I 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 the Wasatch Mountains. It is clean and non-contrived. Clean in the sense that once the ridge is acquired you simply stay on the ridge for the next ~25 miles never needing to leave the crest by more than 30 feet or so. It is humbling, beautiful, and precisely where I wanted to be on this incredible September day.
My 2015 adventure agenda has turned out to be quite different than originally planned. With several big objectives foiled by 1) an odd recurring respiratory issue and 2) the intense dump of snow in the high-country in June, I’ve had to shift gears a bit from my typical uber planned-out mode into a more ad-lib style. Thankfully the stars aligned to give the WURL a go. This time around I would have folks meet me with food and water rather than making caches. Ben/Bethany/Aida met me at Cardiff Pass, Mindy/Phoebe at the top of the Tram, and Ryan McDermott just below the Pfeifferhorn.
I started at 3:01AM. The quiet march up Ferguson Canyon is a nice time to calibrate for what lies ahead. Given the time of year, the few locals who do head up this canyon had done some much appreciated pruning, resulting in a trail was much easier to follow and not over-grown. Thanks! The quartzite ridge up to Broads Fork Twin Peaks is arguably my favorite part of the entire traverse. I moved through Sunrise and Dromedary efficiently and was then greeted with the most beautiful sunrise as I boulder-hopped my way along the Wasatch Ridge en-route to Monte Cristo.
All went well over to Ben/Bethany/Aida, the world’s most inspiring, kind, and humble family. I resupplied and took off on the relatively easy Albion Basin section. Devils Castle went great and I read it well. I shuffled along to the tram, excited to see Mindy and Phoebe. I must say, the boost of excitement from seeing your 20month old daughter is second to none, that little girls just lights up my life. The only downside is that it makes it hard to leave her.
I eventually pried myself away from Phoebe and bounded up AF Twins feeling great. A couple grunts and I was over Red Stack, Red Baldy, and White Baldy, eventually seeing Ryan in the distance, waiting like the loyal friend he is with a micro aid station. I re-fueled and forged ahead to tackle the final section. It was here that I crossed paths with two other guys who were out for a 2-day WURL.
I started to slow a bit after South Thunder and over the two “speed bumps” before Bighorn Peak. The fatigue brought a smile though as I’ve become conditioned to associated it with deeper more meaningful memories. Bighorn Peak went about as well as it could have. It’s surprisingly tricky and I was glad to have rehearsed its several weeks prior. A short march and I was on the summit of Lone Peak. I gazed back at the entire route and made sure I appreciated the incredible opportunity I had been given. There was a strange but pleasant silence on the summit, not a single other person around. I called Mindy to inform her I was headed down; we were both happy that I’d finish at a reasonable hour.
The notch descent went just fine and I read the route across upper Bells and over to the trail almost perfectly. Again, I was happy I had been on this just a few weeks prior. For those aspiring to do the WURL, I highly recommend fore-running this section. I arrived at the parking lot at 7:45PM, a few minutes after the sunset, for a total time of 16 hrs and 44 minutes.
- La Sportiva Mutant – So good they’re almost cheating
- UD SJ vest. Works simply; simply works
Times below for reference:
|Start – Ferguson||3:01 AM||–|
|Broad Fork Twin||5:40 AM||2:39|
|Monte Cristo||7:27 AM||4:26|
|Cardiff Pass||8:18 AM||5:17|
|Davenport Hill||9:07 AM||6:06|
|Honeycomb Cliff – North||9:22 AM||6:21|
|Honeycomb Cliff – South||9:31 AM||6:30|
|Catherine’s Pass||10:18 AM||7:17|
|Ski Lift||10:32 AM||7:31|
|Devils Castle||11:15 AM||8:14|
|Hidden (Tram)||12:07 PM||9:06|
|AF Twin (East)||12:42 PM||9:41|
|AF Twin (West)||12:48 PM||9:47|
|Red Stack||12:57 PM||9:56|
|Red Baldy||1:32 PM||10:31|
|White Baldy||2:13 PM||11:12|
|Pfeifferhorn – Trail intersection||2:44 PM||11:43|
|Pfeifferhorn – Summit||3:08 PM||12:07|
|South Thunder||4:20 PM||13:19|
|Big Horn Peak||5:04 PM||14:03|
|Lone Peak North Summit||5:42 PM||14:41|
|Bells Canyon Trail||6:32 PM||15:31|
|Finish – Bells Trailhead||7:45 PM||16:44|