Posted by: runuphill | September 12, 2015

WURL – Sep 7th 2015

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.

Sunrise on the Wasatch Ridge

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.


Resupply with Aida and Bethany at Cardiff Pass


Phoebe waiting on top of the tram

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.

Taking a brief break at Ryan's micro aid station. Pfeifferhorn in the background.

Taking a brief break at Ryan’s micro aid station. Pfeifferhorn in the background.

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.


Upper Big Willow Cirque, just prior to the descent into Upper Bells Canyon

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.



Essential Gear:

  • La Sportiva Mutant – So good they’re almost cheating
  • UD SJ vest.  Works simply; simply works

Times below for reference:

Milestone Time-of-day Elapsed
Start – Ferguson 3:01 AM
Broad Fork Twin 5:40 AM 2:39
Sunrise 6:09 AM 3:08
Dromedary 6:28 AM 3:27
Monte Cristo 7:27 AM 4:26
Superior 7:51 AM 4:50
Cardiff Pass 8:18 AM 5:17
Flagstaff 8:41 AM 5:40
Davenport Hill 9:07 AM 6:06
Honeycomb Cliff – North 9:22 AM 6:21
Honeycomb Cliff – South 9:31 AM 6:30
Wolverine 10:07 AM 7:06
Catherine’s Pass 10:18 AM 7:17
Ski Lift 10:32 AM 7:31
Devils Castle 11:15 AM 8:14
Sugarloaf 11:31 AM 8:30
Baldy 11:53 AM 8:52
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
Upwop 3:20 PM 12:19
South Thunder 4:20 PM 13:19
Big Horn Peak 5:04 PM 14:03
Lone Peak North Summit 5:42 PM 14:41
Gulley 6:01 PM 15:00
Bells Canyon Trail 6:32 PM 15:31
Finish – Bells Trailhead 7:45 PM 16:44


  1. Hey Jared,
    I’d like to hike lone peak via bells canyon but am having trouble finding info about the ascent to the peak from upper bells canyon reservoir. In this article you mention the ‘notch descent’ during that section? I’m wondering how technical that part of the trail is – especially going up rather than down. Any info you can provide would be super helpful! Thanks,

  2. Jared,

    I was wondering if there was a way I could contact you regarding your net positive house? I also had a question regarding headlamps. I have an older (1977) house in Sandy, so I don’t think I can do anything as radical as you did with your house but I would like to get your thoughts on where I could best get started? I think I for sure need to work on improving my thermal envelope, although I don’t know how to get started on that. On the headlamp front, it seems like you use a Petzl Nao, but I was wondering if the reactive lighting or shorter battery life has caused you issues? You can reply here or email me directly michael . lund at utah . edu.

  3. Jared, is there a Big Cottonwood Canyon derivative of this?

    • Hi Michael,

      There easily could be. To my knowledge nobody has done it yet. There could/should also be a Millcreek version of WURL. Let me know if you tackle either of them.


      On Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 12:54 PM, Jared Campbell's Blog wrote:


      • Jared,

        Thank you for that link. Did you save a caltopo of your Millcreek one? I am just getting started with all this, so it might be a while before I have tackling success, but I’m going to try to chip away at them. Do you think the WURL would be hardest?


  4. Reading Jared Campbell’s post again about his 9/7/2015 WURL traverse in 16 hours and 44 minutes. He sounds pretty nonchalant about it. On Jan. 9, 2016 I was able to meet Jared on the trail for the first time. I finished my summit of Mt. Olympus and was back to the car at about 2 p.m. Jared was just getting in his truck after having done his 3rd round trip to the summit for the day. He looked fresh, like he had another 2 or 3 in him if he wanted. Jared, you are amazing! I got to meet his trail buddy for the day, Buzz Burrell who designed the trail running pack by Ultimate Direction that I was wearing. At least I was on the trail enough to see some people who are amazing!

    • Claron, I remember running into you and having several chats. It was great meeting you, let me know if you need any beta on the WURL. Jared

      On Thursday, March 24, 2016, Jared Campbell's Blog wrote:


      • You have a map of the WURL and suggest that “the route can be easily exported to a .gpx file.” I need get a new smartphone and then figure out how to follow the .gpx. Do you have an app that you suggest?

  5. wow that’s awesome! I’m wondering if you could shoot me an email about Barkley if you get the chance – I’d love to ask some questions about it.

  6. Amazing traverse! Thanks for posting the details. Thanks for the encouragement to get familiar with the WURL parts before doing the whole.

  7. Great Job! Congrats Jared! Love that you make this into a family affair too.

  8. Sick! Congrats!

  9. Wow, that’s a truly amazing time! Awesome job!

    Also, it was great to meet last Saturday.

  10. […] 9/7/2015 – Jared Campbell – 16 hrs 44 min – report […]

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