The South Ridge of Superior is a fairly iconic ridge line in Little Cottonwood Canyon across from Snowbird and Alta Resorts. Since moving to Salt Lake I have been slowly ticking away at a number of peaks in the Wasatch, Mount Superior being one of them. The more peaks I have bagged and the more rock climbing I have started doing, the more I am realizing it is kind of about the route more than it is about the actual peak.
It’s true some peaks have an allure to them, but the ability hike up a trail to the top of a mountain has begun to lose its sense of inspiration for me. The south ridge of Superior is an alternative route to a moderately easy hike up the mountain. Don’t get me wrong, the hike to the summit the “normal” way is great! It’s a beautiful ridge traverse from Cardiff pass that winds its way along above Snowbird.
Superior’s south ridge is a more direct route that starts from the road and leads directly to the summit from the south. It doesn’t take too long before you cross some sections of terrain that take you past the point of no return. A few of these technical climbing sections and you realize that there is no way off the ridge but to the top, unless you have a rope or skis in the winter.
I found that there were about 4 or 5 section on the ridge that provided either technical climbing moves, extreme exposure, or a little bit of both.
2 or 3 main catwalk sections had easy moves but extreme exposure and 2 less exposed 12 -15 foot face climb sections that I thought fell into at least 5.6 moves. This is not consistent rock climbing and doesn’t require rope, but does require the ability to keep a clear head with making big consequence climbing moves and traverses.
Besides the few “intense” sections of climbing mentioned above, the rest of the ridge is moderate 2nd – 4th class scrambling. The ridge is incredibly beautiful especially in the winter and was amazing to climb and the view while climbing on it is pure magic. You gain elevation so quickly that before you know it you are way above the roads and resorts below.
I am really glad I was finally able to get on the route. I have been wanting to do it for some time and was happy to try it out last weekend.