Posted by: runuphill | August 23, 2015

Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup (WURL)

 

Mountain Goats on South Thunder

Mountain Goats on South Thunder

The Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup or “WURL” is an incredible ridge route circumnavigating Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  The route mainly consists of scrambling, boulder hopping, and a few rugged trails.  It is ~36 miles long with ~18kft of elevation gain.  Given the recent increase in interest with the route, I’ve created this page in an effort to provide better information about it as well as document successful efforts, worthy attempts, interesting related information, and Fastest-Known-Times (FKTs).  Please feel free to comment below so I can make this as accurate as possible.

The Start

When I first did it back in 2004 I chose to start with an ascent of Ferguson Canyon.  Ascending Ferguson is fantastic and after a few miles you’re in terrain that is peaceful and rarely traveled.  The quartzite ridge above Stairs Gulch is truly spectacular and one of the finest places in the Wasatch to watch the sunrise.

The Route

There are at least 21 names peaks along the ridge and a handful of unnamed mini-summits.  I recommend that those looking for the full experience summit all the peaks indicated in the map below.  Note that it the route can be easily exported to a .gpx file.

WURL_500px

WURL Overview  – Click image for a CalTopo version of the route

The Finish

I recommend continuing north off the summit of Lone Peak for half a mile to ~10,450′ at the notch formed by the impressive Upper Big Willow Cirque wall.  Once in the notch, descend east down a steep gully into Bells Canyon.  From the bottom of the gully contour over to the reservoir itself or intersect the trail slightly below the reservoir.  Then, it’s cruiser trail out to the Bells Canyon Granite Trailhead.  Note : Some folks have descended other routes such as Jacob’s Ladder or the Draper Ridge.  While legitimate (according to me for what that’s worth), I recommend the Bells Canyon route as it adds to the adventure.

Distance Table

Milestone Mile
Start – Ferguson
Broad Fork Twin 5.6
Sunrise 6.3
Dromedary 6.7
Monte Cristo 8.9
Superior 9.2
Cardiff Pass 10.2
Flagstaff 10.8
Davenport Hill 12.2
Honeycomb Cliff – North 12.9
Honeycomb Cliff – South 13.2
Wolverine 14.5
Catherine’s Pass 15.1
Ski Lift 15.8
Devils Castle 17.0
Sugarloaf 17.8
Baldy 18.7
Hidden (Tram) 19.4
AF Twin (East) 20.3
AF Twin (West) 20.6
Red Stack 21.0
Red Baldy 22.0
White Baldy 23.0
Pfeifferhorn – Trail intersection 24.1
Pfeifferhorn – Summit 24.7
Upwop 25.2
South Thunder 27.0
Big Horn Peak 28.2
Lone Peak North Summit 29.1
Gulley 29.6
Bells Canyon Trail 30.9
Finish – Bells Trailhead 35.6

Completions

  • #33-35 – 9/05/0217 – Matt Mueller, Eric Edelman, Tyler Call – 32 hr 50 min – instagramStrava
  • #31 & 32 – 9/03/2017 – Carolyn Pino & David Carter – 35 hr – instagram
  • #30 – 9/2/2017 – Elliot Barcikowski – 23 (ish) – any more info?
  • #29 – 8/26/2017 (2) – Dave Pease – 29hrs 17 min – movescount – 54 years old
  • #28 – 8/21/2017 – Brian Culmo – 29 hrs 53 min – instagram
  • #27 – 8/20/2017 – Drew Petersen – 23 hrs 37 min – instagram
  • #26 – 7/16/2017 (2) – Ian Farris – 29 hrs 38 min
  • #25 – 7/10/2017 – Chris Natalie – 22 hrs 55 min – Garmin
  • #24 – 9/5/2016 – Brennan Crellin – 23 hrs 18 min – Movescount
  • #21-23 – 8/20/2016 – Aaron Smith, Blake Josephson, Danny Bryson – 28 hrs 23 min – strava
  • #20 – 8/18/2016 – Spenser Tang-Smith – 31 hrs 10 min – report
  • #19 – 9/7/2015 – Jared Campbell – 16 hrs 44 min – report
  • #18 – 8/30/2015 (1) – Chad Ambrose – 25? hrs – report
  • #17 – 8/23/2015 – Alex Honnold – 23 hrs – Instagram post
  • #14-16 – 8/9/2015 – Alexis Crellin, Stacey Pearson, Matthew Irving – 26 hrs 25 min
  • #12 & 13 – 6/28/2015 (1) – Jennilyn Eaton, Matt VanHorn – 38 hrs 52 min
  • #11 – 6/20/2015 – Jared Campbell (w/ Ryan McDermott for a portion) – 19 hrs 49 min – pics
  • #10 – 9/13/2014 – Spencer Weiler – 27-ish hrs – report
  • #9 – 9/13/2014  – Court Pace – 26 hrs 5 min
  • #6-8 – 9/6/2014 (1) – Jason Dorais, Lars Kjerengtroen, Tom Goth – story and incredible photos
  • #4 & 5 – 9/2013 – Jason Dorais, Noah Howell – 26 hrs 25 min – storystory
  • #3 – 6/30/2012 – Jason Davis (w/ Chris Landers for a portion) – 22 hrs 45 min
  • #2 – 9/7/2009 – Nic Berry – 17 hr 48 min – story
  • #1 – 8/7/2004 – Jared Campbell – 21hrs 30 min – story
  • Early 90s – Dave Madera & others (anybody have more detail on this?) – unconfirmed

