Nature & Hiking Ski

Winter Camping in Maybird Gultch at the Foot of the Pfeifferhorn


A beautiful alpine summit only 20 minutes from Salt Lake. There’s a +4 mile approach but it is so close.

April 13-14, 2013

Saturday and Sunday Matt headed out to do a little winter camping.  Despite having more winter climbing days than ever this year I haven’t done any winter camping.  This is primarily due to the awesomeness that is Salt Lake City.  In Connecticut to get to any ice climbing I’d have to drive 4-5 hours, which obviously makes for a weekend trip.  To avoid spending the money on a hotel rooms every weekend I often did some camping.  Here in Salt Lake, there’s no need to drive that far for ice climbing so therefore no winter camping.

The objective was a short (4 miles) skin in to camp and to check out the Pfeifferhorn.  The Pfeifferhorn is an awesome looking pyramid-shaped mountain on the southern border of Little Cottonwood.  There’s an alpine route up the north ridge which, if I had more time before my Alaska trip I would do.  This little excursion was to check out the line.

Given the shortish approach we didn’t leave the parking lot until after 1pm.  Clouds were building and we expected to see some precipitation, but hoped it would be of the solid kind.  Skinning through the trees we wound gently at first around the foot of a few ridges along the White Pine, then Red Pine Canyon trail.  About halfway into the approach we started heading more sharply uphill.  For whatever reason I wasn’t feeling that good and was dragging behind.  The visibility went downhill pretty quickly, it didn’t quite completely sock in but it did start to snow.

After a certain point the wind picked up as well and we figured it would be better to set up camp sooner than later.  We found a good spot between some large pines which we hope would shelter us from the wind.  After the tent was up we did a quick skin over to a rise were we got a better view of the Pfeifferhorn.  The clouds obscured the view but we could still make out the sharp North Ridge.


The Pfeifferhorn in a growing storm.

Sunday morning had clear skies and temps in the teens.  Despite the chilly temps it was an amazing day.  We skinned back over to get a peek of the peak in better light.  It is an amazing looking mountain and the North Ridge looks like a great way to the summit.  There is plenty of snow up there right now and probably would have been good skiing.  Matt’s not a skier and we didn’t bring avy gear so there would be no climbing or skiing for us.  We’ll have to save it for another day.

The ski out through the tree was nice.  The sun, blue skies, and fresh snow all combined for absolutely spectacular views of Little Cottonwood peaks.  Today was one of the days I wanted to move to the West for.

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