The UAJ 99!

Lone Peak

Go ahead, I dare you. Try to run to the summit of 11,253-foot Lone Peak from the Jacobs Ladder Trailhead. At 5.5 miles one way
and with 5650 feet of elevation gain, the runability sounds within reach for a
trail runner of excellent fitness. But in reality it’s probably impossible for
everyone but the sport’s immortals. That’s because the first section through
“Jacobs Ladder” is wicked steep and the last summit push is a class 3 scramble
with enough woozy exposure to encourage careful, deliberate movement. But the
middle section, what composes probably half of the one-way trip, offers some
delightful running. As with all of the Wasatch peaks, the summit view is sick
and worth whatever work it takes to get there.

Meghan Hicks

 

Place to Mingle
With Singles: The Trailhead

Think about it: the trailhead is a central gathering
point for physically active men and women who share at least a few common
interests. Ah, but it’s so much more than that. A trailhead qualifies your hot
date even before dropping a bad pick-up line. Observe the details as your new
muse showers her gear with a little TLC or preps for his carnal conquest of the
summit. Making a move requires little more than a non-committal act of
inquiring about trail conditions, which sets the mood for larger, more intimate
questions, like Can I borrow your hand pump?

Runner Up: Everywhere else

-Stephanie Nitsch

 

Après Ski: The
Alta Peruvian

The Alta Peruvian Bar

Upon stepping into the rustic bar in the Peruvian Lodge
at Alta, one immediately spies a trophy elk head with antlers doubling as a
coat rack. Next comes the savory smell of high calorie free snacks like buffalo
wings, stuffed mushroom caps or popcorn. Large windows create a spacious feel.
This ain’t no swanky pretentious lounge trying to separate après skiers from
their cash, but a true taste of mountain culture, where the guests mingle with
the locals. It is the perfect place to relax and wait out the traffic headed
down Little Cottonwood Canyon. The Peruvian sports a full service bar,
occasional live music and a lively crowd on weekend nights. Bring your ID. –Ron Penner

 

Dryland Training
Facility

Founded by local pro skier, Kevin Brower, Snogression is
an indoor training facility that rivals the Olympic Park.  Much closer to downtown and much drier than
the water ramps, this huge indoor playground features state-of-the-art
trampolines, foam pits, and a one-of-a-kind tow-in system aimed at launching
skiers to the rafters.  Coaching sessions
and group training are also available to hone those sweet moments of airtime.  The community feel also provides the perfect
venue for sharing technical tips and having the opportunity to train alongside
local pros.  It also serves as a great
meeting spot on a hot summer day when there isn’t a trace of snow on the
distant peaks. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall

 

Summit Country
Singletrack

Quite possibly, the greatest amount of singletrack
anywhere in the US can be found in Summit County, Utah-with the great majority
of it centered along the back of the Wasatch Range in the Park City area. It’s
all be design and heritage, as the area is steeped in mountain biking history
and activism. Organizations such as Basin recreation, Mountain Trails
Foundation, and Summit Land Conservancy among others have worked to build and
maintain trails and areas where non-motorized travel is the norm. The links are
endless, and the famous trails are increasing. Armstrong, Mid-Mountain,
Pinecone Ridge, Spiro, and Tour des Suds are popular, but they can link with
many more to make your ride as long or short as you desire. Try this, pick a
popular trail to start, and then at any intersection alternate taking a right,
and then a left at the next intersection. You’ll be giddily riding singletrack
all day until your legs can’t take it anymore. –Paul Oelerich

 

New Live Music
Scene at a Ski Resort: Snowbasin

“When someone walks into the lodge after a day of skiing
and hears the music coming from the bar, it’s hard for them not to be drawn
in,” says Peter Baker, Snowbasin’s new Director of Food and Beverage. Pete’s
veteran experience is the catalyst for change at the Basin’s classy casual
Cinnebar Lounge. The bar’s design captures grand log-home style, the
centerpiece of which is a seriously impressive red glass chandelier. Pete’s
menu changes are star-worthy and he has created a seasonal line-up of stellar
mountain west talent to come liven up the apres ski scene with amplified acts.
In March and April the atmosphere will be energized with alternative Americana,
Grateful Dead, hillbilly, reggae and rock-steady sound. The shows run from
3:00-6:00 p.m. And the best part? They’re free. –Paige Wiren

 

Icy Refresher-
Cold IPA in the Snow                                       

 

Cold IPA

One of my favorite rituals in Utah (or anywhere) is the
first cold beer after a good sweat in the mountains. In the 21st century God
gave us India Pale Ale made with Yakima Hops, and this has become my brew of
choice. One of the best places to sip one is on the bench at the stream
crossing in Mill B South, ideally after scaling the Sundial. Little Cottonwood
Creek after 9 pitches of friction and crack climbing on Tingeys Route at the
Gate Buttress is equally as fine.

