock and an airy feeling make this a classic route in any season. The hardest move is rated 5.6.

Typically 1,000 feet of exposed climbing along the knife-edge crest is roped. Protection includes slings, passive protection, snow-pro, stoppers and cams. Guides may employ running belays, short-pitching and short-roping. Descent is generally along the easier East Ridge and down to Alta via Cardiff Pass.

Winter / Spring: 

  • Approach via the snow-filled Suicide Chute
  • Classic ridge above is a mix of rock and snow
  • Crampons and ice axe are used in chute and on ridge

Summer: 

  • Route can often be scaled more swiftly than in snowy conditions
  • Sticky rubber approach shoes are preferred footwear

Difficulty: Intermediate; moderate fitness is necessary; rock climbing experience is recommended

Duration: 6-10 hours

Max Ratio: 3:1

Meeting Time: 6-8 am

Meeting Location: Alta, Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lot or Snowbird

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness, avalanche beacon, shovel, probe and pack (if needed)

What You Need: 

  • Ice axe, crampons and mountain boots (winter/spring); sticky-rubber approach shoes (summer)
  • Lunch, water and snacks
  • Review the equipment list

How to Register: 

1 person $445 / person
2 people $325 / person

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Mixed alpine moves on South Ridge of Superior

Mixed alpine moves on South Ridge of Superior

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Pfeifferhorn East Ridge

Deep in the heart of the rugged Lone Peak Wilderness stands the iconic Pfeifferhorn. After a 4-mile approach with 4,000 feet of vertical gain, this ascent includes steep scrambling to reach the top. In winter the approach is on touring skis with skins, split snowboard or snowshoes. An ice axe and crampons provide security up and down the steep summit slopes. In summer light hikers work well for the mostly dry trail and rocky summit triangle.

Difficulty: Good fitness is necessary, but no previous ice axe, crampon or rock climbing experience is required

Duration: 8-12 hours

Max Ratio: 3:1

Meeting Time: 6am

Meeting Location: White Pine Trailhead or Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lot

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness, avalanche beacon, shovel, probe and pack (if needed)

What You Need: 

How to Register: 

1 person $445 / person
2 people $325 / person
3 people $275 / person

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Ascending the East Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn

Ascending the East Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn

Photo by Eric Shmookler


Pfeifferhorn North Ridge - Overnight

The classic winter mixed snow and rock alpine route in the Central Wasatch Range is the North Ridge of the "Pfeiff." Approach from White Pine Parking Lot on day 1, using skis, split-board or snowshoes for flotation in the snow. A weather-proof snow camp will be established around 9 or 10,000-feet in Maybird Gulch. Enjoy a quiet night in a cozy tent with a warm down sleeping bag.

Rise early, brew up, and warm up on a short approach to the base of the peak. A steep, east-facing snow couloir leads to the rocky summit ridge. The ridge is scaled in 7 pitches of fixed belays, usually wearing crampons and employing a combination of ice axe placements and hand holds on the granite. Finish on a ribbon of moderate snow high in the sky. Descent is via the more moderate East Ridge, and may include glissading on the northeast apron.

  • Approach from White Pine Trailhead on day 1
  • Skis, split-board or snowshoes used for flotation in the snow
  • Establish weather-proof snow camp at 9 or 10,000-feet
  • Enjoy a quiet night in a cozy tent with a warm sleeping bag
  • Rise early, brew up, and warm up on a short approach to the base
  • Crampon up steep snow couloir to gain the rocky north ridge
  • Scale the ridge using rope, natural protection and various belays
  • Employ ice axe placements and hand holds on snow and granite
  • Finish on a ribbon of moderate snow high in the sky
  • Descend via the more moderate East Ridge and northeast apron
  • North Ridge is usually done as an overnight
  • Can be climbed in one long day by very fit, experienced parties
  • Mixed climbing season is winter and early spring
  • Mid-summer and fall ridge is generally dry and stable
  • Sticky rubber approach shoes best for summer

Difficulty: Advanced; previous mountaineering experience and excellent fitness required

Duration: Two days

Max Ratio: 2:1

Meeting Time: Generally 8 to 10 am

Meeting Location: White Pine Trailhead or Little Cottonwood Park and Ride Lot

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness (if needed)
  • Breakfast, dinner, tent, cook kit and stove

What You Need: 

  • Ice axe, crampons and mountain boots; touring equipment or snowshoes for approach; sticky-rubber shoes in summer
  • Lunch, water, snacks, sleeping bag and pad(s)
  • Review our complete equipment list

How to Register: 

1 person $985 / person
2 people $685 / person

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Traverse section, North Ridge, Pefifferhorn

Traverse section, North Ridge, Pefifferhorn

Photo by Tyson Bradley


ALPINE ROCK CLIMBS

Alpine rock climbs involve an approach hike, and can be on granite, quartzite and limestone formations. These are best done in summer and early fall, when the rock is snow-free. Duration of climbs ranges from partial to long single-days, to overnight and multi-day options.

Mt. Olympus West Slabs

Fun, 5.5-level climbing allows for efficient movement up 10 pitches on the 65-degree, 1800' northwest face. Start early, approach and climb the face and enjoy the commanding views all day. Descent is by means of down-climbing to the west and rappelling.

