Visit Utah Mountain Adventures on Facebook
Utah Mountaineering and Alpine Climbing
 

Scheduled Courses & Climbs - Mountaineering (Alpine Climbing)

Winter Courses & Climbs

Descending the East Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn
Descending the East Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn
Photography by Tyson Bradley

Snow Mountaineering Skills:

Instruction in alpine snow climbing, proper use of ice axe and crampons and self-arrest techniques.

Crevasse Rescue Skills:

Instruction in glacial travel, belaying, snow anchors, raising systems and ascending a rope.

Expedition Training Seminars:

During a two-day overnight seminar, learn mountaineering skills and winter camping and climb a Wasatch peak in preparation for Rainier, Aconcagua, Denali or other expedition climbing.

Mt. Superior Winter Alpine Climb:

From mid-November through June, the Suicide Chute, a classic, rock-lined, 40-degree couloir, is usually snow-filled. Crampons and ice axe are used, and we work on snow climbing skills as we approach the ridge.

Summer Courses & Climbs

Mt. Olympus, West Slabs Climb:

Join UMA guides and scale the rocky face you’ve admired for years that presides over the Salt Lake Valley.

Mt. Superior Classic Alpine Climb:

The prominent South Ridge of this iconic Wasatch peak rises 3,000 feet from near Snowbird Ski Resort, in Little Cottonwood Canyon, to the 11,050’ summit. Outstanding views, fun climbing moves, and an airy feeling make this a classic route in any season. Only a short approach is needed before class 3 & 4 scrambling and/or steep snow climbing begins.

Grand Teton Prep Course:

Instruction in multi-pitch alpine rock climbing, belaying from a ledge, overhanging rappels and other skills required for climbing the Grand Teton or similar routes.

Private Guiding & Instruction - Mountaineering (Alpine Climbing)

Private Guiding & Instruction - Mountaineering

Running Belay on Mt. Rainier
Running Belay on Mt. Rainier
Photo by Tyson Bradley

Guides are available daily for climbs and coursework can also be taught on a private basis. UMA is happy to arrange custom instruction that meets your needs for goals you are working toward.

Skills and Summit: 
Many groups and individuals choose to spend part of the day working on skills, and then climb a small peak such as Toledo or Cardiff.  The start altitude is 8,600 feet in Alta, and the summit elevations are 10,500 and 10,300, respectively.  Each route has a mix of snow and rock moves in winter. There are good areas on the approach to learn and practice self-arrest, ice-axe, crampon and rope skills.

West Ridge of Toledo Peak:
Combine ice axe and crampon training and a spectacular, rugged, mixed rock and snow alpine climb along the well-protected West Ridge.

This 2,000-foot ascent involves an approach from Alta, usually on snowshoes or skis. Along the way, suitable areas exist for a snow school including a progression from climbing in balance, using duck-foot, crossover-step, sidestep, and plunge-step, to self-belay with piolet cane, high and low dagger, and piolet traction, and on to flat-footing and front-pointing with crampons. Self-arrest with the axe, a last resort, but an essential skill to know, will also be taught.

Upon reaching the rocky West Ridge of Toledo, the guide will lead a series of Chimneys and rocky aretes. Followers will learn mixed rock and snow climbing, usually in crampons; removal of rock protection and anchors, and reach a spectacular 10,400-foot Wasatch summit. Descent is to the east down Toledo Bowl on foot, glissade, snowshoes or skis.

The Toledo and Training Clinic makes an ideal pre-cursor to either the South Ridge of Superior Long-Day or North Ridge of Pfeifferhorn 2-day Alpine Climb.

Rates:

          Full Day:
               
$299 for one person plus $125 for each additional person plus tax

          Half Day:
               $179 for one person plus $75 for each additional person plus tax

          Long and more difficult days:
               $350 for one person plus $150 for each additional person plus tax

Rate Chart:

Private Guide
Full Day (6-10 hours)
Number of Clients
Total Amount
Amount per Person
Base Price
Additional Person
1
$299.00
$299.00
$299.00
$125.00
2
$424.00
$212.50
3
$549.00
$183.00
4
$674.00
$165.50
All fees are subject to tax.

