Pioneer Peak

Elevation: 10,440
Location: Wasatch Range, Utah

Pioneer Peak sits directly northeast of the higher and more popular Sunset Peak above Brighton ski area. However it is not a popular peak as most people do nearby Sunset or Wolverine instead. In late summer of 1997 I went with John and climbed Sunset and Pioneer Peak together.

Pioneer Peak and Lake Catherine from Catherine Pass The most common way to climb Pioneer is to first hike the popular trail from Brighton to Catherine Pass, then ascend the trail all the way to Sunset Peak (elev. 10,648). From here it is a steep drop of 400 feet to the Sunset/Pioneer saddle at 10,250 feet. The ascent of 200 feet to Pioneer's summit is easier than the drop from Sunset Peak where loose gravel makes it a little tricky in spots.

The views from Pioneer are good, but not as good as the views from Sunset Peak. Still it is a worthwhile climb for any avid Wasatch peak bagger. The trip down involves following the gentle and forested ridge north from Pioneer Peak to a 10,321 foot peak where you can drop down a number of hillsides to where you'll meet trails near the Dog Lake area. From here it is an easy walk back to Brighton.

The roundtrip for a climb of Sunset and Pioneer peaks is five miles and climbs 2,300 feet. It takes about four hours to finish the loop hike. Much longer opportunities exist in the Brighton area, and you could take a full day and climb at least a half-dozen named peaks. None of the peaks are as rugged as the higher peaks lower in Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons.