wurl complete

September 22, 2013

 

 

A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.
-Denis Waitley-

 

W= It’s in the heart of the WASATCH Range.

U= ULTIMATELY 20,000 feet of ascent and descent over 38 miles.

R= Stay on the fucking RIDGE!

L= It’s going to be a long day LINKING together over 16 prominent peaks!

WURL Map

My co-wurler Jason Dorais has covered the outing quite thoroughly on his blog. And even a vid!

 

Before my blog started up I was following Jared Campbell and his adventures. I read about the WURL and it hurt my mind and my legs just thinking about it. I really wasn’t sure if it’s something I could ever complete, but what a time I’ve had daydreaming about it’s painful mysteries. That’s one of the main aspects I like about mountain projects is the unknown. Over the past 10 years I’ve done all the sections, except getting out Bells Canyon. And one day I even did about half the wurl

This summer of fitness seemed like the perfect time to give it a go. I had many false starts and this round kept getting pushed back by weather. I assumed I would be going it alone since I didn’t want to set a firm date and folks are busy. Jason jumped on board for the full  meal deal when I shot out an email asking for help at the re-supply points. At first I was excited, then worried about trying to keep up with the fastest man in the Wasatch. Luckily he had a recently sprained ankle. Our plan wasn’t to set a speed record, but just to finish.

FergusonJDWCityLights

Ferguson went by quick and easy even in the dark.

 

FergusonJDSpire

Traveling in the dark keeps you really focused on what’s at hand and ground is covered without a sense of how far or long you’re moving.

 

FergusonScrambleJD

Plenty of places along the way that you’d be ok if you fell, as long as you didn’t mind not ever getting back up.

 

TwinPeaksInDark

Jason takes a quick break on top of Twin Peaks.

 

DromJDCity

Dr. Dorais with his perfectly wrapped ankle. He watched hours of youtube vids on how to properly perform the procedure and it worked!

 

TannersColJD

Short and sweet climb onto Dromedary from the saddle of Tanners Gulch.

 

DromJDSkywalking

Temps were cool and it was a perfect dayfor a “hike” in the clouds

 

AFRidgeFromLCC

The Pfeifferhorn looks impossibly far on LCC ridge. It’s better to keep your head down anyway and try not to trip, fall, or roll an ankle.

 

LCCRidgeJDScramble

As we worked through the terrain we tried to define this beast. Partly hiking with some trail, but mostly a cross country scramble with a little climbing. It’s the WURL.

 

LCCRidgeJD

Moving steadily and enjoying conversations as varied as the terrain.

 

My kind and dear brother Jonah met us with a feast at Cardiff Pass. We topped off water, packed in some ProBars and gels and continued on.

WolverineBurgerSelfie

I don’t often eat McDonald’s, but when I do it’s very welcomed salt and calories! Thanks to Andy Dorais for the surprise drive through on top of Mt Wolverine.

 

DevilsCastleRidgeAD

Off to the Devil’s Castle.

 

DevilsCastleJD2

This is one of the more exposed and “technical” sections of the route.

 

DevilsCastleDoraisBros

Felt great to have looped around the upper canyon and be heading West. Halfway!

 

Baldy

Andy tapped out and Forrest Shearer tagged in between Sugarloaf and Baldy.

 

HiddenPeakAid

We took a nice long break at Hidden Peak. Jason had ridden the tram the day before and left a cooler under the bench in the warming hut. I put on fresh shoes and socks and felt like a new man. Until we started hiking anyway.

Gear

The iphone was used as camera and gps, which eats up a ton of batteries. I used the Goal Zero Guide 10 to  revive it.

 

Ridge

Despite the chance to eat and re-fuel I fell behind on calories and bonked up Twin Peaks. I forced myself to eat and recovered once we topped out.

 

TwinPeaksTwoPoleSalute

Not sure what the hell we are so excited about?! Still a long way to go. I guess we were just showing off our trekking poles. They did come in handy (pun) on many of the ups and out Bells. Thanks Black Diamond for the bomber sticks that took a licking and kept on clicking.

 

PfeiffScenic

Did I mention we still had a long way to go! We checked the weather and it looked good until 3am. We still had hopes and were on pace to finish in 24hrs and be home in bed before the forecasted downpour.

 

JDCelebratingWURL

I asked Jason what it feels  like to be one of the fastest humans. This was his response.

 

TwinPeaks

Next up was White Baldy and here we met up with my new room mate and instant friend Alex Lemieux. He had doubled back from the Pfeiff to meet us and get some scramble on. White Baldy was really fun blocky travel and we picked up the pace a little bit.

