H & I decided on a sunrise hike up to Kessler Peak and on a whim to take a different route down. Our alternative route was a scramble down the south side of Kessler, making our way under some cliffs and down to Carbonate Pass. Nothing really technical, just some slow, deliberate moves to ensure safety from slipping or falling. From Carbonate Pass, it was an easy walk up to Carbonate Peak with views that didn't disappoint.
Getting up to Kessler, we took the North route to the summit, which is the quickest but steepest way to get to the peak. Just imagine being on a stair stepper for 2 1/4 miles. It's a great leg burner. You gain almost 3000 vertical feet in that mileage so ya, it's a climb. The top of Kessler is amazing. You are rewarded with beautiful views of the upper Big Cottonwood Canyon Peaks. When we arrived on top, the mountain was totally socked in. The clouds were rolling over Carbonate Pass. We were literally in the clouds. I didn't think we were going to get a good sunrise at all, but then it happened. The light happened and it was awesome. You just never know what the weather will do at 10,403 ft.
Good morning 4:15am - starting early for that sunrise.
H atop Kessler Peak
Love seeing the golden light.
A look at Kessler Peak from Carbonate Pass
Two kids on a mountain high.
Kessler Peak from Carbonate Peak
Atop Carbonate Peak. Shot by Heinz Grunendahl
For more info about Kessler Peak, check it out here:
Hey, hi, hello out there, it's been far too long.......
The peak to the left in the distance is the Pfeifferhorn.
Red Pine Lake
Heading up several switch backs up to the first ridge.
A view of lower Red Pine Lake (on the left) and upper Red Pine Lake (on the right) as well as a small pond.
A view of the Wasatch and Maybird Lake's (super small lakes).
At the top of Pfeifferhorn, enjoying the views.
Looking over at Lone Peak. Looks like rain.
Pfeifferhorn is a great hike for those who like a few steep climbs, a little boulder scrambling, and 360 degree views of the Wasatch mountains. It's been awhile since I've been atop the Pfeifferhorn and last week H and I found ourselves scrambling to the top for some break taking views. When you're on top of this jutting peak, you kind of feel like a queen (or king) standing so high at 11, 326 ft and looking down at the specks of people below trying to attain the same thing. It's worth the effort. It's always worth the effort.
In my opinion, Desolation Lake is the perfect starter trail (or get in shape trail) for hiking, mountain biking, or trail running. With it's gradual ease and well maintained conditions, this trail will keep you excited about being active outside.
H & I started at the Mill D North Fork trailhead located in Big Cottonwood Canyon and cruised along the trail surrounded by beautiful quaking aspen trees. At a mere 3.5 miles (7 miles round trip) you reach your destination at Desolation Lake. Right now there is plenty of snow left around the lake but it only affects about the last 1/4 mile or so - it's no sweat.