Friday, September 13, 2013

The WURL

From Jared Campbell's blog
The WURL has been on my list for years but prior attempts have failed before they began.  Last week when Noah asked if I wanted to join him the answer was easy. Only problem was that I sprained my ankle a week before and it still hurt to run.  Oh well, I figured I could tape it and always bail if the ankle wasn't up to it.

We got a 2:45 start at Ferguson Canyon and Noah nailed the Twins ascent.  I hadn't been up via Ferguson before so I just let Noah play guide.  Without any mishaps we cruised to the top of Stairs and the traversed over to the summit of East Twin.  Is West Twin officially part of the WURL? East is higher so we opted out of West and started heading out the Cottonwood ridge-line.
Early morning on SLC Twins
Route finding is pretty straight forward - just stay on the ridge and head east.  The scrambling is top notch and the overcast morning made it even better.  Not wanting to aggravate my ankle we just took it easy, ate a ton, made fun of just about everyone we know, and made it out to Cardiff Pass a little over 7 hours after we started.  This section of the WURL is a must do.
Heading up Drom
Drom and the Twins
LCC ridge
Noah on the West side of Monte Cristo
Posers on the summit of Superior
As we rolled into Cardiff Pass we were greeted by Jonah and a perfectly laid out feast.  He had found a pallet and neatly served up a breakfast of gu, bars, drink, etc...  It was a beautiful sight! We ate, the brothers hugged, and we were off again at a blistering pace (walking) to make our way around the east end of the canyon and over to Snowbird.  We thought about running but decided to keep it at a walk and conserve energy for the long day ahead.
Feast arranged by Jonah
Brother Love
Heading up one of the Honeycomb Peaks
As we traversed around Wolverine Cirque toward Mt. Wolverine we heard some ridiculous screaming.  Andy was planning up meeting us at Catherine's Pass and joining over Devil's Castle but we were moving slow so he backtracked to get us.  When we met him he pulled out 3 double cheeseburgers and a sausage McMuffin.  What a treat.  The cheeseburgers were still warm and the were absolutely delicious.  



The theme of the day was "What would Jared do?" We both have nothing but respect for the WURL pioneer Jared Campbell and in our mind he stayed true to the the ridge line throughout the ENTIRE traverse.  Anytime we felt like it'd be easier to drop off the ridge we'd ask WWJD and then  stay true to the ridge.  This unfortunately was NOT the case as we headed up to Point Supreme.  There a 200 or so meter section of hateful trees and gendarmes and we, in a moment of weakness, dropped off the ridge to avoid the slow travel.  Sorry to let your legacy down Jared.
Andy and Noah on Point Supreme
The best scrambling of day was Devil's Castle.  Reasonably solid rock mixed with a little bit of exposure.  Besides Hidden Peak, the only 2 people we saw all day were on DC.
Noah on Devil's Castle
Andy on Devil's Castle
Once over Sugarloaf Andy had to head home but our good luck with company kept going.  Forrest met us as Andy was heading back down and kept the pacing/keep us company duties going all the way to Red Stack.  We found our cooler full of food at Hidden Peak but after the Jonah feast and the Andy Mickey D's binge we barely touched it.  A few Pringles and ramen mixed with salsa was all we could put down.
Forrest pacing us over to the west summit of AF Twins
More posing on Red Stack, photo by Forrest
After Forrest let us go on Red Stack we made quick work of Red Baldy where we found Noah's roommate Alex.  He had planned on meeting us above Red Pine Lake but got up there early and just decided to head east until he found us.  It was pretty amazing, Jonah, Andy, Forest and Alex were there basically all the way from Cardiff Pass through White Baldy. Thanks guys!
View from White Baldy
Noah and the summit mailbox on White Baldy
Alex with a full Little Caesar's pizza 
Once we got to Alex's turn off back to White Pine he pulled down a stashed bag with a whole pizza in it. The feasting continued!  We scarfed as much as we could and made our way into the clouds and darkness,  The top of the Pfeif (18 hours in) was the last of our daylight.
Sunset from the Pfeif
Noah, psyched for the darkness and rain
Low clouds kept blowing in and out as we wrapped around to S. Thunder.  It was clear rain was coming, the question was when.  This section kept us moving cautiously not wanting to fall into the darkness of Hogum. I've gone from S Thunder to Bighorn a couple times over the past year and before starting assured Noah I could find it no problem.  I was wrong.  Turns out it's a lot harder in the dark.  Up to this point everything had gone as planned.  I pretty sure I said the WURL is a joke just a few miles earlier.  I was wrong.  Luckily we knew we just needed to find the east side of Bighorn and head up.  We aimed for a big black silhouette and after a bit of loose steep scrambling we were on the BH summit.  Here's were we had another moment of weakness and let Jared down again.  Not wanting to deal with the entire summit ridge we dropped to the north and skirted under the last bit of gnarliness. 

