Provo Peak

Elevation: 11,068
Location: Wasatch Range, Utah

Provo Peak is one of the lesser known high peaks of the Wasatch range. It is quite obvious from most places in Utah county, yet no formal trail really approaches the summit, and access to the peak is poor compared to other local peaks. Probably the popularity of peaks like Timpanogos and Nebo are the biggest reason this peak is not very popular.

Provo Peak (sharp) and sub-peak from south ridge Getting to the peak is the hardest part. The Squaw Peak road is easily passible in a passenger car up to the Rock Canyon Campground, but much beyond this you'll want a 4-wheel vehicle to go much further. Starting from the valley floor you'd be hard pressed to make the climb up and back in one day.

Without a 4-wheel vehicle, and not willing to start from Rock Canyon and climb all the way from there, I went with the local Wasatch Mountain Club for this climb. The drive is scenic, but long and even difficult for high-clearance vehicles. Finally after about an hour of driving the road we arrived at a point on the mountain's west slope, somewhat south of the peak.

From here we followed various tracks up maybe 2,000 feet to get onto the summit ridge. This mountain is pretty heavily terraced, and often we were hiking on those terraces. The ridge gives your first good view to the east.

Following the ridge north now we passed over a few tiny sub-peaks, but the main peak was obvious in the distance. A decent trail re-emerges on this summit ridge, and the rest of the hike is a cake-walk from here, although fairly steep at the end.

View north to Utah Valley, Cascade Peak, Mount Timpanogos By now I had jumped ahead of the group and had the windy summit to myself briefly. The wind blew off my lucky Miami Hurricanes hat and almost sent it down the east slope, but fortunately it lodged in a rocky area and I was able to retrieve it. Soon the rest of the club members were on the summit.

The view deserves much praise. To the north is a great view of the road we came up and the obvious bench seperating the Provo foothills from the high peaks. Cascade Peak and Mount Timpanogos are clearly visible. A nearby sub-peak of Provo Peak is obvious, and almost as high at 11,044 feet. To the south is Spanish Fork Peak, Santaquin Peak and the obvious Mount Nebo.

On this particular hike, the club was not going down the same way they came up, but taking a direct route down that is often filled with snow into June for glissading. I must admit, I didn't come prepared for this.

View south to Spanish Fork Peak, Mt. Nebo distant We started down and quickly came into the snowfields, most were pretty easy to get down, but without an ice axe (I had only ski poles) some of the steeper ones were an adventure. A few spots require some rock downclimbing to the next snowfield, but nothing severe. In all, we descended nearly 3,000 feet, and I'd guess about 2,000 of it was on snow. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, I wasn't ready for this and didn't bring the waterproof pants and had a rather wet behind.

Now back on the Squaw Peak road we had a healthy walk back to the parking lot, but a truck came by and gave us a lift to the parking area. We had a long drive out to finish the Squaw Peak road, then an even longer drive back to my home in North Salt Lake. The hike probably only took five or six hours, but with the lengthy drive, it was an all-day adventure.