Pfeifferhorn

Pfeifferhorn
11,326′
9 miles round trip
3700′ gain
2:40 up, 2:10 down
6:10 car to car
 

I had a failed attempt on  Pfeifferhorn in May so I was excited to revisit it. Pfeifferhorn looms large over the Alpine ridge, and it has been visible from every one of the Wasatch 11er’s I’ve climbed so far. It’s the highest point on the lower half of the ridge, rising about 400′ from the either saddle.

Pfeifferhorn from Mt. Superior

I headed out from the parking lot on my own but there were lots of people all along the trail. I pushed hard on the hike to Red Pine Lake, reaching the lake in just over an hour after starting out at 6:30. I really wanted to beat the heat. The morning light was beautiful reflected in Lower Red Pine Lake.

Lower Red Pine Lake
Lower Red Pine from Alpine Ridge

The route finding to reach the ridge was pretty straight forward and I made good time. No snow was a problem on this hike – there were a couple of patches but nothing notable. Soon enough I had gained the ridge and an alpine meadow was beginning to bloom. The southern Wasatch peaks were very prominently visible.

Southern Wasatch from alpine ridge. Box Elder Peak in the foreground
First peek of Pfeifferhorn’s summit

After a few minutes traversing the grassy bench, I reached a “knife edge” ridge that required some scrambling but nothing too difficult.

Ridge to Pfeifferhorn
Looking back at the scramble
Maybird Gulch
Ascending the summit cone

Once past the scramble, it was 15 minutes and another 400 feet to go to the summit which was uneventful and snow-free.

The East Ridge route

The summit area is very cool! It’s exposed to the north and west but rounded to the south and east with some rocks to stand on for photo ops. I signed the summit register and took in the views. Pfeifferhorn is one of the best summit views in the Wasatch due to its central location and prominence above its neighbors.

Summit pano looking SW to SE (expand)
Northwest pano (click to expand)
Western summit pano (click to enlarge)
Lone Peak
Triple Traverse Peaks
Summit shot
Mt. Superior
Maybird-Red Pine Divide

After enjoying the summit for around 40 minutes, I headed back down with some other hikers. The scramble was a breeze and I was back at upper Red Pine Lake in no time. It looked like a great place to lounge – I was in no hurry to return to 105 degree temps in the valley – so I found some shade and took a nap.

Upper Red Pine Lake
Paradise

After chilling for a while I headed all the way down to the car. From the top of Pfeifferhorn, at a very leisurely pace, it took me 2:10 to get down, not including a couple very long breaks.

Lower Red Pine Lake
Little Cottonwood Canyon
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