29 Jul 2002 - 12:27:56 AM
I hiked to the summit of Alta Mountain today. Its elevation seems to be 6240', although I've seen it listed as 6000', 6250', and 6400'. Puzzling. I went what I thought was the standard route, via the Rachel Lake trail, but after a Google search, I found four trip reports (one, two, three, four -- the first two from the same guy), and all of them took the "secret" trail to Lake Lillian and then headed north to Rampart Ridge. They all have very nice pictures of Alta and the surrounding area, and I'm totally envious. I had fairly miserable weather -- low clouds, almost constant mist, and a cold, wet wind along Alta ridge soaking and chilling me. Closest I've come to hypothermia, actually. There are all sorts of amazing panoramas from the summit, as seen in the various pictures, but all I saw today was gray. There are four or five false summits on Alta, and, not having read those trip reports beforehand, at each one I thought, "Great! I've reached the summit!" Then I'd notice the little trail continuing on, and, if I concentrated on the wall of mist, the faint outline of ascending ridgeline. Got to be a little frustrating. At the true summit, of which I was doubtful at first, I celebrated by hanging out on the leeward side and changing into dry clothes. The way down was made fun by the mist wetting all the rocks along the ridge trail and all the tree roots as well as the rocks along the steep section of the Rachel Lake trail. The flat section back to the parking lot was mostly dry, though. Oy. I must be becoming a masochist.