The plan was to start at 6:30 am. Naturally, I didn’t let that happen. Let’s try 7:30. No? Okay, 7:45 is good too. Alpine start…
Just like the run two days prior, there was the bull, standing awkwardly in the bushes, exactly where I saw him last. With a row of trees between us, I clapped and he hobbled up the hill, just as before. Being a mile from a crowded trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon, these homies are probably used to interacting with humans.
Onward. I contoured around the hills with views to the west, the light catching on the steep canyon walls and escaping the mouth of the canyon. The canyon road was already a small meandering river of asphalt feeding into Salt Lake City – the delta.
The trail eventually worked southward as I entered the Red Pine drainage. The roar of the traffic below was seamlessly replaced by the roar of water.
“The canyon road was already a small meandering river of asphalt feeding into Salt Lake City – the delta.”
As I came around the bend to see lower Red Pine Lake, the sun was just beginning to crest over the walls of the drainage, and the world was showered in scattered rays of gold.
I eat some sugar and continue with my forward momentum, feeling surprisingly fresh considering how hard I pushed my under-prepared body at the Discrete Peak Series the day before. Despite feeling confident in my abilities, I kept steady. The day was still young.
According to the good ol’ SummitPost, “a small ridge should be visible projecting out from the southwest end of the canyon headwall,” which would connect to the ridge leading to the summit. I scrambled up what I later interpreted to be an old lateral moraine to the skyline. This was about the time that I realized I had forgotten to study a photo of the mountain. In fact, I really had no idea what the Pfeifferhorn looked like.
From this lapse I essentially burned 100 minutes nearly summitting the unnamed peak directly south of the lakes. From this vantage point I could see what the internet confirmed to be the horn. I backtracked down the bouldery, slightly exposed ridge line until I eventually found myself on an actual path to the actual peak.