Salt Lake County Highpoint Trip Report

Twin Peaks (11,489 feet)

Date: August 17, 1999
Author: Andy Martin

On the previous day we had attempted to drive high up on Twin Peaks from American Forks Canyon, to the south. First we tried the Earl-Eagle Mine road. It was closed by a rock and a sign saying the road was damaged, though ATVs are slipping by the rock. The closure point is just north of Silver Lake Flat, 7,800'.

We tried going further north on the unimproved dirt road shown on the quad, but it was steep and incredibly rocky, the worst road we tried on the whole trip, and we ended up backing down it -- no fun. Next we tried the Mary Ellen Gulch Road (?), but were stopped by a nasty washout where the road used to follow the stream bed.

The next day, after climbing Deseret, we drove up scenic Cottonwood Canyon to the north of Twin Peaks. We got to the Snowbird ski area about 3 PM, knowing there was no way we (I) could hike up Twin Peaks from 8,000' starting that late. The tram was running to the summit of Hidden Peak, and this would have worked to get us well up the mountain, as they ran late that night. However, suddenly a UFO grabbed us in its tractor beam, and we found ourselves at the top of the Gad 2 ski lift at 10,000' (route described on page 14 of "High in Utah").

Taking advantage of this happy turn of events, we joined the guidebook route, and climbed up the NW ridge of Twin Peaks. The total elevation gain looked like 1400' before we got going, but once on the route I demanded a recount, and came up with 1800' of boulder hopping toil. This turned out to be the hardest hike on the trip for me, as I was already rubber legged from the 3600' gain on Deseret. Trying to save 100' of gain going up and over false summit 11,360', I traversed the steep face to the north.

The rock was loose and fractured here, and I was pretty happy to get past the void in one piece. On the return trip I decided the 100' gain was not so bad after all. It could be that this cruddy rock is also found on the steep section of ridge leading from the tram to Twin Peaks, which "High in Utah" says to avoid.

In any case, the view of the rough Wasatch front from the top was spectacular, and then we raced the setting sun back to 10,000'. A short time later found us at Alta, where I phoned home, David Olson, and Dub Bludworth, but got answering machines each time. We changed a nail-caused flat in the left front tire, and then drove down to Tanner Flat campground**, $12, for some well deserved R & R.

Next morning we spent some time washing up at a sink in the restroom. Repeated attempts to railroad us prematurely out of the campground were thwarted by our $12 receipt, I guess we were looking a bit rough around the edges.

**Note - the usually very reliable "High in Utah" incorrectly places this campground uphill from Snowbird. We are still curious if a 4wd comes in handy for Twin Peaks, perhaps the road up to White Pine Lake, 2 miles west, is accessible. Anyone knowing the answer to the Twin Peaks puzzle is welcome to contact me.