Bald Mountain is located near the southern end of the Oquirrh (pronounced "oh-ker") Mountain Range; an approximately 30-mile long range extending north and south along the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. It consists of three peaks: Bald Mountain West / Bald Mountain East / Sharp Mountain. It's tallest peak, Bald Mountain East, at 10,006 ft is located 7.1 km as the crow flies west (WxNW 294.3°) of Flat Top Mountain (the highest peak in the Qquirrhs), and 6.3 km as the crow flies west (WXSW 242°) of Lowe Peak (the second highest peak in the Oquirrhs).
Tyson Bradleys "Backcountry Skiing Utah" book lists Sharp Mountain as a twin peaked mountain with the south twin at 10,006 ft and the north at approximately 9,960 ft. However, most topo maps (as of May 11, 2010) label the area as Bald Mountain with three peaks; 9,626 ft Bald Mountain West at N 40.39717 W 112.27476, 10,006 ft Bald Mountain East at N 40.39879 W 112.26431, and approximately 9,960 ft Sharp Mountain at N 40.40134 W 112.26341.
The Qquirrh range mountains see very few visitors, so if you see enjoy solitude you will appreciate Bald Mountain (or its neighbors).
The Utah History Encylopedia mentions this about the Oquirrhs: "The first attempt to settle in the Oquirrhs occurred in 1848. At that time two Mormon pioneer brothers, Thomas and Sanford Bingham, set up camp at the mouth of Bingham Canyon. They had been sent to the area by Brigham Young, who had requested that they take a herd of horses and cattle belonging to himself, the Bingham family, and others, up to the high land around the main canyon. For the next year or so, the Bingham brothers spent their time in what became known as Bingham Canyon, herding cattle and, to a limited degree, prospecting for valuable minerals. Some ores were found, but the brothers were advised by Brigham Young not to engage in mining at that time. The ore finds were soon forgotten after 1850 when the Binghams left on a mission to settle Weber County. For the next decade, the Oquirrhs continued to be used as a grazing ground as well as a valuable source of timber for the Mormons." More history can be found at this website.
On the Bald Mountain East peak March 2009, attached to a wooden peg, a notice from Kennecott Exploration Company was found dated June 2007 which stated the afore mentioned company "hereby claims this ground as a lode mining claim".
RouteBald Mountain sees very few visitors, and so getting to its peaks (Bald Mountain West, Bald Mountain East, and Sharp Mountain) may require route finding skills.
The shortest route is to start in Ophir Canyon (see Getting There). As you head up Ophir Canyon watch for a road on the left side shortly after you pass the turn off to the south fork of Ophir canyon, this road is the Serviceberry Canyon road. The beginning of the Serviceberry canyon road is marked by an abandoned, old, rusted out, yellow colored, tractor on tracks. There is an obvious parking area near the tractor. Head west up the Serviceberry Canyon road (on the left of the Ophir Canyon road, at less then 6,800 ft at N 40.38529 W 112.23444), and follow this road for about 0.5 miles, and around a couple of switch backs, until you come to a fork. Take the fork on the right, and follow it up Serviceberry Canyon going about 1.5 miles NW (308°) until you have passed below Chandler Peak (on your right). Your goal now is the low point on the ridge, aka Chandler Saddle at N 40.39735 W 112.25276 with an elevation of about 8,550 ft. For reference, Chandler Peak is located at N 40.39631 W 112.24813 with an elevation of 8,776 feet.
Once you gain the saddle turn west and ascend a rounded ridge which leads to a lower angled basin above. Stay south of the basin and continue to follow the ridge in a westerly direction up to the south summit at 10,006 feet. The distance from the saddle to the summit is less than 1.5 miles.
The Sharp Mountain peak is 283 meters south (SxSW 200.3°) of the Bald Mountain East peak.
Getting ThereBasically your destination is the historic mining town of Ophir Utah. If you are headed there from Utah County take I-15 North and exit at Lehi Main St (Exit 279). Main St is highway UT-73. Follow UT-73 west for 35 miles. Turn right onto Ophir Canyon rd; the turnoff is located midway between mile markers 4 and 5 on UT-73. Within 3.5 miles you will enter the town of Ophir. Continue east and after about 1 mile you will encounter a fork in the road off to the right. The right fork leads to the South Fork of Ophir Canyon, you want to continue on the main fork of Ophir canyon. In the winter this might be as far as you can drive. If conditions permit continue straight (do not fork right) until you notice an obvious parking area on the left across from a wooden A-frame style fence marked Private Property and the Serviceberry Canyon road heading west. There is also an abandoned, old, rusted out, yellow colored, tractor on tracks at the beginning of the Serviceberry Canyon road.
The route described above starts at the Serviceberry Canyon road which leads to the Chandler Saddle. The author has only visited the area in the winter so he isn't sure if one can drive west on the Serviceberry Canyon road when the snow is gone or if one must begin hiking at this point, see routes section.
Those traveling from the North may want to take I-80, exiting at Exit 99 (Tooele/Stansbury). Then proceed south on UT-36 for approximately 24 miles to the junction with UT-73. Turn left on to UT-73 (east) and follow it for 4.5 miles. Turn left onto Ophir Canyon rd; the turnoff is located midway between mile markers 4 and 5 on UT-73 Then follow the directions above.
Red TapeThe author is not aware of any "red tape" associated with climbing Bald Mountain. However, much of the land in the Qquirrh range is private property, so one should pay attention to no trespassing signs indicating you have strayed from BLM land.
When to ClimbThe author suggests climbing Bald Mountain on skis in the winter to take advantage of the southeast face with it numerous treeless ski runs into Serviceberry Canyon. The mountain also offers good skiing on its northeast side dropping one into Chandler Fork.
CampingCertainly one could do primitive camping anywhere on the BLM land. There are picnic areas along the Ophir Canyon road which may allow camping too, however most of them appear to be private property.
MapThis map shows Ophir Canyon, and the route starting point of Serviceberry Canyon at N 40.38529 W 112.23444. Go west up Serviceberry Canyon to reach Bald Mountain East.
View Larger Map
External Links* Books on-line: Backcountry Skiing Utah By Tyson Bradley -- Contains a description and map of the area.
* Google Terrain Map labeling Sharp Mountain.