  • In spring approach gully is snowy
  • Crampons and ice axe add security
  • Snow school can be included in the day

Difficulty: Introductory; Moderate fitness is necessary, but no previous climbing experience is required

Duration: 8-12 hours

Max Ratio: 3:1

Meeting Time: Generally 6 am

Meeting Location: Einstein Bagel Shop in Olympus Cove

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness

What You Need: 

How to Register: 

1 person $445 / person
2 people $325 / person
3 people $275 / person

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Climbing the West Slabs of Mt. Olympus

Climbing the West Slabs of Mt. Olympus

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Lone Peak

The Lone Peak Cirque offers world-class alpine rock climbs from scrambles to 5.14. Most climbers spend one or more nights sleeping in the cirque climbing classic routes. Ultra-fit parties can approach, climb and hike down in one VERY long day. Camping at 10,000' in the cirque is beautiful and generally quiet, owing to the strenuous, 4,500' approach.

Routes to Consider

The Open Book, 5.7, 6 pitches, leads to the true (north) summit up a series of classic granite climbing problems, from off-widths to double cracks to squeeze chimneys. Schoolroom, The Thumb and Tingeys at the Gate Buttress provide good training for this climb.

The Lowe Route, 5.8, 4 pitches, is perhaps the most popular moderate route in the Cirque. It follows a 5.8 lieback crack to a pair of face and thin crack pitches. It culminates in a 140-foot pitch of vertical, knobby granite, 600 feet in the air and 7k above the valley below. Yet it goes at 5.6! Top out at sunset before rapping down in the alpenglow to a twilight camp dinner.

Vertical Smile and Triple Overhangs, 5.10, 4 pitches. Both routes climb stellar crack systems to the main summit on impeccable alpine granite.

Many other 1-6 pitch routes provide variety and options. Usual descent for technical summit routes is to downclimb Collins Highway and rappel Petes Staircase.

Difficulty: Beginner to advanced; previous rock and mountaineering experience recommended; moderate to strong fitness necessary

Duration: One or more days

Max Ratio: 2:1 for technical routes; 4:1 for NW Ridge.

Meeting Time: Generally 8 am

Meeting Location: Orson Smith Trailhead in Draper

What We Provide: 

  • Broadly experienced, highly-trained, professional mountaineering guides
  • Helmet, harness
  • Breakfast, dinner, tent, cook kit and stove

What You Need: 

How to Register: 

1 person, single-day $445 / person
2 people, single-day $325 / person
1 person, overnight $985 for 2 days; + $592.50 for each add'l day and overnight
2 people, overnight $685 / person; + $412.50 for each add'l day and overnight

6.85% tax will be added to all prices; gratuity is not included

Camping in the Lone Peak Cirque

Camping in the Lone Peak Cirque

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Other Popular Alpine Rock Climbs

  • Sundial, Eleventh Hour, 5.8, 5-6 pitches, 3,000' approach
  • Devils Castle, The Black Streak: 5.10b, 6 pitches, 700 feet
  • Bells Canyon, Arm and Hammer: 5.11c, or 5.10 A1, 6 pitches, 600 feet
Sundial Peak at sunset

Sundial Peak at sunset

Photo by Tyson Bradley


Utah Mountain Adventures

P.O. Box 521809

Salt Lake City, Utah 84152-1809

Phone: (801) 550 3986

Fax: (801) 486 8505

Email: uma@utahmountainadventures.com

Utah Mountain Adventures | Patagonia Utah Mountain Adventures | Forest Service Backcountry Skiing Utah, by Tyson Bradley
Backcountry Skiing & Snowboarding - Utah Mountain Adventures

Leave the crowds behind, and expand your skiing and snowboarding horizons! Traveling out-ofbounds, using climbing skins and alpine touring (AT) or telemark binding, or a split-board is becoming tremendously popular.

AT skis and splitboards are available for rent from UMA and local shops.

Touring is the perfect sport for those who hike or climb in summer and love to ski or snowboard in winter. Skinning facilitates approach and egress from peaks in winter and spring that would take far longer without. Solitude, cardio-vascular exercise, and adventurous runs are all part of the "off-piste" experience.

The Wasatch Range offers easy lift and trailhead access to deep, light snow in wide-open bowls, protected glades, and steep chutes.

Lift access is available from Alta, Brighton, The Canyons and Snowbird.

Trailhead access is available in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and Millcreek, etc.

A knowledgeable UMA guide will lead you into the finest snow and terrain. Our guides keep abreast of the avalanche, snow and weather conditions to choose the best tours. They take into consideration both your fitness level and downhill ability to select the appropriate routes for you.

UMA guides pace you and teach you how to travel uphill efficiently, working on rest-step and kick-turning techniques and progress only as fast as you feel comfortable. They give you plenty of time to rest, enjoy the view and take photos. UMA guides demonstrate how to transition between the uphill and downhill modes and teach as much about avalanche hazard evaluation, route finding and other skills as you want to learn.

Skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels improve techniques, discover new terrain, and build leadership skills.

For more information on backcountry skiing & snowboarding classes in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, please view our Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding Courses.

We also offer private Guided Backcountry Touring & Instruction in the Wasatch Range in and around the Salt Lake area.