WURL - The Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup

WURL - The Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup

Derek Tillotson
3 minute read

The WURL calls to some of us. It called to me.

When I first learned about the WURL, the Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup trail, it resonated with me immediately. I grew up with the Wasatch mountains in my backyard. I spent my childhood and high school years exploring the peaks and valleys with tents, skis, and climbing ropes. Now, I live here with my family and I see the same love emerging in my children.

Rather than fixating myself on a mountain on the other side of the world, the WULR set my sights on the mountains right in my backyard. If I could complete all 35 miles, 18,000 ft of vertical, and 21 peaks… Forever, I’d be able to look up and see my mountains and remember my day and a half on the WURL.

Wasatch Ultimate Ridge Linkup Map WURL Map Large

Click Here for the WURL Route

I’ve always been active, but the WURL is not something you can just show up for. This spring and summer included many training runs and hikes, including hiking the middle and back sections of the WURL. I had done the first section the year before. My cousin Blake and I also stored a few water caches along the route which made the whole thing possible.

I didn’t have a time goal in mind, I just wanted to enjoy the mountains as much as I could. As my friends peeled off and hiked back to civilization, eventually I was left to complete more than half of the hike alone. The WURL is far from a “trail” it’s a red line on a GPS that takes you up where the Mt. Goats live… up and down, up and down. Most of the 35 miles are over unmarked rock, boulder fields, and ridgelines. I learned that a big part of doing the WURL right is knowing how to navigate each section. This was not me. I burned a lot of time and energy puzzling the route out and would often look back to see how I could have done something better.

View of the Salt Lake Valley from Mt Baldy at Night

We had some bad weather, my phone almost died so I had to stop looking at the map or tracking my hike. My 34 hours were not without adversity. But doors were also opened, I found a coat right when I needed it and my body responded well when I asked it for more than I ever had before.

I had the summit of Lone Peak all to myself and enough phone battery to record some thoughts. My WHY for completing the WURL. Worn down and sleep-deprived, emotions were close to the surface. These 34 hours took me to places I had never been, both physically and mentally. It was hard. I can't imagine myself doing it again, but oooooh it was an adventure worth having.

If not the WURL, I challenge you to do something that means this much to you. Put in the work and get to that summit.

Derek Tillotson

Date: August 25-26, 2021
Total time: 34:22

Beat up Arc'teryx shoes after hiking the WURL

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