The UAJ 99- Our Favorites From the Outdoors in Utah

The UAJ 99

A Non-Scientific Compilation of our Favorite Things in
Utah, compiled by UAJ staff writers.


Utah has so much to offer in the outdoors in the spring.
We compiled a list of 99 things, places and people submitted by our editorial
staff- from the mountains to the deserts and everywhere in between. Some may be
obvious, others hopefully less so. This is a random sampling, in no particular
order or sequence, with the intent to inspire unique adventures for 2013.


Working Chump’s Hard Route – Mother of Pearl.

This 5.11c route in Little Cottonwood Canyon requires
strength, endurance, technique and confidence to send. Consisting of three
distinct sections it’s a complete journey. A steep, powerful start, with just
the right amount of gear to keep you off the ground, leads to a much-needed
stance. Next comes open-handed lie backing with blind gear placements, which
puts you at the shallow lie-away crux. This section can feel like a walk in the
park on top rope or the end of the world on lead. After catching your breath at
the base of the final dihedral, you commit to questionable gear placements
while stemming and jamming your way to the anchor. No matter how many times
I’ve done this route the last 20 feet are painstakingly slow. Growing up at the
base of the Wasatch and slowly working my way through the grades, I one day
wandered to the base of Mother of Pearl. Racking up for the entire length, 100+
feet, I didn’t even take a moment to consider the start. Needless to say I made
it a full ten feet off the ground before falling. It took several days, more
than I’d like to admit, to link it all together. If you’re a weekend warrior,
like me, and you send this climb, you’re doing all right.  –Louis


Grand Old Alta

Alta is the granddaddy of Utah ski resorts and still a
timeless favorite. Eddie’s High is a great fall-line, the Rustler area holds
powder pillows long after storms, and one can hike Devils Castle and Baldy
Shoulder for days. The Supreme backcountry gates are always open and access
loads of terrain from beginner to expert. It’s a perfect place to learn
touring, or film a segment for TGR.Partly because Alta is snowboarder-free,
it’s quieter than Snowbird, and attractive to skiers. Like a surfer on a wave,
a boarder rides across the fall-line and down it. Slashing and off-fall-line
ripping is a blast on a board, but it affects the tracking of a run and it’s
hard to see behind you on backside turns.

Regardless of your mode on the hill, Alta is a friendly,
relaxed place to live, work, and recreate year-round. It has a big place in my
heart. –Tyson Bradley


New Mountain Bike
Trail: Pinecone Ridge

It’s already being called the “Gem of the Wasatch,” and
for good reason. The Pinecone Ridge Trail has likely become the most popular
new singletrack in Park City (perhaps even Utah) because it not only allows
access to the Wasatch Crest from the Park City side of the range via Armstrong
Trail, but is also a bombing descent. Pinecone Ridge is like a flow course with
1,400 vertical feet of jumps, berms, whoop-de-dos, perfect turns, and flowing,
buttery singletrack starting from the top of “Puke Hill” and ending at the
Mid-Mountain Trail. Link it with Spiro for an even longer, 3,000-foot, 9-mile
epic that will have you giggling all the way down to Park City. –Jared Hargrave


Pinecone Ridge

Wasatch Front 100

Every September since 1980, gnarly and tough trail
runners have made the 100-mile journey through the Wasatch Mountains between
Kaysville and Midway as part of the Wasatch Front 100. Some go fast—the men’s
course record is 18 hours, 30 minutes, 55 seconds and the women’s course record
is 22 hours, 27 minutes—and some go slow—the latest a runner can complete the
distance and still be counted as a finisher is 36 hours after the start. But
they all climb a bunch of mountains, fight the midday aridity and heat,
experience the Wasatch high country in the dark, and test their mettle against,
well, all that and themselves. –Meghan


Lunch Spot: Silver
King Café

I don’t remember the last time I ever stopped for food on
the way to a hospital, let alone willingly ate – or sought out – food from
their cafeteria. But the Silver King Café inside the Park City Medical Center
is a bit of an anomaly. Its location is just an endo away from the Quinn’s
Junction Trailhead in Round Valley near Park City, and while an injury may not
be on their menu, they’re always serving up the next tasty, health-conscious
and homemade morsel to fuel that chiseled – albeit broken – temple of yours.

