Willow Canyon Peak
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,837 feet
Summit Elevation: 9,237 feet
Access rating: Level 1
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Standing on the summit of Willow Canyon Peak
Downclimbing first obstacle
Climbing first obstacle
Scrambling up final ridge
Steep snow slopes in the forest after the first obstacle
Roped up on obstacle three
The summit from 6,800 feet on ridgeline
At 6,600 feet getting onto the ridgeline
At 8,8OO feet, looking at the summit of Willow Canyon Peak
Willow Canyon Peak from Box Elder Peak
Willow Canyon Peak is a hidden gem right in the face of Utah County. The route described here was one of the more difficult routes Iíve done in the Wasatch. I believe there are easier routes up from American Fork Canyon but they look to be longer approaches. The summit has a hunting chair on top so how hard could it be?
Walk up the Forest Service Trail between houses. Soon you hit a dirt road. Left is somebodyís driveway, to the right is where you want to go. Follow this road until you hit a dam that restricts flooding. Follow a trail above the pond as it works its way up Willow Canyon. The trail eventually disappears at a small waterfall and washout. Climb up at this point on the left, at first in trees, and then scrub brush until you reach the ridge at 6,600 feet. Follow the ridge up, doing your best to avoid brushy areas. Inevitably you will do a little bushwhacking. Around 7,600 feet, the trees start and scrub oak is gone. Follow the ridge up to the false summit at 9,105 or traverse just below it. Walk across the saddle and up steeply through forest to a vertical rock wall. We dropped down to the right, around the rock wall to an easy scramble up a steep ramp (see first obstacle picture). Above this point were on super steep slopes through the trees. Crampons would have been nice. The second obstacle we harnessed up for, a 30 foot rocky face with a bit of exposure. Above this, we were able to traverse over toward the west ridge of the summit. One final belay up another rocky chimney for 70 feet and we were on the west ridge (see obstacle 3 picture). We climbed up the final 100 easy feet to the summit. With the poor conditions, I was not able to look down the ridge toward American Fork Canyon but map contours show it being easier.
Drive north into Alpine from SR-92 on 5300 West. In Alpine, take 100 S going east. Cross S 800 E where the road becomes E Village Way. Follow this to the end, take a right on N County Manor Lane, then a quick left on E Preston Drive. This becomes North Preston Drive and dead-ends. Look for a small Forest Service sign and trail. Road names seem to change often here, print a mapquest map before heading out.