(1) Exited Jacob’s Ladder
(2) Exited via Cherry logging trail

FKTs

Women

  • 26 hrs 25 min – Alexis Crellin & Stacey Pearson – 8/9/2015

Men

  • 16 hrs 44 min – Jared Campbell – 9/7/2015

Noteworthy Attempts and Related Stories

Highlight Photos from Various Trips

Ridge section approaching Monte Cristo. Snowbird below.

Ridge section approaching Monte Cristo. Snowbird below.

Devil's Castle

Devil’s Castle

IMG_1455

Alexis Crellin & Stacey Pearson navigating the Wasatch Ridge.  Photo Matthew Irving

IMG_1763

Alexis Crellin & Stacey Pearson summit the Pfeifferhorn at sunrise.  Photo Matthew Irving

Question Mark Wall as seen from the summit of Lone Peak

IMG_1895

Alexis Crellin, Stacey Pearson, and Matthew Irving on the summit of Lone Peak.  Photo Matthew Irving

Descent gully into Bells.

Descent gully into Bells.

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Responses

  1. Hey Jared,

    Just getting back to you about my attempt on 7/8/17. Changed it to 7/9/17 due to some inclement weather. Came in at 22:55, sub 24 as I was shooting for. Carried a friends GPS along the way, here is the link. Will post some photos shortly too.https://share.garmin.com/JaimeManning

    • Wow, nice work Chris! I’ve updated the page, make sure I captured things correctly. Jared

  2. Hey Jared,

    Haven’t looked at your site in a while. It’s amazing the things you can do working a night shift. Looks like the WURL has seen lots of activity the last couple years. After 25+ years of crawling around the Wasatch peaks I did the WURL. I started just after 0400 on 08/25/17. It was a stunning day. Lots of blue sky and puffy white clouds. Lynn met me with food and water at Catherine’s pass. I misread some of the towers in early Devils Castle so got to Snowbird a bit later than expected. It was smooth sailing into the night. I met my good friend Elliott Barcikowski on top of White Pine Baldy. We had a hilarious night. Got part way down South Thunder and in the dark realized we had missed the true summit. So back up we went for the true summit. As usual, Bighorn was a bit of a curfuffle, especially in the dark. Topped out on Lone Peak just before sunrise. Had done some recon a couple weeks earlier and there was still snow in the Bells descent gulley so I opted for the Cherry logging trail exit. Apparently snow had melted out in the interim. No matter, had never been all the way down the Cherry trail so it was a nice exit. I finished in 29:17 and had 38+ miles and over 21000 vertical. I couldn’t have done it without the great support of Lynn and Elliott. One of your other recent posts wondered about age of oldest WURLers. I’m 54. By the way, Elliott got after it a week later and finished down Bells in the 23 hour range. I’m sure he will contribute something when he gets back from Africa.