-Stephanie Nitsch


Summer Workout:
Outdoor Swimming at Steiner

Scenery is not something that comes to mind when lap
swimming is envisioned. Yet it is exactly what makes a morning workout at
Steiner Aquatic Center’s outdoor 50-meter pool so refreshing. The unobstructed
sky spans the gulf between the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains, creating an
oceanic feeling of limitlessness. The 50-meter length of clear water invites
Caribbean comparisons. The Steiner outdoor pool season is from May until
mid-October, cost is $5.50 per day with monthly, seasonal or annual passes
available. During the summer I prefer to swim before 9 a.m., after which the
sun is very strong. Any time of day is fine during the shoulder seasons,
although lunchtime typically sees a surge in swimmers. –Ron Penner



Bruce Tremper has served as the director of the Utah
Avalanche Center for the last 27 years.
During his tenure, Tremper has helped foster an evolution in the way
content and advisories reach the masses.
From a single phone line decades ago, the UAC’s reach has grown to
encompass a highly functional website, social media channels, the prolific
Know-Before-You-Go program, and various seminars and fireside chats throughout
the state.  His team’s continued efforts
have led to the education and empowerment of many user groups and facilitated a
sea-change in the way avalanche centers around the country, and the world,
operate. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall



In this country we call ‘em chutes, and the Wasatch is
riddled with them both in resorts and in the backcountry. The word couloir
comes from the French meaning “passage” or “corridor”, either way they are
sometimes steep, usually narrow, and always fun to ski. They can be lined by steep
rock walls, such as the Suicide Chute (Country Lane) on Superior, or less
entrenched and like a gully, such as the Cold Fusion Couloir on Timpanogos.
They can be accessed from the top via lift or tram, like South Chute at
Snowbird, or you can hike right up the gut of them before skiing down over your
own boot pack, like the popular Y Couloir in Little Cottonwood. They can be
iconic, and easily viewed such as the Pipeline on American Fork Twins, or
difficult to find like the Hallway in Cardiff. Either way, they’ll get your
blood pumping whenever you look down their throat. –Paul Oelerich



Dose of Vitamin D
Pool Hopping: San Rafael Reef

Stripping off clothing layers in the season’s
transitional months feels like an annual molting, and the San Rafael Reef’s
sublime combination of solar radiation, heat and desert fresh is the optimum
environment in which to enact this ritual. Seasonal March rains cycle over the
upheaval filling gently scooped depressions and holes in the slickrock, some so
deep you can swim in. By April, temps have climbed enough to accommodate
naturist proclivities. Shed your winter skin and soak up some healthful vitamin
D traipsing from pool to pool. When the sweat begins to trickle down your brow,
dip into a water-filled hole. After dunking in the cool waters, lizard lounge
on warm rocks and contemplate the beauty of a claret cactus in bloom. The high
desert plus water creates a magical vernal playground and an ideal au naturel
niche. –Paige Wiren


Climbing Route for Everyone – Steort’s Ridge.

This three pitch 5.6 in Big Cottonwood Canyon was first
done by Wasatch climbing pioneers Lee Steort and Harold Goodro in the 1940’s.
It can be climbed on a spring morning when the higher peaks shimmer with snow
and the creek roars with runoff, in the heat of summer when its face falls into
the afternoon shade and a cool breeze can be felt descending from the
elevations above, or in the fall when the aspen, maple and oak leaves have
changed colors and winter can be smelled in the air. Stepping off the forest
floor the climb makes its way left of the true arête. The line tends to wander,
but there are plenty of cracks with numerous face holds to make the going easy.
The belay ledges are large and provide ample protection for building anchors.
The finale comes near the top of the third and final pitch. The cracks close
their mouths and there is only a solitary bolt next to the true arête of the
buttress. From there to the top it’s just you, the rock and growing exposure on
three sides.  Commit to the final ledge
then scamper back down to the forest by traversing to the south and do another
lap. It really is that good. Never too hard and with just the right amount of
excitement, Steort’s is a favorite because not every climb has to be bold and
scary. –Louis Arevalo

Steort's Arete



Coaplit: The
Ultimate Supertour

Coalpit Headwall is the iconic extreme backcountry run
and “supertour” in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Even just for sheer size, its
5,000’ vertical is unique. To get there most parties have skinned 4 miles
through 4 gulches, gained over 6,000’ and bonded with the rugged granite and
wild snow of the Lone Peak Wilderness. Visible from the upper canyon, Coalpit
looms ominous, yet alluring. It takes a few years in the backcountry to gain
the skills, stamina, and judgment to get there, ski it, and survive.

