Lone Peak Cirque is one of the most amazing places that the Wasatch has to offer in terms of scenery and awesome, high quality granite climbing. The hike is steep and grueling, but once you enter the meadow at the top of Jacob’s Ladder, the cirque comes into view and the steep hiking is behind you. The cliffs slowly move closer to you as you hike. You finally reach the cirque and the walls tower around you. It’s very impressive.
Once in the cirque, Kirk, Wes, and I began our trudge up the steep snow slope to the base of “Open Book,” a long, 4 pitch, 5.7 route that tops out right on the summit. Getting to the base was a bit sketchy with all the snow and slippery rock, but before we knew it I was racking up for the first pitch; mostly 5.6 with a 5.7 move.
I started up the pitch which goes up a lower angle dihedral on polished granite until it kicks back into a large steep block. From here you traverse right on a sweet undercling with insecure feet to a stemming, exposed move that puts you at the first belay on sloping ledge.
Wes took pitch 2; A pretty cool, sustained off-width with good features inside the crack and on the face. A steeper section at the top of the pitch was the crux.
Pitch 3 is amazing. It’s probably one of my favorite alpine pitches. It’s 200 feet of fairly consistent 5.7 climbing with decent exposure, awesome gear, and fantastic crack climbing. The highlight is the awesome “Bear Hug” double crack system that ends in a cool alcove that has perfect gear for anchors.
Wes took pitch 4 which was also pretty great. You rock out of the alcove onto a slab and traverse left into an inside corner. Stemming and face climbing put you below a roof move with a perfect hand crack. Smear your feet on the smooth slab and pull on the jams to get out and right around this roof. From here it is easy climbing up ledges to the summit block. Pick your belay!
We all topped out and had a snow-filled adventure getting back down to the base of the cirque. We accomplished our goal and hiked out that same day. Success!!