One way the ritual can go horribly wrong is when you
stash the coldies in a snowbank for a multi-day spring ski tour, and come back
thirsty only to discover the snowbank has melted. Your now-muddy treasures are
lying in the hot sun, and you are a zero rather than a hero! Unfortunately,
this has happened to me, and neither the client nor the ranger was impressed. –Tyson Bradley

 

Before-Work
Backcountry Ski Shot: Butler Trees on Circle All Peak

Problem: It snowed two feet of light powder in the
Wasatch overnight, but you have to go to work. Solution: Go ski the Butler
Trees on Circle All Peak. This popular backcountry-ski area meets several
criteria that make it the ideal before-work spot for a dawn patrol. The
trailhead isn’t far up Big Cottonwood Canyon, the approach is a short, 1.3-mile
skin to the top of Circle All Peak, and the riding through perfectly-spaces
aspen glades isn’t too shabby. In fact, if you time it right, these protected
slopes will give you safe, over-the-head, blower shots on a deep day. Best of
all, you can ski down the east ridge all the way to your car for a quick,
homerun exit. You’ll get a few sunrise powder runs in and still clock in on
time. Problem solved. –Jared Hargrave

 

Mountain Range
Outside the Wasatch: Tushar Mountains

Tushar Mountains

If you love mountains but live along the Wasatch Front,
you’ve just got to escape “Wasangeles” every now and then. When the need for
solitude and different scenery come calling, I like to drive south to Beaver,
Utah and the Tushar Mountains. These little-known, hardly visited peaks are
big, dramatic, and mostly empty. Backcountry skiing is easily done around
Puffer Lake on City Creek Peak, Mount Holly and Lake Peak, and summer provides
secluded camping and “the-hills-are-alive” hiking among brilliant wildflowers
and herds of mountain goats. ATVs are an annoying constant on dirt roads that
spider web around Big John Flat, but if you meander off the trails and onto a
mountain summit, you’ll feel like the whole range is yours. Bonus: Dogs are
allowed and they love to run wild through the upper meadows.

-Jared Hargrave

 The Zion Traverse

Simply said, backpacking the Zion Traverse is a lifetime
must-do for outdoor lovers who live in Utah. The Zion Traverse is a 50-ish mile
route that connects the northwest part of Zion National Park at Kolob Canyon
with the east entrance of the park via several trails. Get a backcountry
permit, take two to five days out, stop and smell the wildflowers, see all the
sandstone views, enjoy a couple hours off trail when you cross through Zion
Canyon by taking the park bus to Springdale for a burger and ice cream, and
experience Zion National Park in every form and fashion. –Meghan Hicks

 

UltrAspire Packs

If you’re going to run a long way–we’re talking hours or
maybe even days—you’re gonna’ need a good pack to do so, one that’ll carry your
water, food, extra clothing, a flashlight, and whatever else you need to stay
happy and safe. Though there are a number of great running-pack makers out and
about today, the folks of St. George-based UltrAspire design some of the best.
Bryce Thatcher, who lives in St. George and who has been an elite endurance
sports athlete for more than 20 years, created the company. More than a dozen
UltrAspire products now exist that’ll help you get through a couple hours up to
maybe three days on the trail. Day hikers who like to go light will also
appreciate UltrAspire designs.

