Despite the weather, the window was openA little background:
Messix Mountain in the Promontory mountains of Utah has long been on my wish list agenda. Being one of Utah's prominence peaks, it sits at #54 on the top 100 list having 2462' of prominence and despite the fact that it is only 7372 feet above sea level, it is a nice prize for prominence peakbaggers like myself. As far as I knew, no one that I knew had ever been on top of this one and there is a good reason why, it is totally on private property and heavily signed for "no trespassing". In the fall the area becomes a private hunting area and is even more off limits to those who don't have the connections necessary.
So it was a problem for some of us, how do we gain access? As mentioned above, this mountain is totally located on private property and very much off limits. A lucky break came when a friend was able to get permission from one of the landowners and we were given the OK to do it on this weekend. So regardless of the weather, we had a window and we went for it.
As I drove up from Lehi, it was pouring rain, so much rain that my truck would hydroplane at times if I got above 50 mph on I-15. I was hoping that the weather would improve as I drove north and as I drove past Ogden, the rain lessened and became just a drizzle. A big relief for sure. Near Brigham City, I turned off of I-15 and drove to the little town of Corinne where I hooked up with SP member Greg and SP member Kadee. We were soon joined by SP member Wasatchvoyage (Cory) who was the 4th member of our group. I felt fortunate to have been invited by Kadee for this one as she knew how much I wanted this it and was kind enough to make sure I had a chance. She had worked hard for several months to get the permission we needed from the landowners for our little group.
Driving to near a gate where "No Trespassing" was boldly displayed, we parked off the highway and began our effort. Crawling under the fence felt OK since we knew we had permission and wouldn't be having a visit from the sheriff any time soon. We made our way up to another fenceline and crossed it without getting snagged up by the barb wire. Soon we were at the point where we were going to enter Messix canyon and we were routefinding by the seat of our pants. There were several possibilities and the route we ended taking up worked well despite a lot of sidehilling in places. In retrospect, just about any choice would have worked but we didn't know that at the time.
The rain had come back and we had all scrambled to get our rain gear on and watch our step. One member of our group who shall remain anonymous stepped dead center in a fresh cowpie so we paid attention to where we were stepping at all times after that misstep. At least the cold, windy and rainy weather kept the rattlesnakes in their hiding places (Kadee had been warned by the landowner to be on the lookout for them) and also, the ticks were too cold to try and find more victims. See, the weather wasn't a complete negative, and for me, I like cooler weather to hike in. This area can be brutally hot in the summertime and the thunderstorms that were forecast were most likely not going to happen on this day.
We worked our way up the right fork of Messix Canyon and after gaining a good deal of elevation, we could see a cave on the slope ahead and made our way toward that landmark. When we reached the cave, we had 2/3rds of our elevation gained and had but a thousand feet left. A class 3 scramble was encountered just to the right of the cave and after getting up that spot, (slippery when wet) we had clean sailing up the slopes to the summit that lay 1000 feet above us. Kadee and I kept together while Greg and Cory hit their afterburners and headed for the top. The wind kept getting colder the higher we went and when we got to the summit ridge, it was probably hitting gusts of at least 30mph and really gave an alpine feel to this summit. We quickly put on all the extra layers we had and I lamented the fact that my gloves were still sitting in my truck, three thousand feet below us.
It was nice to find a benchmark and a witness benchmark on top, marked "Rocky" in 1956. We looked for a register but really didn't expect to find one. Nor did we place one since none of us had one to place. A couple cairns were also present on top but that wasn't surprising since we encountered a fenceline a couple hundred feet below the summit as we came up from the northeast.
Standing on the summit in the wind was kept to a brief moment as we found refuge from the wind a bit below the summit on the west side where we grabbed some snacks since it was near lunchtime. The views were obscured thanks in part due to the cloudy and rainy conditions although we were still treated to some decent views.
After some picture taking, we decided to head down a central ridge which differed from our way up and it turned out to work very well for our descent. We were able to drop at least two thousand feet of elevation on it and it would've made a good ascent route as well. It brought us back to near where the canyon split and soon we were "herding" about 40 cattle who didn't much care for our presence and stampeded off as we came near.
All in all, a great hike with some great companions. Totals for the hike,
3000 elevation gain and about 6 miles round trip. Unfortunately, it was not possible to invite many others who have since expressed dismay at not being included on our effort but hopefully we have opened the door with the landowners and they will allow others to also visit this mountain during the
spring as we were able to do.
Messix was Greg's 93rd peak on the Utah's top 100 prominence list and it was my 85th, Kadee's 67th and Wasatchvoyages 45th.
Photographic notes: The weather kept my camera in a dry spot most of the time and when I went to load the pics onto the computer, I found that for some reason I had taken all my pics in 640x480 size. Arrrggghhh. [img:630134:aligncenter:medium:Our group-photo by Greg)]