Starting at around 50-degrees, the headwall is stout and
committing from the get-go; 2,000’ of finger-chutes and bowl skiing give way to
1500’ of creamy, wind-protected, north-facing powder shots that usually see few
tracks. The finish is adventure (aka survival) skiing down a granite corridor
to the waterfall; the final “crux” in the ultimate LCC backcountry rite of
passage. –Tyson Bradley


Development in
Outdoor Beer Consumption: Uinta Cans

When drinking your favorite brew outdoors, nothing pairs
better with adventure than cans. These aluminum cylinders are more packable,
they take up less space when crushed, and they don’t break like glass bottles.
Craft beer companies around the nation have ignited a canned beer revolution,
and this year our own Uinta Brewing will pick up the banner. With a 67% sales
growth in 2012, along with the construction of a second 34,000 square-foot
brewing plant, Uinta has expanded operations to include a canning line, so
we’ll see our favorite flavors rolling out in their new duds just in time for
boating season. So far they’ve announced that Hop Notch IPA, Cutthroat Pale
Ale, Baba Black Lager and Wyld Extra Pale Ale will be in cans, with hopefully
even more to follow. –Jared Hargrave


National Park Islands in the Sky District

The Islands in the Sky District composes the park’s
northern tier. Called a sky island because it’s an oversized sandstone mesa
with a top that sits at 6,000 feet altitude and 1400 feet or so above
everything else, this district harbors a baller singletrack spider web plus
even more runnable dirt roads. Almost all of the trailheads begin on the mesa
so if you want to run more than 10-ish miles, you’ll have to descend to the
desert below. And, of course, come back up again when you’re done. The Islands
in the Sky District also makes for excellent muti-day fastpacking with the only
hitch being you have to haul around a fair bit of drinking water as springs are
in short supply. –Meghan Hicks

Red Bull Rampage

Red Bull Rampage

The world’s best mountain bikers flock to the Red Bull
Rampage site near Virgin, Utah in October, where a bunch of dudes get together,
fling some dirt, unleash their testosterone and huck themselves silly on
terrain that makes you cringe just at first glance. Of course, it doesn’t
always end with a smooth landing, which is what makes this desert event all the
more intense. Audience participation is mandatory (the hike into the venue
weeds out the lazy), and shirtless bodies of athletes and spectators – both men
and women — are likely.

Runner Up: Clown Day at Park City Mountain Resort

-Stephanie Nitsch


Non-Profit: Utah
Rivers Council

Utah is a desert state, the second most arid state in
America, yet we use more water per capita than any other state, even Nevada and
Arizona. This is where the URC steps in. Along the Wasatch Front, where 80% of
the state’s population resides, water seems limitless thanks to the streams fed
by the abundant snow that blesses the mountains to the east. However, our
collective urge to maintain non-native green lawns and fill our backyard pools
comes at the expense of the Great Salt Lake, which is the only remaining major
Western flyway remaining, accommodating over 300 species of migratory birds.
The URC helps keep it real. Full disclosure, I am the Treasurer at the URC. –Ron Penner



Mountaintop View

Antelope Island stands as a unique geographic location
within the country’s largest body of salt water.  Its arid landscape serves as the habitat for
numerous members of the animal kingdom, most notably, the largest bison heard
on the continent.  Visiting the island
year round allows for unlimited exploration and offers incredible 360-degree
views from the top of its highpoint, Frary Peak.  Winter provides an interesting perspective on
the Wasatch, Oquirrh and Stansbury ranges.
Snowy peaks in every direction are in juxtaposition with the shimmering
surface of the Great Salt Lake.  The
solitude of the peak is unmatched for such a visible summit and the advanced
nature of the ascent makes you feel like you are all alone on your adventure. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall

The Waxroom


The Waxroom

You trust your gear to take you where you want to go, and
often a popular mode of transport is your skis or snowboard. Do you give them
the proper care and love they need and deserve? Tuning and waxing skis is a
simple and rewarding pleasure that can pay big dividends in performance. In the
spring, when your friends are grabbing and clutching on the exit trail out of
White Pine, you can just glide on by. Tuning can be as simple as ironing on
wax, or going for the full p-tex, file, wax and scrape and finish structure.
Everyone who does it has their own technique and belief in their method, and
anyone who gets it will try to tell you why their way is best. One thing all
agree on, a warm garage, the smell of burning wax, some cool blues music, and a
cold beer on a night when it’s dumping outside- makes for a good day in the
mountains tomorrow. –Paul Oelerich


