The Double Traverse: Sunrise & Dromedary Peaks
· Sunrise (AKA-O’Sullivan) Summit: 11,275
· Dromedary Summit: 11,107
· Elevation Gain: 5,500
· Distance: 10.2
· Total Time: 8:30
· Date: September 17, 2022
· Crew: Sean, Conner & me
I have been enamored with the Triple Traverse route for years as you get the opportunity to bag multiple peaks in a day and the technical nature of the route is enticing. The Triple Traverse loop starts and finishes in the S Turn parking lot which is 4 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon. You can do the Triple Traverse clockwise which is up Mill B South Fork to Dromedary then to Sunrise then to Twin Peaks. Or you can go counterclockwise up Broads Fork to Twins, Sunrise, Dromedary then down Mill B. We elected to go counterclockwise up Broads Fork but since my hiking buddies and I had already summited Twins Peak in the past, we elected to just do the “double traverse”. In hindsight, that was a great call because the double took us 8.5 hours due to the technicality of the hike. If we added on the Twins Peak summit, I estimate that it would take another 2 hours.
If you research Sunrise and Dromedary, there is not much info on these peaks as they are most certainly the lesser traveled 11,000 peaks in the Wasatch. From the S turn parking lot, take the Broads Fork trail. I am not going to go into detail on the lower section of Broads as I describe it in my Twins Peak post. Once you get through the Broads Fork meadow, it turns from grass to scree and at this point you have two route options to summit Sunrise: 1) head east towards the chute that leads you to the saddle between Sunrise and Dromedary (see pic below)
or 2) go to the ridge between Twin Peaks and Sunrise. We opted to go to the Twin Peaks/Sunrise saddle as we didn’t want to backtrack down from Sunrise to Dromedary. This saddle sits at 10,837 and it took us 3 hours to traverse the 4.2 miles and 4,600 elevation gain. Once you get to the Twin Peaks/Sunrise saddle, rehydrate and eat because it is about to get real. Even though there is only about 450 feet to the summit of Sunrise - it is very arduous. As we left the saddle, one of my buddies said, “this looks rather daunting” and that is an understatement. This is very important, as you leave the saddle heading east, you naturally want to climb up but hike out 10-20 yards and then drop down about 30-50 feet on the south side (Little Cottonwood side) as illustrated in the picture below.
This will wrap you around a bend and if you look up, you will see a peak but it isn’t Sunrise. There is another peak or false summit called Jepson Folly so don’t aim towards that peak as Sunrise is farther east. There is no defined route at this point so use your best navigational skills to find the path of least resistance as you aim east (your right) and up. This section is very cliffy and definitely a no fall zone. There are a few spots that are class 4 but it is doable as there are a lot of sturdy holds. Once we reached the Sunrise ridge, we were treated to a fog show as a wall of fog was billowing up from BCC and the winds from LCC were pushing it back.
When we summited Sunrise, I was relieved that we weren’t hiking back the way we came as I am not sure down hiking Sunrise towards Twins Peak would be possible. Our mission was to continue to Dromedary but the descent down the eastern ridge of Sunrise looked precarious as well. There was a well-defined trail down the east side of Sunrise and although it was steep- it was manageable.
The saddle between Sunrise & Dromedary is the top of Tanner’s Gulch which is a famous ski run/avalanche path.
Much like Sunrise, you will approach Dromedary from the south (LCC) and although it is not as technical as the Sunrise summit- it is still precipitous and exposed. We found a chute up the center and methodically made our way up the 300 foot face.
Both of these peaks offer amazing, panoramic views of BCC & LCC. Directly to the north, you are looking at Mt. Raymond and Gobblers in BCC and to the south you see White Baldy, Pfeifferhorn, Lone Peak and you can even see Mt. Timpanogos in the distance.
Now that you have two 11,000+ peaks and 5,500 under your belt, you think you are going to coast home but don’t be fooled. The descent down Dromedary is long and has a few spicy sections. I found myself in a bit of pickle on one of them and I threw my pack over the ledge so it wouldn’t get caught on a rock while on my back and it bounced down about 50 yards. There are no trails up/down Dromedary so aim towards the three lakes (Lillian, Florence & Blanche) and stay to the left on the descent.
Once you get to Lake Blanche, you feel like you are emerging back to civilization as you will encounter numerous people hiking up to the gorgeous lake.