    Here’s my Movescount link

    https://www.movescount.com/moves/move173583691

    • Great work Dave! I am thrilled to hear that you did the WURL. Check this page and make sure I captured things correctly. Also, have Elliot send me further details when he has time. Jared

  3. Hey Jared,

    Eric Edelman and myself (Tyler Call) completed the WURL with Matt Mueller on Sept 4 (started at 8:20am) and finished on Sept 5. Our running time was 32:50 minutes. Would love to be included on your completion list. Below is the link to my strava file. And for the record, I’m 48 years old in case anyone is keeping track of the oldest WURL completers 😉

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1170376990

  4. http://wbskiing.com This is a great website to map out the peaks. There are 32 named peaks noted along the WURL. What an adventure!! Finally finished the traverse in Sept 2017, what an experience. Thanks

  5. Hello Jared,

    Thanks a ton for the info on this page – it is invaluable.

    Carolyn Pino (of Denver, CO) and I completed the route from Ferguson-to-Bells in roughly 36 hours, starting around 7:30 am Obviously, we took our time, and were slowed by a lack of familiarity with the route (I reconned the approach up Ferguson a couple of weeks before, but not much else). A few images are at: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYqZ0bQD_FR/

    David Carter, SLC

    • Sorry – dates were Sept 2 & 3. We started around 7:30 am on the 2nd and exited Bells around 7 pm on the 3rd.

  6. Hey Jared, planning to set off for the WURL this coming weekend 9/9/17, Shooting for sub 24. I will report back after the date and let you know how it went.

  7. […] exploring the ridge to White Baldy was a go. I knew that this ridge is traversed as part of the WURL, but how technical it would prove I was unsure. Thankfully, though it at times looked pretty rough […]

  8. Jared, Ian Farris finished the WURL this morning with a time of 29:38. He got very sick on Thunder so for safety reasons he went down Cherry Logging trail to Orson Smith TH…He would never post he finished but he did. Due to bad luck he doesn’t have a gpx but I started with him and parted ways at Dromedary (I have gpx and photos) He had a Garmin live tracker that several people followed until it died around White Baldy. His brother met him at Pfeifferhorn and he has proof of being on Bighorn (that’s for him to tell). He lives within walking distance of Orson so he just went home. As proof of legitimacy I can share this gpx sample of the adventures Ian does plus many more.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/613608682

    Thanks

    • Excellent! Thanks for the note Nick and great work Ian.

  9. […] caches for solo or minimally support efforts, and similar to objectives such as Nolans 14 and the WURL, you can do it anytime you like.  While it is a challenging route, it is not technical.  Portions […]

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  12. weather looks good, anyone been up on these trails over the past few days, wanting to tick this off my list before the snow and ice set it. what’s the ice situation looking like right now?

  13. Hey Jared, cool site and cool ridge loop. Did the wurl Sept 18 into the 19, 27 hrs flat. Fun, long, tough day, awesome views, of course. My support friends/partners were awesome!

  14. Jared,

    I completed the WURL yesterday in 23h 18min. I was solo until the ridge before Pfeifferhorn, where Tyler Curley joined me for the remainder. Here is a link to my MovesCount record: http://www.movescount.com/moves/move121837034

    – Brennan Crellin

    P.S. my Strava record is here, but its severly messed up (3 hours?!?) for some reason: https://www.strava.com/activities/703177822

    • Excellent work Brennan! If you end up doing a write-up or post pictures let me know so I can post links. Cheers, Jared

  15. My friend and I are planning to hike the WURL this year (you inspired us :). We are making t-shirts to go along with the hike. I understand you coined the name “Wasatch ultimate ridge linkup” and wanted to make sure it was okay to include it in the shirt? Feel free to contact me for details. Thank you.

  16. […] going to attempt the WURL, and I hope to complete it in less than 32 hours. The WURL stands for “Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup,” and in my own words, is a ridiculously cool but very long objective just outside of Salt Lake City, […]

  17. Hi Jared,
    This is Lubos, Thank you for all the detailed information. Reading your page totally inspired me to make plans to run the WURL this year. Currently Celeste and I are plan on doing it on August 20, 2016.
    Cheers, Lubos

    • This is Lubos again. It is July 4 weekend and I am going to attempt WURL on Sunday, July 3 finishing hopefully in the morning of July 4. I will start at 4 AM and plan to complete in 24 hours. I will see how it goes. I stashed water and food at Kathrine’s pass, my only refill option. I am trying to do WURL completely on my own.