Bohemian Buoyant
Moonrise:  GSL

What’s more awesome than watching the full moon ascend
against a Wasatch backdrop? Experiencing a sunset to moonrise transformation
from a kayak on one of the most saline lakes in the world. As you venture
farther from the Great Salt Lake shoreline, the infamous odor dissipates, and
on a calm April full moon night it’s a perfect place to witness some bona fide natural
glory. Pack a picnic, a harmonica and a poem, such as “The Lovesong of J.
Alfred Prufrock.” Paddle out as the sun’s last hurrah paints the western
horizon an impressionistic red-to-purple panorama. Blow the harp in homage to
the day’s end. Uncork a bottle of red. Let words deeper than conversation fill
the quiet space as the glow to the east brightens and the lunar light blasts
over the hills illuminating the valley. Seize the day. Seize the night.

-Paige Wiren

Maple Canyon


Ice Climbing Venue
– Maple Canyon

As one of the western United States’ premier
sport-climbing venues, Maple Canyon never registered in my head as an ideal ice
climbing zone until recently. The insanely steep walls of conglomerate rock
didn’t jive with the winter climbing I’d come to expect. The rumors of
inconsistent and thin, sketchy ice didn’t help either. Eventually, I made the
drive down to Sanpete County and was blown away by the magic of the place. The
narrow canyons which dance to and fro and have been sculpted by water and time
are given a new perspective with a dusting of snow and long flows of ice which
have melted down from unseen heights. Winter days you can hear echoes of tools
tapping the ice and if you’re lucky the sun will pierce through the canyon
walls for a moment to illuminate your surroundings.  It’s the combination of strange beauty and
the immediateness of climbing the medium of ice that makes it a favorite of
mine. –Louis Arevalo

Hole in the Rock


Place for Living
History- Hole in the Rock

Hole in the Rock refers to a narrow gully leading down to
Lake Powell from the end of the 50-mile long, rugged road of the same name in
the Escalante Desert. Today it’s a beautiful, fun, hike/scramble suitable for
anyone with good fitness, scrambling skills and an adventurous spirit. A dip in
Lake Powell is refreshing after the descent.

The history of this route is an incredible testament to
the strength, energy, and spirit of the Mormon Pioneers. As part of an epic,
6-month journey from Cedar City to Bluff, they forged a route down this steep
narrow red-rock gorge for 83 wagons and families in the winter of 1880. Just
how amazing this feat of human endurance and ingenuity was can’t be appreciated
until you’ve done the hike. Read the history around the campfire the night
before, and then enjoy the adventure the next day.

 –Tyson Bradley


Burst of Energy:
Justin’s Nut Butter

Justin’s Nut Butter is a name that draws snickers when
you say it out loud, and as a male sucking on a packet of it, the gross
connotations become obvious.  Thing is,
these little, 32 gram, 180 calorie, single-serve packets are perfect as an
energy gel when recreating outside. Sure, other energy gels work for a quick
burst of energy, but nothing tastes as good as Justin’s.  His nut butter comes in eight different
almond and peanut flavors, but my favorite by far is Chocolate Hazelnut. Think
an all-natural version of Nutella, and you’ll get a sense of how delicious it
is. While ski touring or mountain biking, I always have a packet in my pants
pocket near my… you know… to keep the nut butter warm and soft, ready for a
quick snack on the trail. Look for it in local health food stores or online at –Jared Hargrave


Red Hot Moab 33K
and 55K

Held every February by local Moab resident and race
director Chris Martinez, the Red Hot Moab races have become an early season
proving ground for trail runners hailing from Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona,
and sometimes states even farther afoot. Starting at the eastern end of the
Gemini Bridges Road and ending at the Poison Spider Mesa Trailhead, the 55K
course links the slickrock of the Metal Masher, Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, and
Poison Spider Mesa Trails. When not negotiating these tech-y sections, runners
must deal with the sometimes-deep-sand roads connecting them. But Chris knows
how to celebrate, and the beer, soup, and mood of the finish-line party is
enough to counter the race’s physical stress. –Meghan Hicks

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