–Meghan Hicks

 

Conversation
Topic: The Weather

Anywhere else in the country, talking about the weather
is a sign of conversational incompetence. But no matter where you are in Utah,
the weather has without doubt affected your adventures at some point along the
way. Sure, it’s a “safe” topic, but the weather is a major player in the
pursuit of our outdoor journeys. It’s the reason you blew off work for
something more stimulating than a windowless office; it’s the reason you turned
back mid-ascent despite weeks of detailed planning; and it’s the reason for
nearly 83% of all bar conversations in the state. –Stephanie Nitsch

 

Swimming Hole:
Eardley Canyon

The San Rafael Swell can be mercilessly hot. The obvious
options for dunking in cool water are the San Rafael River or Muddy Creek, the
scent of both hinting at upstream ranching. Fortunately, near the junction of
Straight Wash and Eardley Canyon exists a giant pothole, although pool is a
better description. It is about three miles from the trailhead. This oasis
sports deep water in a narrow canyon, perfect for washing desert dust and
evaporated sweat salt off the body. The rock surrounding the pool resembles a
rock beach. There are options for jumping if the water clarity allows. –Ron Penner

 

Early Season
Trail-Run

High above city creek looms the craggy summit of Black
Mountain.  Host venue of the annual
Wasatch Steeplechase, the ascent is over 4,000 vertical feet in just about
seven miles.  The scenic nature of the
trail takes you from thick forest along the creek to the exposed grassland of
the Bonneville Shoreline.  Then, runners
climb through steep sagebrush clad slopes to the cruxy summit ridge.  Marked by jagged volcanic boulders that
scrape and scratch, the ridgeline provides a spicy final push that ups the
pucker factor a few notches.  From the
top, views of the Wasatch excite the senses as you catch your breath.  The blistering descent down the north side to
Rotary Park is also quite exciting and will test even the most formidable of
ankles. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall

 

Fall Colors

It’s the biggest sign of the changing of the season,
transitioning from the biking/hiking/climbing season, and winter is on its way.
The air smells different; the days are cooler and shorter. It’s also the sign
to get thee to the desert on last time. Riding along the golden leaf trail of
singletrack, the sounds of mountain biking are muffled.  The colorful views from on high are nothing
short of spectacular, and the anticipation of snow is prevalent. Often, the
snows will return to the high country in October, shutting down the high alpine
trails, but the return to the Indian Summer after provides a wonderful contrast
between the gold, red and orange of the changing oak and aspen with the white
crown of the mountain peaks. It also serves as a reminder to get ready for
winter, and hit the Oktoberfest for a couple of end of summer beers. –Paul Oelerich

 

Quick Fix for a
Nature Jones:  ‘Splorin’

You have only a few city hours. The day’s bursting with
spring energy. Incessantly motivated, your craving’s urgent, demanding. You
absolutely must get outside. Go! Go ‘splorin’ in the foothills. Truck up a
trail adverbially—Quickly! Away! The trail’s the avenue, but not the
experience. Go a small handful of miles, then get…off…the…trail. Let
loose. Wander. Take in. ‘Splore. Slowly negotiate a scrub oak-filled gully
looking for yellow glacier lilies. Creep over a hillock and spy on magpies.
Find a burrowing critter’s front door in the loamy, moist earth under exposed
tree roots. Notice the funnel webbing showcasing an arachnid’s den. Collect a
pocketful of ubiquitous white snail shells. Maybe stir up a grouse. Regard
nature’s dynamics, patterns, textures. When you go ‘splorin’, there is
everything to see, hear, smell and touch as the earth and her creatures revive.
Paige Wiren

 

Forest Dweller-
Love That Limber (Pine)             

You don’t see a forest until you know the trees, and Utah
has some great ones, despite its desert-like climate. One that is inspirational
to me is the Limber Pine, so named because it bends and thrives in the windiest
ridgeline locations.

No other Utah evergreen is as old, weathered and rugged
as the Limber, the Central Wasatch’ only indigenous pine. Gnarled and often
striped with live bark next to dead, it lives up to 1400 years; usually
twirling like a barber pole to survive the brutal winds of its favored rocky
ridge habitat.

