FKT: Brendan Gibson - Uinta Crusher Loop (UT) - 2020-07-12

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
23h 11m 0s
GPS track(s)

The Uinta Crusher Loop starts at the Highline Trailhead, off Mirror Lake Highway and ascends to the ridge near Hayden Peak. I took the loop anticlockwise, traversing the ridge over Agassiz, Spread Eagle, and Lamotte before descending to the Ameythst Lake, Stillwater, and Kermsuh Lake trails across to the mountains on the west side. I climbed up the pass below A-1, ascended and descended A-1, then Kletting and Hayden before descending back to the trailhead. My route was 46km long with 3,800m of vertical. The highest point was Lamotte Peak at 3,877m.

I completed the loop solo.

I sourced water from home, a small creek near the Amethyst Lake trail, a stream on the Kermsuh Lake trail, and by digging in the snow on the Hayden Peak ridgeline after I ran out.

I took a bottle of Macadamia Nuts, Cliff Shots Blocks, salami sticks, Pro bars and Gu for energy.

I carried trekking poles (which broke after Spread Eagle), a raincoat, softshell, headlamp, cross-country skiing gloves, emergency bivvy, and a water purifier.

I reconnoitered the route from a hike up Bald Mountain with my daughter, Google Earth, a hike up Hayden and Agassiz, and a hike across the east-side ridge of Agassiz, Spread Eagle and Lamotte before sneaking out due to storm activity and darkness.

I started the the hike at about 1:45am. I got to Agassiz while it was still dark and was able to view the Neowise comet as I trekked. I reached Spread Eagle just after sunrise. I knew from my reconnaissance that the ridgeline to Lamotte was not passable with my skills, so I followed the standard route down into the scree and then popped back up a sketchy couloir to reach the ridgeline and eventually the summit. I took the direct route down from the peak to the Amethyst Lake trail. I expected to resupply water on the way down but the stream had almost dried up.

I resupplied water at the Amethyst Lake trail and then followed the trail down to the junction with the Stillwater Trail. I saw just a couple of hikers and equestrians but saw more as I ascended the Stillwater and Kermsuh Lake trails. The trails were in much better condition that the previous week when they had been very boggy.

I got more water as I left the Kermsuh Lake trail and started bushbashing towards the pass. The climb to the pass was steep and scratchy and then the hike to A-1 was looser and more technical than I expected. I got a good old snow run up to Kletting and then raced the sun across the technical ridge towards Hayden.

I expected the crux of the loop to be leaving the ridgeline to climb Hayden Peak. I lost the light as I was traversing the ridge and got too far down which meant I had to climb back up some exposed couloirs to reach the saddle. I was able to cross some remnant snow at the saddle to a hanging scree field below Hayden Peak and traversed around until I could climb up the Talus. I got to Hayden Peak and then traversed the ridge and climbed down to the trailhead in the dark.

This loop, particularly along the Lamotte and Hayden ridges is technically demanding and has a lot of exposure on bad rock. The loose talus on the ridges and most of the peaks is mentally challenging as you cannot trust anything to stay still. On the other hand, the trails along the creeks in the valley are beautiful despite plenty of friendly insects.








Hi Brendan, out of curiosity -- was there still snow in the gully that you descended between Spread Eagle and Lamotte? It looks pretty sketchy while dry.