      • Beat of luck Lubos! Let us know how it goes/went.

        Jared

        On Saturday, July 2, 2016, Jared Campbell's Blog wrote:

        >

      • So this was a good first experience. I quit after 18 hours at Devil”s Castle, it was 8 PM and I was not ready to spend the cold night along the way.This is a hard route, I will attempt in August again, I estimate my total time for next time of 30 hours. I think I have now good data to plan the next trip. Congratulations to all of you who successfully completed the route.

      • Great work Lubos and thanks for the update. Keep us posted for your August attempt. Jared

        On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 10:45 AM, Jared Campbell's Blog wrote:

        >

      • Great attempt Lubos!

      • Gentlemen, I deeply admire your fitness capabilities.We did another attempt this weekend to complete WURL but we bailed after all. We started at Ferguson at 3,30 AM on Saturday morning and it took us 4 hours to summit on Twin Peaks. We continued climbing the ridge, followed exactly the GPS data and after 16 hours we only made it to Katherine’s pass. We had a few friends helping us with supplies, we had enough water and food, and we had pacers. A pretty awesome team. After 20 hours I was at Sugarloaf, it was 11 PM and that is where I decided to go home. I knew, my total time would be over 40 hours. Celeste kept going with her team to Pfeifferhorn. She eventually ran out of time on Sunday and decided to exit at Alpine, at the Schoolhouse Spring. I think I might try one more time in future and Celeste as well.
        Congratulation to everybody who was able to finish in the past. WURL is a real challenge for me.

  18. Also…besides for Twight and Anderson, has anyone tried this in winter/spring to your knowledge? Or at least summiting all the peaks involved, if not traversing the entire ridge? Sounds fun, tiring and involved.

  19. So I ended up bailing right after Sugarloaf…I tripped between Dromedary and Monte Cristo, managed to stay on the ridge but twisted/smashed my left ankle pretty good. Anyway, I continued onward, passed all the eaiser terrain in the middle, but l essentially limped up and down Devil’s Castle right at dawn. I didn’t think it would be safe to go over White Baldy or Lone Peak so I came down. I’m still second guessing myself, I felt good besides for the ankle but it’s swollen today and still hard to stand on so I think I made the right choice. Looking forward to finishing it next time!

  20. […] have wanting to give the WURL a solid effort for many years.  I personally feel that it is one of the most inspiring lines in […]

  21. Starting the WURL this afternoon Jared. Figured it might be my last chance this year, I’ll let you know Wednesday if I make it all the way!

    • Awesome Luke! I’m eager to hear how it goes/went.

      On Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 2:21 PM, Jared Campbell's Blog wrote:

      >

  22. […] had been wanting to give the WURL a solid effort for many years.  I personally feel that it is one of the most inspiring lines in […]

  23. Holy shit Jared!! Nice work on the new FKT. Just missed you on the Pfeiff, I was supporting some friends on their successful attempt and they said they saw you come blazing through.

  24. Jared. Well I did it. WURL, August 30th.

  25. Nice to see that you went back for a repeat, Jared. Solid effort adding many years, yet knocking off a bunch of time!

    Since you note that you consider a Jacob’s Ladder exit legitimate (many of us have wondered what constitutes legit), I’ll pass along that Jason Dorais was possibly the first person to do the route twice, accompanying Lars Kjerengtroen and Tom Goth on their successful go, a year after Jason’s first completion. http://jasondorais.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-wurl.html Some outstanding photos in that trip report as JD lugged a real camera around, because adding an extra 3 pounds is his style.

    Nice effort compiling the successes and near misses. I suspect there’s a bit more to be filled in…

    • Thanks Adam!

  26. Jared:
    Court and I did it together on the same day, sept 13. He did finish several hours ahead of me as I was very slow coming down bells. Here is my report.

    http://spencerweiler.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-burly-wurly.html

    • Hi Spencer, Thanks for passing along your report. Aside from the mug shot of yours truly, it’s a great write-up! 🙂 I see that you also recently did the La Sal Linkup, awesome!


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