Unfortunately Limbers are dying at the lower limit of
their altitude range as bark beetles flourish due to global warming. This may
be good for hungry woodpeckers, but I’m sad to see whole groves of these
ancient, full-crowned beauties without a single green needle on the west ridge
of Peak 10,420, and elsewhere. –Tyson
Bradley

 

Post-Backpacking
Watering Hole: The Notch in Samak

After a long backpacking trip, when I’m sore, tired and
stinky, I want nothing more upon my return to civilization than a giant
cheeseburger with a cold beer. There are many roadside spots in rural Utah that
can placate such cravings, but my favorite post-backpacking watering hole is
The Notch in Samak. Every trip in the Uinta Mountains is met with a coda at The
Notch, conveniently placed on the side of the highway as you exit the range.
They’ve got several local beers on tap, and a typical pub-fare menu that tastes
far better than typical, especially if you’re wolfing down a burger. But the
best part about the place is the large, wood deck in the back where you can
soak up one last bit of High Country sun and take in the view before dutifully
returning to metropolitan reality. –Jared
Hargrave

Post- Hiking
Moment: Hearing the Dogs Groan with Exhaustion from the Back Seat

Dogged dogs

I love to hike with my dogs. But selfishly, it’s not to
watch them frolic and play in the woods, or give them much needed exercise. No,
I hike with my dogs because it exhausts them, which means they’ll be mellow for
the rest of night and won’t freaking bug me and the wife.  See, when my dogs hike, they actually run
laps. If I walk 3 miles to Dog Lake in Mill Creek Canyon, they’re probably
putting in 30 miles back and forth in a full run. It’s no wonder they collapse
at the car, barely able to jump in before curling up with full-on exhaustion
that takes the audible form of a long, satisfied groan emanating from the back
of the SUV before falling asleep. No more pacing, no more pawing, no more
panting in my ear.

–Jared Hargrave

 

Great Basin
National Park

Okay, Great Basin National Park is technically in Nevada,
but just barely-and Nevada was a part of the Utah Territory in the late 1800’s…
so it still makes my list of best Utah hiking destinations. You’ll find vast
appeal in this park if you’re a fan of basin-and-range topography, if you don’t
mind having a national park mostly to yourself, if you like ornate—and slightly
creeptastic—caves, and if high pointing something in excess of 13,000 feet
altitude is up your alley. Pack a car full of camping gear and pull up a spot
in one of the campgrounds for two or three days of trail tomfoolery. The cave
tours are short and not really hiking, but you must do one of them so that you
can see Great Basin’s underbelly. Also, don’t skip a hike to see the
high-altitude bristlecone pines; they’re thousands of years old and they age
far better than humans. –Meghan Hicks

 

Altra Shoes

Altra shoes started as the dream design of a couple guys
working in a Utah running store. The company was founded in 2009, and Altra
shoes have evolved into trail and road running shoes designed with much of the
cushioning and stability found in traditional running shoes and without the
height offset between shoes’ heel and toe. That is, most traditional running
shoes are built higher in the heel than in the toe, typically somewhere around
10 or 12 millimeters higher. Altra shoes have no offset, what they call zero
drop, and proponents of the shoe say this allows them to run with a more
natural gait while still having the protection of a regular running shoe.
Though Altra has hit the big time—multinational ICON Health & Fitness
bought the little company in 2011—its roots run deep in Utah. After all, one of
their trail running shoes is still called the “Lone Peak.” –Meghan Hicks

 

 

Geological Fantasy:
Bryce Canyon

Beautiful Bryce

If Indiana Jones traveled to the Wild West via
Disneyland’s Thunder Mountain rollercoaster, he’d end up hunting for
mythological artifacts amid the enchanting hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National
Park. The monolithic erosion of Bryce’s red rock cathedrals elicits daydreams
of lifelong wanderlusting — even if you’ve found yourself wedged between a
busload of portly tourists whose socks-and-sandals attire is deemed appropriate
for the most strenuous armchair travel. Nevertheless, you can’t stop your adult
imagination from swirling in fantasy and acting out your desires to take up
residency in your own dreamy delusion. –Stephanie
Nitsch

 

Summer Getaway:
Overnighters in the Wasatch Mountains

We along the Wasatch Front are lucky to have several
immediate points of access to the Wasatch Mountains with almost no
restrictions. A favorite activity during the summer is to stuff a light
backpack with enough food, clothing and shelter to spend the night out in the
“hills”. Depending on the trailhead, a little effort can deliver one to alpine
benches, forested slopes, historic mining areas or open meadows. There are
limitless overnighter options in the Wasatch for escaping summertime heat and
noise. Overnighters are suitable for the whole family and are the basis for
some of my fondest summer memories. –Ron
Penner

 

Favorite Gear Swap 

The annual October gathering at Black Diamond is quite
the scene.  A collection of SLC’s finest
ski bums and mountain aficionados gather in this unassuming Holladay parking
lot to swap gear and the stories behind them.
For some, this is a rite of passage for family members looking to
upgrade their setups.  It would also be a
perfect place for a sociological experiment.
The caffeine-fueled frenzy starts well before sunup and delivers the
attendees ample opportunity to score a great deal on equipment for the coming
season.   Depending on how you approach
it, you might even get a date out of the deal.
There is no better pick up line than, “Hey, you want me to show you what
skinning is all about?”