 

WhitTopJD

LCCRidge

Were we there 12 hours ago? If I didn’t have crummy iphone pics to prove it I might not believe it was so.

 

WhiteTop

The ups and downs balance out nicely and the 20,000 feet of climbing is well spread out making it only feel like 19,500 or so.

 

We snacked as hard as we could before the Pfeiff, but appetites were waning. Just as darkness fell we topped out on the “Little Matterhorn”. Then things got really hard, much slower and we dragged on into the night.

ThunderRidgeAscent

I believe in a long, prolonged, derangement of the senses in order to obtain the unknown. -Jim Morrison-

Route finding in the dark with diminished mental capacity and still a lot of exposed terrain ahead.

 

ThunderRidgeAscent2

Jason really shines at night in the mountains!  I didn’t know that South Thunder was on the route and would have skipped it. We stayed true to  the ridge with the enormous abyss of Hogum Fork on our right. Right around here it transitioned to that other kind of fun, the kind that isn’t that fun.

Big Horn was problematic and slow, but we pushed on feeling fine up to Lone Peak. Final summit was anti-climactic. Too dark to see much and too tired to care. Just kept thinking about the hell that can be Bells Canyon. Jason led us to “the notch” and we simul-climbed down that shit pile of loose shit. Candidate for worst place to be on foot in the Wasatch.

Bells was pretty straight forward. We kept pushing right as we bolder hopped and bush-whacked. It was a tremendous relief to hit the trail and be able to motor over smooth terrain.

Then it rained hard! We just laughed and didn’t care. We hit the car at 26+ hours soaked to the core.

Looking back, if we had moved just a bit faster overall it would have saved us a ton of time! The tortoise approach is just too slow for such a lengthy outing. Although we do own the SKT! Maximum respect to Jared Campbell and Nik Berry for opening this up to the wurld and in such fine and fast form.

The funny part about completing things like this is that you loose the mystery of it. Luckily there are many more projects floating around and filling in that daydream space. Enough fucking around, let’s get some snow on those peaks and have some real fun.

Screen Shot 2012-05-19 at 5.59.11 PM

 

 

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8 Responses to “wurl complete”

  1. Nick S. says on :

    Nice work! Was up the Pfeifferhorn today trying to wrap my head around the WURL…Awesome

  2. Drew Tabke says on :

    Booooooyah you freak!

  3. mattyj says on :

    NH, when you say WURL I see several places where one can substantially save time by not staying directly at the ridge line, I know you indicated WWJD, but I am curious as to the actual run/stumble (congrats, a great feat):
    1) Superior and down…..stay on the ridge and summit eye brow and flag )and stuff in between)?
    2) East fork of silver straight across to twin lakes pass
    3) EBT all the way around starting at devils and ending at hidden peak
    4)shit….anything between red stack and the Pfief..
    5) So you hit lone Peak (the “notch” sounded like it might imply it)? South thunder bowl? Both? and then down bells? this has substantial “deviation” potential
    (i am sure your spot would give me al the details but this is easier:)
    Inspired as an old man in the wasatch……just curious about details as I prepare for a run next year at this beast. done all the sections but Pfief out bells).
    Congrats again and I can’t wait to see the JD or AD sub 20 hour push…..or you for that matter.

  4. noahhowell says on :

    Hey Matt,

    Yeah, it’s tempting to stray, but the WURL sticks to the ridge.

    1-Stay on the ridge and tag it all. The climb from Cardiff to Flag is fun.

    2-Stay on the ridge ;) .

    3-Not sure what the EBT is? Devils to Hidden Peak is really straight forward. Good trails on the ridge.

    4-Red stack to Pfief is really good scrambling.

    5-We hit South Thunder, then over to Big Horn then to Lone Peak. Then we scrambled down the ridge to the north and hit the “notch”, which is a gully that drops you into Bells. And I do mean DROP, it’s really loose and steep, but not very long.

    She’s a beast and a beauty. Let me know if you need any more beta, or somebody to help with a re-supply.

    Cheers,

  5. @brodyleven says on :

    i bet you didn’t mean for this to be some of the most inspiring ish i’ve read lately.
    congratulations!

  6. noahhowell says on :

    Thanks Brody! That’s a fun bi-product of getting to do what we love.

  7. Inspiration This Week #5 says on :

    [...] WURL-Complete–Noah Howell [...]

  8. Jennilyn says on :

    congrats! such a huge undertaking and accomplishment. I’m inspired to check it out… but first in bite-sized portions. :)

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