Winter WURL

Follow the Ridge: A Winter WURL in the Wasatch

It was midnight. I was awake, my shorts and running pack ripped. Goosebumps covered my bare skin as I sat awkwardly, bent over and intertwined with a pine tree. My legs, scratched and bleeding, were braced against a rock—below them only darkness. With my chin tucked against my chest, and pine branches tickling my arms and thighs, I hunched in the darkness, alone on the side of a cliff. Around sunset, I had climbed myself into a place I couldn’t get out of. Now I was stuck.

For seven hours, I sang “Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah”—my favorite childhood song—on repeat. I cried, I laughed, and I chatted with the tree. As it got colder, I led a stuck-on-a-cliff aerobics class, making sure to always keep at least one foot bracing and one hand holding. For dinner, I ate a handful of nuts and M&M’s and when I heard nearby rockfall, I squeezed the tree and cliff wall tighter, thankful for the overhang above me. I was ready to spend the night on the edge, but thanks to the search and rescue team, I climbed off that cliff enveloped in darkness, and attached to a rope.

I had made a mistake. I was tired after multiple hours of navigating through the summer heat, and on the crux of the day, the section of ridge heading up toward the summit of Monte Cristo, I had gotten off course. I had failed to follow the one simple rule of the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup (WURL), the iconic trail loop through Utah’s Wasatch Mountains: Follow the ridge…

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