Adam needed only Ibapah to finish up his quest for getting all of Utah's 29 counties. Nebo had been the second to last and I could tell by looking at him that he was excited to get this one as well. Adam had already completed all of the county highpoints in California , Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and was well along in getting Oregon as well. Quite an accomplishment when you consider the likes of No. Palisade, Lyell, Ritter, Shasta and Whitney in California alone. Utah would be a new feather in his county highpointing hat.
We drove into Wendover to gas up and I found a spot in a Casino parking lot where I felt comfortable leaving my Honda
Accord since I would ride with Bob on the journey south. After grabbing some fast food at a local establishment we were on our way as dusk began to settle on our part of the world.
The first leg is on Alt 93 that takes off right out of Wendover and is roughly 26 miles to a turnoff that has a sign (turn left) indicating Gold Hill, Ibapah and Partoun. Fortunately, this road is paved for over 16 miles to the next junction (again to the left) which goes to Gold Hill. Now you are on good dirt road for over 11 miles but we did notice some recent bulldozer work to repair a rain caused washout, just outside of Gold Hill. In Gold Hill, we came to a 4 way intersection (and the only intersection in this small wide spot in the road) and went left again. Good dirt road took us towards Callao and at the 23 mile mark we passed the Juab county sign marker. Hooray, we were going in the right direction. From this sign it is about ten plus miles to the turn off (to the right) to where we would want to go in the morning, Granite Creek Canyon but since it was now nearing ten p.m., we started looking for the CCC Campground, located just a few miles from the Juab county line sign. This campground is bare bones but free. A couple picnic tables but no toilet facilities is all that we found but the picnic table was helpful in our organizing of gear before we went to sleep for the night.
Up at 6 a.m., we had a quick breakfast and soon headed for the canyon road that would take us to the mountain. I should mention that there are good signs on the road in this area although we never did see anything that looked like a town (Callao). Nada. No services, make sure you gas up in Wendover. The Pony Express Road connects in from Dugway (dirt all the way) and another dirt road heads off to Delta Utah but that is just passing information.
We had no problem finding the Granite Creek Canyon road but it quickly turned rocky and rough so Adam parked his rental at about the two mile mark and rode the rest of the way with Bob and I. Bob drove his 4runner up to the end of the road, splashing through two creeks on the way and getting some nasty scratches from brush that closed in at different places on the journey up the canyon. This is 4 wheel, high clearance country and it would make for a much longer approach if you use a passenger vehicle.
We met a group of 4 who were camped between the two creeks and they had climbed Ibapah the day before, mentioning that there was fresh snow at the higher levels. One thing we did notice was that the surrounding countryside reminded us of the Sierra Nevada as granite was plentiful.
The second stream crossing was a piece of cake for Bob's 4runner but I would not think of taking a non 4 wheel drive vehicle into it as it had a funny drop off to the right and would be difficult to come back up that drop from the other direction.
About .7 of a mile from that point, the road pretty much ended, elevation of 6846. That left us another 5200 feet of elevation to gain but hey, I was happy that Bob's vehicle got us this far as my Honda would be parked about three miles back down the road (ugh).
We donned our day packs and headed out at 8 a.m. Beyond where we were parked, the 4wd track continued and Bob wondered if he could have driven even further. Still, I was content that we had gone as far as we did and we followed this track until it finally petered out and became a trail, a good trail at that. Easy to follow and with the scenery getting better and better as we moved into the aspens that would accompany us for awhile before we moved into the pines. A good trail continued until we reached a saddle between Red Mountain (south) and Ibapah (north) The elevation of this point was 10,170.
We headed north across the meadow with a to guide us by. The trail disappeared as we contoured around to the right of point 11365 where we picked up a good use trail that headed up to Ibapah's summit.
Adam kicked into hyper drive and was soon speeding up the mountain to achieve his goal. Bob moved out next and after resolving a foot problem, was right on Adam's heels. I, on the other hand, kicked in my special "turtle" drive and moseyed on up to the summit area where I could see Adam with his arms outstretched in a victory pose. We had a few snow patches to step through but most of the snow that the other party had mentioned had already melted out. The summit area was a little broader than I expected but the highest point was on the western edge. I did my own posing from atop this spot and then joined the other two who were already getting snacks out. There were remains of what was once a triangulation station as well as several stone shelters. A register was found in the topmost shelfter and we all took turns signing in.
The views were superlative, an amazing 360 degree that allowed us to see into Idaho, Nevada as well as Utah of course.
The salt flats, Wheeler Peak, Pilot Peak, the Stansbury range and more were laid open to our eyes for a visual feast.
My cell phone enabled Adam to call his loved ones and they shared in his special accomplishment whereas I called my wife to find out how Ichiro of the Seattle Mariners had done the night before as he chases George Sisler's hit record.
Bob and I posed for a pic taken by Adam and after that we were heading down, all too soon.
We spent 5 hours going uphill and 3 hours going down but we had a wonderful 1 1/2 hours on the summit, one that we would all long remember and enjoy. Bob and I headed back to Wendover where we grabbed a meal and a room for the night before doing Deseret Peak the next day. Adam? He pulled off to the side of the road somewhere between Gold Hill and Wendover and blissfully fell asleep after a long day well spent.
Be sure and check out the maps and pics posted at the Ibapah page. Don't head for Ibapah without checking your vehicle out and have plenty of water and gas. It is in the middle of nowhere.
Summary: 12 miles and 5200 feet.