Private Guide
Half Day (3-5 hours); 60% of Full Rate
Number of Clients
Total Amount
Amount per Person
Base Price
Additional Person
1
$179.00
$179.40
$179.00
$ 75.00
2
$254.00
$127.20
3
$329.00
$109.80
4
$404.00
$101.10
All fees are subject to tax.

Private Guide
Difficult Climbs or Long Day (10 or more hours)
Number of Clients
Total Amount
Amount per Person
Base Price
Additional Person
1
$350.00
$350.00
$350.00
$150.00
2
$500.00
$250.00
3
$650.00
$216.67
All fees are subject to tax.

Equipment and Logistics - Mountaineering

Equipment

North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn
North Ridge of the Pfeifferhorn
Photography by Tyson Bradley

Summer Mountaineering Gear List:

  • Comfortable and flexible pants (no jeans) and top
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket
  • Light fleece jacket or sweatshirt
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • 2 liters of water (in a water bag pack (optional))
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Approach shoes (no sandals)
  • Rock climbing shoes **
  • Harness *
  • Belay device and locking carabiner *
  • Helmet *
  • Day backpack

Download Gear List ( PDF)

*  UMA will provide a helmet, harness and personal technical gear if you need them.

** Rock climbing shoes are available for rent at local shops.


Winter and Spring Mountaineering Skills and Climbs Equipment List:

  • Non-cotton top and bottom under layers (capilene or polypro)
  • Fleece or softshell layer
  • Waterproof/windproof top and bottom outer shell
  • Wool (and liner) socks
  • Waterproof snow gloves and/or mittens
  • Climbing gloves
  • Warm hat and sun cap
  • Sunglasses and goggles
  • Sunscreen
  • 2 liters of water
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Backpack *
  • Avalanche transceiver *
  • Shovel *
  • Full or 3/4 shank crampon compatible boots
  • Gaiters
  • Snowshoes & poles (depending on conditions)
  • Crampons (flexible 10-point will suffice)
  • Ice axe
  • Helmet *
  • Harness *
  • Locking carabiner and belay device *

Download Gear List ( PDF)

*  These items are available from UMA at no extra charge. Other items are available for rent at local shops.

Overnight Winter Mountaineering Equipment List:

  • Non-cotton top and bottom under layers (capilene or polypro)
  • Fleece or other insulation layer
  • Waterproof/windproof top and bottom outer shell
  • Wool and liner socks
  • Waterproof snow gloves and mittens
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Warm hat and sun cap
  • Thin hat or balaclava for under helmet
  • Sunglasses and goggles
  • 2 litres of water
  • Lunch and snacks
  • Ski boots or full shank crampon compatible boots
  • Alpine touring, telemark skis, split snowboard or snowshoes
  • Heel risers for tele skis
  • Poles
  • Skins
  • Avalanche transceiver *
  • Shovel *
  • Backpack (min. 5000cu. in.)
  • Gaiters
  • Crampons (flexible 10-point will suffice)
  • Ice axe
  • Helmet*
  • Harness*
  • Locking carabiner and belay device *
  • Sleeping Bag rated to 0 F.
  • Therm-a-rest inflatable sleeping pad and 1 ensolite pad or 2 ensolite pads
  • Insulated plastic mug w/ Lid, bowl & spoon
  • Headlamp w/ fresh battery
  • Insulated parka
  • Complete change of socks for second day
  • Sunscreen
  • Tooth brush & handy wipe towelettes

Download Gear List ( PDF)

UMA will provide group gear such as tent and cooking equipment. UMA will provide dinner and breakfast

*  These items are available from UMA at no extra charge. Other items are available for rent at local shops.