Lone was straight forward and we then headed north to the notch.  All the trails seem to have been washed out by the recent rain so we just stayed on the ridge and were funneled directly to the notch.  I had gone down the notch before but in the dark the loose gully felt 100% worse.  Luckily we didn't kill each other with the multiple loose rocks we kicked off as slowly made our way into Bell's.  

Once out of the notch the search for the trail began.  We cut directly across the canyon with no sign of a it. We then headed down canyon on the far right side where we were misled a few times by fake trails and after 45 mins or so of bushwhacking came across a cairn making the way.  It wasn't easy to follow but we made sure we didn't get too far away from the last cairn before turning back and trying again.  The crap trail slowly became easier to follow and before we knew it we were on the real trail.  24 and a half hours clicked over and we thought we'd be happy if we could just go under 26.  Then it started pouring. Hard.  We walked wet for want seemed like forever before we made it back to the lake. Our phones had died and since we knew we were close we raced to the car to check the clock only to find that it was 5:10.  26 hours and 25 mins after we started.  Wow.  We were slow.  No worries though.  It was an amazing day+ full of good company, trashy food and jokes, and fantastic scenery.  The WURL was as good as I hoped it would be.
Soaked and happy to be done
Food:
8 liters of gatorade, red bull, and diet rockstar
2 double cheeseburgers
3 pieces of peperoni pizza
1 ramen with 1/2 salsa
1 pack cola gummies
10+ gels
4-5 chocolate chip cookies

Gear:
SCARPA Sparks
OR Throttle Shorts
OR ECHO Tee
OR Torque Tee
OR Helium 2 jacket

14 comments:

  1. That last pic is disturbing. What did Noah do to you and why did he enjoy it so much?!?

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    1. I don't remember what he did but I did have to crop out a large portion of that picture to make it family friendly...

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  2. How many people have even done that, two or three? Nice work!

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    1. I've only heard of a couple but C. Cawley knows of a few others. I bet a bunch more have but that haven't made it public. I'm surprised you haven't done it! There's still time this year...

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  3. Even after 26hrs in the mountains my better judgment told me that last photo was a bad idea. Nice write up JD! Thanks for waiting for me.

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    1. Thanks NH, it was a good day for sure! The last photo was a bad idea but it looks so filthy I had to put it in.

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    2. The last photo is perfectly hilarious

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  4. You guys are my heros. Any evidence of our caches from last year? I believe they were destroyed by marmots within hours of their placement. All respect to Jared, Nik, etc, but Dave Madera did the WURL in the early 90's; no word on whether he started from Ferguson, Broads, LCC Park N'Ride, or Pinky's on 41st south, but my sources tell me he was not the only guys to do it back then, so the link-up may predate its discussion on the internet. Nonetheless, chapeau!

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    1. You're my hero. No sign of the caches, I think you're right, the marmots probably went to town. The WURL seems like such a classic doable outing that I'm sure a bunch of people who have done that I don't know about. I'm guessing most people who have done it just haven't posted pictures and write ups!

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  5. Maybe WURL should actually be added to the dictionary as a word that defines how misery and fun can happen at the same time. Nice work guys! Love these photos!

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  6. Awesome. Why are your eyes red?

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    1. I'm guess it was all the sun. I couldn't find my glasses...

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