Provo Peak Trip Report
West Ridge, 09/06/04
Provo Peak is one of the higher mountains in the Wasatch Range, and has been on my list all summer long. After a botched attempt hiking from the valley floor with Chris earlier this summer, I determined that the next time I attempted this hike, it would be with a high clearance vehicle, which would put us closer to the trailhead. There are several possible ascent routes, and most of the them start along the Squaw Peak Road, a forest service road which runs past Squaw Peak and behind the lower peaks near Provo.
When Ben, a friend whom I had talked with earlier in the season about climbing Provo Peak, called the night before Labor Day suggesting that we go, I jumped at the opportunity. He had the means of getting us to the trailhead, and which we arrived at almost an hour after leaving Provo on Labor Day morning. It was actually a bit chilly, and because we were climbing on the west side of the mountain, we didn't see the sun until almost two-thirds of the way up.
I had heard rumors about the steepness of the trail, but I didn't really get a taste of it until we got going. The trail starts climbing from a decent camping stop at a wide turn in the road, and doesn't stop until the summit. It traverses the mountain for a little ways, and they goes straight up a ridge. The route is only 1.5 miles long, but with a gain of 2800 feet, the climb can seem like it will take forever. Ben and I made things easier, though, by missing the turn up the ridge and route finding our way up across the many terraces on the side of the peak.
We eventually found the trail up the ridge, and followed it the rest of the way to the summit. The climb was well worth it, though, as the views from the summit were incredible. We could see peaks in all directions, and several valleys, including down into the Heber Valley and up toward Lone Peak and Jordanelle. After signing the log book and taking pictures, we began the tortuous decent.
As most hikers will attest, coming down a steep hike is just about as difficult as going up, due to the extra stress it puts on the knees and other joints. Coming down, however, we were able to follow the trail all the way back to our vehicle. The trail is quite overgrown in places, and we recognized where we had neglected to turn because of that. All told, the hike took about 4 hours and was hard but enjoyable, with the added bonus of being able to drive through the mountains as the fall leaves were just being to peak. Another one of the 11ers down!