Granite CreekI was on a roll chasing P5k prominence summits across Nevada and now Utah. I left Medford, Oregon on June 29 and on succeeding days I climbed Hayford, Arc Dome , Pilot , and North Schell . Now on the the 4th of July I was ready for Ibapah. It was a relatively short drive from North Schell Peak around a couple of mountain ranges and approached Ibapah Peak from the south. The turnoff from Hwy 50 is only .6 mile from the NV/UT border and I headed north on the Gandy Road. The road is gravel but this is a high speed road and you can easily travel at 45 mph all the way to the Granite Creek turn off. This is a long drive but you get to look at Mt. Moriah for the first several miles.
The Granite Creek Canyon road is marked and it is easy to follow. About 3.5 miles from the turn-off is the first creek crossing. No big deal here, but the road becomes rougher after this crossing. I went another .9 mile to the second creek crossing and I stopped there. Ibapah is a long, long, long way from the nearest tow truck, so I played it conservatively and decided to hike from this spot. The road ended in another 5/8 of a mile anyways, so the risk wasn’t worth the reward.
There was another truck parked at this spot and they had Oregon license plates too. Small world. I made myself comfortable and settled in for the night so I could get an early start for a long hike the next day. Elevation here was about 6,520 ft.
At daybreak I was ready, crossed the creek, and headed up the road. The hiking was easy and I soon reached the end of the road and the route was more of a trail than a road. I continued up the Granite Creek Canyon and the trail crossed the creek a couple of times, but there was no problem getting across.
In about an hour and elevation 8,000 ft I came across 4 people who were camping next to the trail. These were the people driving the truck from Oregon. They were all from the Salem area and were having breakfast. They hiked to the summit the day before. We all had a good visit and then I continued up the canyon. Very small world. Ibapah is one of the most remote areas in the US.
The miles went by quickly as the trail gained elevation up the Granite Creek Canyon. Soon Red Mountain came into view and then at about 10,000 ft I reached the head of the canyon, a big meadow, and my first view of Ibapah Peak. The meadow is a great spot to take a break before heading over towards Ibapah Peak. The trail ends at the meadow, so now you have to start using your head.
To the north you can see Ibapah Peak as the highest point on the ridge line. In front of Ibapah is a sub-peak that is mostly granite. This is your landmark, head straight across the meadow aiming at this sub-peak. Enter the forest on the far side and continue directly at this sub-peak. Once in the forest you lose sight of the sub-peak and I tended to do too much climbing and not enough traversing. Soon I was coming out of the top of the forest near the ridgeline but I was still south of the sub-peak. That was ok, I just started more traversing around the sub-peak on the east side.
At times I thought I had found a climbers trail, but I would lose it again and make my own trail. I did this several times but eventually worked my way all the way around the sub-peak to the ridgeline that led to Ibapah Peak. This ridgeline looked kind of rugged, but there weren’t any difficult areas. Some rock hopping in spots, but nothing difficult.
I was getting pretty tired by this time and the last 1,000 ft climb up the side of Ibapah Peak was slow for me. There is a good trail with several switchbacks, but I was slow and steady. Finally I came over the crest and found the summit. I touched all the rocks across the ridge to make sure I touched the highest one. I couldn’t find any summit register to sign, so I had lunch and watched some clouds close in on the summit. Soon it was blowing about 20 mph and it was getting cold.
Time to head down. I descended the same way I came up, keeping the big meadow as my target so I could find the trail again. By the time I got to the big meadow it was drizzling rain on me. I felt like I was at home in Oregon. I guess I would rather have a drizzly rain than 100 degree sun beating down on me.
I returned all the way to my truck without seeing another hiker. The 4th of July with a beautiful mountain all to myself. Can it get any better? The total hike took me 8 hours and was about 13.8 miles. I think the total elevation gain was about 5,900ft, so this climb is not for the faint of heart. I completed my 5th hike in 5 days and they were all P5k’s. My next objective was Deseret , another P5k in Utah.