Utah Mountain Adventures Rentals:

Alpine touring skis and skins:
Split-snowboard, skins and poles:
Skins only:
Snowshoes and poles:
$40 plus tax
$45 plus tax
$10 plus tax
$15 plus tax

 

Rental Shops:

     Black Diamond Retail
     2070 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City
     (801) 278-0233

     REI
     3285 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City
     (801) 486-2100

     University of Utah Outdoor Rec Center
     
2140 E. Red Butte Road, Fort Douglas, Building 650
     (801) 581-8516

Guidebook and Map:

     Guidebook: Utah Mountaineering Guide. By Michael R. Kelsey
     Maps: Hiking the Wasatch. By the Wasatch Mountain Club & University of Utah Press

Accommodations

These lodges in the town of Alta are very convenient for the Saturday and Sunday venues:

     Alta Lodge
     (801) 322-4631

     Alta's Rustler Lodge
     (801) 532-2582

     Goldminer’s Daughter
     (801) 742-2300

     Peruvian Lodge
     (801) 742-3333

     Snowbird
     (801) 933-2222

These accommodations in Salt Lake City area are also close to the Cottonwood Canyons:

     Skyline Inn, Foothill Drive, SLC
     Foothill Drive, SLC: 2475 E. 1700 South
     (801) 582-5350

     La Quinta Inn
     Midvale: 7231 S. Catalpa Rd
     (801) 566-3291

     Residence Inn
     
Cottonwood Heights: 6425 South 3000 E.
     (801) 453-0430

Trailheads & Meeting Points - Driving Directions:


To BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON PARK & RIDE LOT:

  • From Salt Lake City, and the Wasatch Front:
    Follow Interstate 215 (Belt Route) either south from I-80 or east from I-15 to the 6200 South Exit. Drive southeast, uphill, toward Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird ski resorts. Continue through a traffic light at the intersection with Wasatch Boulevard. Turn left (east) at the next light onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (SR 190, also called 7200 South.) Take another left after 200 yards into the UTA Park & Ride lot.

  • From Park City and other points east:
    Go west over Parley's summit and down Parley's Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. Go south on I-215, and exit at the 6200 South. Drive southeast, uphill, toward Brighton, Solitude, Alta,and Snowbird ski resorts. Continue through a traffic light at the intersection with Wasatch Boulevard. Turn left (east) at the next light onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road (SR 190, also called 7200 South). Take another left after 200 yards into the UTA Park & Ride lot.

To Knudsen Corner PARK & RIDE LOT, 6450 South Wasatch Blvd:

  • Follow directions for Big Cottonwood Park & Ride Lot (above), until you reach the junction of 6200 South and Wasatch Blvd. Turn left here and make another immediate left into the large Park & Ride Lot.

To EINSTEIN BAGEL SHOP in Olympus Cove, SLC:

  • From Park City and other points east:
    Drive west on I-80 over Parley's summit and down Parley's Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. Go south on I-215, and exit at 3900 South. Turn left (east) under the freeway and make a right on Wasatch Blvd then an immediate left into the Bagel Shop, which is next to a mall and Dan's Grocery Store.

  • From Salt Lake City, and the Wasatch Front:
    Follow Interstate 215 (Belt Route) south or north to the 3900 South Exit. Get on Wasatch Blvd, which parallels the freeway on the east, and locate the Bagel Shop, just south of the intersection of 3900 South and Wasatch Blvd. It is at the north end of a mall and Dan's Grocery Store.

How to Register:

Register Online

Utah Alpine Climbing Guides Private Guiding & Instruction - Utah Mountaineering

Frequently Asked Questions - Mountaineering

Climbers on Wasatch Summit
Climbers on Wasatch Summit
Photography by Tim Walton

What type of Crampons should I use?

10-point, hinged, flexible, lash-on spikes made of light metal (including aluminum) are ideal, and adaptable to almost any boot. Step-in crampons are fine, but they won’t fit on softer boots that lack heel and toe rands for attachment. 12-point water-ice crampons are fine, but heavier than necessary.

What type of Ice Axe and Leash is best?