-Sean Zimmerman-Wall

 Peter Metcalf

The outdoor community in Utah and beyond owes the CEO of
Black Diamond Equipment a debt of gratitude for the work he has done to keep
outdoor recreation at the forefront of policy debate of Utah’s sometimes
doubting lawmakers, and uses his leverage in the outdoor business to make sure
that proponents of recreation are heard. Metcalf moved BD from California to
Utah in 1991, with a small contingent of employees. A climber who also worked
as an oil well roughneck, he has since seen BD grow to over 300 employees
worldwide. He successfully lobbied to bring the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer (OR)
show to SLC in the mid 90’s, and also threatened to have the show pulled out of
SLC in 2003 unless the Gov. Leavitt changed his proposed policies on preserving
wilderness in Utah. Leavitt changed positions, preserving the show, and Metcalf
has since jousted with now Gov. Herbert over his public land stances to
maintain recreational access. In addition to running a successful business, he
has maintained a voice for recreation access in Utah. –Paul Oelerich

 

Oasis to Listen to Birds’ Song

Out in Utah’s West Desert you can find a lot of rocks.
You can find a lot of tumbleweeds and sage. What you can’t find a lot if is
water. Established in 1959 to provide habitat for migrating and wintering birds
and one of only three national wildlife refuges in the state, Fish Springs is a
definitive desert oasis. Like a taco cart outside a concert venue, the springs
attract a diversity of species. What’s memorable about trekking out the Pony
Express trail to take in the symphonious soundscape is how different the sounds
are from backyard birds. And, you’re a foreigner, unable to speak the language,
but surrounded by the animated birds’ song in the otherwise suspended quiet of
the desert. –Paige Wiren

 

Crack Climbing Without the Crowds – San Rafael Swell

Swell Crack

Everyone and their dogs know about the crack climbing
mecca Indian Creek.  Fewer know about the
climbing in the San Rafael Swell. You’ve heard the story about the first time
someone went to the Creek and got shut down completely. Not enough cams, the
wrong size crack, someone was on their route the entire time… I was no
different. The desire to improve was there, but as a struggling student who was
spending all his tuition money on gear, driving all the way to the Creek was a
strain. When someone introduced me to the Swell I was hooked. At half the
distance from Salt Lake and no crowds I found a place where I could learn all
about crack climbing, scaring the living daylights out of myself, without an
audience of climbers waiting for the same route. The climbing in the Swell
tends to be more varied and requires less intensive racks. The routes are
spread out more and some approaches are not very manicured, but the landscape
makes up for it by being filled with castle-like buttes, enormous flatirons and
towers ranging in size and shapes. Its weathered walls made of a variety of
sandstone loom high above a meandering river. Add to all those things the
solitude experienced while camping down in this remote area of Utah and it has
found a special place in my heart. –Louis
Arevalo

 

Backyard Big Wall-Mt. Olympus

Olympus Slabs

The Northwest Face of Mt. Olympus presides over the
northern Salt Lake Valley like no other mountain feature. Scaling it is scenic,
aerobic, adventurous and super-fun. It starts with a nice trail-hike and gully
scramble, and in spring the approach couloir is easy to climb in crampons and
ski down, which makes it a diverse mountaineering outing. Otherwise a few
chimney and / or exposed climbing moves are necessary.

The 1800’ face goes at 5.6 in difficulty, and protection
is not always obtainable. Confident and experienced climbers frequently solo
the entire face, but nice belay ledges can be found. Many are now equipped with
rappel anchors, but it is good etiquette to finish the moderate face and
descend another way, since rockfall is a major hazard to others below. Most
parties descend a gully system about 400 yards west and down from the main face.
Tyson Bradley

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