Ski Mountaineering Timp’s Everest Ridge

During the winter of ’92 there was a Mount Everest expedition team from Utah that trained using a ridge on the west face of Mount Timpanogos.  Since then, it’s been known to locals as Everest Ridge. Almost exactly a year ago, I noticed a friend Paul Knudsen at church with a sunburned face and “raccoon eyes”.  It turns out that he had climbed Everest Ridge the previous day.  I had heard about that route and we chatted about his trip which prompted an outing together a few weeks later to Heaven’s Half Pipe.  This winter he offered to do the Everest Ridge with me.

skinning the approach

The plan was to leave the Dry Canyon trail head at 3am, and ski (using skins) up to the saddle between Big Baldy and the west face of Timp.  Then, we would pack our skis, and boot up the ridge to “the step” (named after the Hilary step on Everest and also the crux of this route on Timp. where you either climb straight up through the rocks to gain the main ridge of Timpanogos, or traverse around to the right on a steep snow slope with significant exposure).  We planned on doing the traverse then skiing down via the bowl at the top of the dry canyon drainage.

But we ended up getting a late start, and with a high temperature that day of close to 50 degrees, the snow was quickly turning mushy and unstable.  We were seeing roller balls and wet sloughs on several adjacent slopes, so with about 1500 vertical feet of ridge left unclimbed, we decided to bail off the north side of the ridge and ski down.  The snow was heavy and wet with a thin crust on top, which made for a less than graceful descent, but we made it down okay.

ski mountaineering timp's everest ridge

And even thought we didn’t make it all the way up as we’d hoped, it was fun being up in the mountains, enjoying the views and surroundings, and hanging out with Paul, who despite not getting a wink of sleep the night we left and dealing with bad cramps in his legs, was easy-going and fun to hang out with on the adventure.

Here’s a video of the trip.  (I’ve got the orange skis and Paul is wearing the yellow and green boots).

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