A mountaineering axe usually has a straight shaft (as opposed to the radically curved shafts and reverse-droop picks designed specifically for water-ice and mixed climbing.) Some newer mountaineering axes include a bend only in the upper shaft, and this is fine. Preferable length is 50-75 cm.

Given that many Wasatch routes are on a mix of rock, ice, and snow, a shorter axe is easier to stow for pure rock moves. For this reason, a RETAINER leash connected to the harness is required so the tool can’t be dropped. The best type is a 5’ long, single-strand of 1/2” webbing attached with a water knot on the pick side of the axe head. Wrist loops are for steep ice, and NOT helpful for mountaineering.

How much experience do I need for the South Ridge of Superior?

This is an “Alpine-style,” intermediate to advanced climb. Ice-axe and crampon experience is helpful for winter and spring ascents. Rock-climbing or scrambling background and comfort with exposure is important in any season. The climber needs to be fit enough to handle 3,000 feet of ascent, mostly on technical class 3 & 4 terrain. Deep, unconsolidated snow makes the climb considerably more physically demanding.

Can I ski off the top of Superior?

Ski descents of Superior’s highly visible South Face are very popular, and UMA does guide this and other steep, challenging ski lines when conditions are right. However, carrying skis (or a snowboard) make climbing the South Ridge MUCH harder. We recommend climbing the East Ridge or Cardiac Bowl if a ski descent is sought.

In order to ski Mt. Superior, UMA requires that the participant has gone out with UMA previously in order to be comfortable in the assessment of their capability. Skiing from the summit into Cardiac Bowl or Mill B South is a safer, more benign option.

Does UMA offer multi-pitch rock mountaineering climbs?

Yes, there are many excellent rock routes in the higher terrain. The Sundial -- above Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon -- and Arm and Hammer in Bells Canyon are two of the more popular climbs. These are aesthetic, intermediate to advanced routes needing solid fitness and rock-climbing skills. They are described in more detail on the rock-climbing page.

Contact UMA if you have any questions:

Call (801) 550-3986 or email us at uma@UtahMountainAdventures.com

 
Testimonials

I ended up climbing with UMA's Jason Shumaker and had a fantastic day. I'll look forward to climbing with him again . . .

- Darryl Sargent


UMA did an excellent job of teaching us the basic snow mountaineering skills of climbing, self-arrest, crampon usage, roping, anchoring . . .

- Michael Hannan


Craig was a very patient and friendly guide. I’d take a class from him again . . .

- Ben Knorr


   
   

Mountaineering (Alpine Climbing) - Utah Mountain Adventures

In summer and fall, we wear sticky-rubber approach shoes or alpine boots and travel primarily on dry rock. Popular moderate routes include Mt. Olympus West Slabs (Northwest Face) and Mt. Superior South Ridge. Climbers comfortable up to 5.8 may enjoy the Sundial and other remote Wasatch multi-pitch classics.

The feeling of elation upon reaching a summit is heightened by the challenges of winter conditions. November-May mountaineering is climbing on a mix of snow, ice and rock using crampons and ice axe, typically after an approach on skis, splitboard or snowshoes. Mt. Superior’s knife-edged South Ridge is our classic single-day alpine route, and the airy North Ridge, or the friendlier East Ridge, of the Pfeifferhorn is usually a 2-day climb.

The skills and experience gained on Wasatch ascents are ideal preparation for future climbs on the major peaks of the world, including Denali, Rainier and the Grand Teton. UMA prepares students in the rigors of snow mountaineering by instructing them in the use of crampons and ice axe, self arrest, belayed climbing, snow anchors, crevasse rescue and winter camping.

Crampons, ice axe and boots are available for rent at local shops. UMA provides all technical team gear as well as tents, stoves, dinner and breakfast for overnight climbs.

For more information on mountaineering classes in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, please view our Mountaineering Courses.

We also offer private Guided Mountaineering & Alpine Climbing Instruction in the Wasatch Range in and around the Salt Lake area.