Memory has it’s way of distorting the details. I think it’s been 6 years but it could be longer, likely more like 10.

Either way, as my memory serves me I remember my first few times venturing into the backcountry/sidecountry while working at The Canyons. I remember the first time I skied Square Top, heart racing, adrenaline pumping. I remember the first time I bought touring boots – those baby blue Scarpa Denali XT’s – feeling as if I had “arrived” and was now a backcountry skier. But most importantly I remember all the details surrounding the first time that my buddy Bryan suggested that we ski the East Ridge of Mount Timpanogos.

East Ridge of Mount Timpanogos - she's calling to you too!

I had driven the road from Heber to Provo likely 500 times and had heard her whisper to me as I looked at her sexy East Ridge with covetous thoughts. It’s a line that is littered with cliff bands and a double fall line that if not followed will lure you into trap after trap. Year after year the ski seasons passed me by without checking her off my list. It was either he didn’t have time off of work or I wasn’t in town druing the 2-3 weeks that it was in form or….excuses, excuses.

My skill over the years that I’ve lusted to touch her East flank have improved and the fact that this season, after a crazy brain surgery that brought me closer to death than ever before, would be THE season is still amazing to me as I type.

It was a rather simple plan and one that hatched from passing by the desk of Bob Merrill, a co-worker of mine at Backcountry.com, as he casually said, “What are you doing tomorrow morning?” I could see that look in his eye and I knew something was going down. “Skiing whatever line you want to ski” I replied, to which he whispered in a hushed tone, glancing from right to left “east ridge of Timp”. My heart skipped a beat.

Resting at the Timpanogos Glacier Saddle with Utah Valley below

As far as dawn patrols go it was your standard fare. Groggy 4am wake up, drive to a meeting point, car pool to Timpanogos with Bob cranking some 80’s metal in a coffee induced mania. Given that it was May we skinned up through Primrose Cirque sans headlamps, passing other lofty and worthy objectives (east coulior of Roberts Horn, Ship’s Prow) and up the glacier to the saddle.

Shouldering our skis we climbed past the second summit and along an exposed summit ridge to reach the top of Timp’s seductively sexy East Ridge. I had finally arrived.

How did it ski? She dished up 3000′ of perfect “I can’t believe it’s not butter” smooth corn that lead to a final 1000′ of slurpee spring goodness. Her kiss was as good as I had imagined it would be all these years.

Big lines on the east ridge of Timpanogos

Like most any worthy reward there is a price to be paid and the 4500′ of hiking was just the main fair as she made us pay an additional price to exit through some crazy avalanche debris and bush. But despite the memory fog that sets in with age, skiing the East Ridge of Timpanogos is an adventure my mind will not soon erase.

Looking south, Pat Ormand negotiates one of the lower chutes on the East Ridge of Timpanogos

Summit of Mount Timpanogos as Pat skins toward Emerlad Lake

About Author

Kendall has long been known for his passion of the outdoors. In the past 10 years his love for skiing, particularly backcountry skiing, has defined his pursuits. He's also been active in trail running, mountain climbing, rock climbing, ski mountaineering, cycling and has recently taken up backcountry bow hunting. Aside from writing reviews on FeedTheHabit.com he also reviews products on Gear.com and is co-founder of Camofire.com

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for the inspiration. Timp is such a cool mountain, and though I’ve summited it more than 10 times, I’ve yet to get on the ridge in winter and ski it. After reading this post, I’ve got to!

  2. Erik – You won’t regret the journey to the East Ridge. Glad to have provided a spec of inspiration. Let us know how it goes after you tick that line off your list.

  3. Utah Fly Guide – Good luck on Saturday, should be a great day for a summit as long as the storm comes in a little later in the day. Today (Friday) might be a better day to summit but it’s going to heat up. Either way, good luck and be safe!!

  4. RM – If you’re talking about routes on Timp, here would be my list of 3-4 to consider in April/May:

    1. East Ridge of course
    2. Grunge Coulior – 55-60 degrees at the top, can be dicey with rockfall but if you hit it after a cold bit and early in the day you’ll be rewarded with a classic descent
    3. Cold Fusion – One I’ve not skied, but hope to early next month. It’s a trade off cause if you ski it now the approach is lengthy given the road still has snow. If you wait until late May, it’s accessible by mountain bike to the base. The upper section has some spice but it’s a classic descent overall.
    4. West Face from the summit proper or from the top of the West Ridge that goes up from Baldy. Better to hit this early April cause the conditions and more the run out get filled with avie debris. The upper bowl just east of the West Ridge is some of the more spicy skiing I’ve had on the peak. Steep (around 50) and long with lots of air under your bases.

    Are you looking for other fun objectives in Utah for April/May?

  5. Shaun Pitts on

    hey i just came back from staying in pleasant grove UT for a few days and stayed at familys looking right at the amazing face of timp. thought how great it would to ski the orem side of the MT. your story was great! i wnated to know has anyone ever made a attempt down the orem side? if so where would i find some helpfull hints and stories?

  6. Jordan Gluch on

    Hey Kendall, first of all, your posts are awesome. Second, I was thinking about skiing the west face this year from the saddle. I would like to talk to you a little bit about routes, gear, avalanche danger, etc. Hope to hear from you soon
    -Jordan

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