Provo, Box Elder

(These were actually two separate days, but neither was all that interesting, and I was having camera problems. Provo and Box Elder are the 11,000′ peaks on either side of the Timpanogos group. Both are straightforward climbs by their standard routes.)

The normal west ridge route for Provo is a short hike when the road is open, but the spring closure adds 5 miles of road-hiking each way. The crust on the ridge was good for crampons, though I made my life more difficult by taking the northwest ridge on the way up, and by bringing my running-shoe crampons and no ice axe (to save weight). The gear proved barely adequate, and I had to invent a new and strange way to glissade on the way down.

The road to Granite Flat Campground was inexplicably gated down by the lake, adding a bit of dry, paved road to the hike up Box Elder. It was t-shirt weather on the snow most of the way to the summit, and I had to pick my route carefully to avoid painful postholing. The summit has excellent views of both Timpanogos to the south, and several other 11ers to the north. To descend, I glissaded the top part of the east face then, after some exploratory dithering, found a narrow couloir through the cliff band below. After more boot-skiing and glissading down the ravine below, I brute-forced my way through woods and willows back to the trail.

Dirtbag Note

While sleeping in the parking lot next to the gate on UT-92, I got the full brights-and-spotlight treatment from two Suburbans’ worth of cops — not rangers, but Joseph Smith’s Finest. I evidently looked enough like an empty sleeping bag that they didn’t pester me further, but it was still unsettling, as a degenerate such as Yours Truly would probably be little better than a Lamanite in these upstanding Nephites’ eyes (at least I have fair skin). I’ll probably look for alternate lodging when I go back for Timpanogos.

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