North and South Tent

Tent peaks at their most tent-ish

Tent peaks at their most tent-ish

After the previous suffer-fest, I was both chastened enough to carry snowshoes and interested in something a bit more straightforward. North and South Tent mountains are the high-points of a high plateau in the Manti-La Sal Forest, east of the Sevier valley. From the proper angle, they vaguely resemble a sagging A-frame tent.

As usual of late, the peaks are practically drive-ups in the summer, with easy access from the 10,000′ Skyline Drive, but snow stopped me around 7800′. I snowshoed up the road, following a snowmobile track, until I reached a meadow with a partly-visible stream, then took off cross-country to reach Skyline. I had expected the peaks to be obvious from the plateau, but they were not, so I headed generally south over rolling terrain, headed for what I thought was the highest point.

I ended up on the ridge northwest of North Tent, which was soft snow on one side and near-vertical dirt on the other. I meandered near the long ridge to South Tent, looking for areas where the crust was strong enough to support me. Even with snowshoes, it was impossible to completely avoid punching through sometimes. I quickly learned to avoid crossing any even vaguely wet dirt, since the area features some of the slimiest, stickiest mud anywhere.

After enjoying the season’s first summit fish, I took a more direct line back, crossing a couple of low ridges before dropping into the meadow with the road. Once again, I had the place to myself.

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