Ascent of Bonneville Peak on 2009-02-03

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Ski Lift
Peak:Bonneville Peak
    Elevation:9271 ft / 2825 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove to the parking lot of the Pebble Creek Ski area, a paved road kept well plowed in winter. My Chevy Malibu rental car was able to negotiate it easily. I put on my skis and bought a single-trip lift ticket for $15.00, a nice discount from the full-day price. I then rode the main summit chairlift, apparently unnamed, to the top. The topo map has this spot clearly too low at 8280’, and the ski area trail map (which are notorious for elevation inflation) calls it 8560', but my GPS places it at 8520'. This means that taking the lift saves you 1880' of elevation gain.

After exiting the chair I put climbing skins on my skis, unlocked the heels of my AT bindings, and started switchbacking up the steep, forested, ridge. There were lots of paths made by skiers and showshoers, and I followed the ones that attacked the slope at the right angle so that I didn’t slide backwards. There was lots of deep snow.

Eventually the paths neared some cliffs that guarded the ridge and slabbed right across some open areas. Not long after that I was atop the very broad, open ridge, and it was trivial to ski up to the summit area. I did not see the small building mentioned by others, but it could have been buried by deep snow. North of the highest snowdrifts was a windswept area where a small cairn likely marked the highest rock point on the mountain.

For the descent, I removed the climbing skins from my skis, locked down the heels, and generally followed my ascent route down to the ski area. I did steer for more open areas, since it was easier to turn in the heavy, consolidated snow when I didn’t have to worry about narrowly-spaced trees. I passed a snowshoer heading uphill and shortly popped out onto a ski area trail. Then I bombed down intermediate runs to the parking lot. Ben Knorr’s trip report on estimated that a ski descent of the peak would take 5-7 minutes, but it took me 14 minutes, most of that from the summit to the ski area.

Since I saw a snowshoer and lots of snowshoe tracks, I assume that the resort will allow you to ride the chairlift with snowshoes, likely slowing it down up top so you can exit without getting whacked. However, you would face a long downhill hike once summitting.

A final note—be very aware of avalanches. Most of this route is in thick forest or on a broad ridge, both low risk areas. But take care in the open areas under the cliffs, and consider taking along a partner, transceivers, ands shovels if the avalanche danger is high.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:751 ft / 228 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2631 ft / 801 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:751 ft / 228 m
    Distance:0.9 mi / 1.5 km
    Route:North Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Top of Pebble Creek Chairlift  8520 ft / 2596 m
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2631 ft / 801 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:North Ridge
    End Trailhead:Pebble Creek Ski Area Parking  6640 ft / 2023 m
    Time:14 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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