The first visit - July 16
My son and I always like to get a hike or two together each summer in Utah so on a house hunting visit (I was moving to Utah in September), we arranged to at least get a good day of hiking in. I wanted to do Provo Peak but he had already done that one and so when we looked at a list of candidates, we both decided that Black Crook Peak
in the Sheeprock Mountain range would be a worthy choice. In fact, we thought we might also be able to get a second peak on the same day if we started early enough.
My son lives in Eagle Mountain Utah, a new community on the west side of Utah Lake and that is right on the way to where we wanted to go so I arranged to stay at his place overnight and use his home as a launching pad. The morning of July 16th dawned bright and clear and had the making of a beautiful day.
After a quick breakfast, we were in my Tacoma, headed for Vernon Utah, which is on the way to the Sheeprocks. Armed with gjagiels route description, found here
, we made our past Vernon and down the roads towards our objective. The last couple miles of road required the high clearance of my truck and had we taken a passenger vehicle, we would have been in for a much longer hike.
We found a suitable spot to park and made our way up the mountain. Unfortunately, the weather began to change on us as dark clouds began to form and soon dominated the whole sky. When we reached a spot that was less than a mile away and less than 500 hundred vertical feet from the summit, the first raindrops hit us and I was concerned about this turning into an electrical storm. I pointed down to my son and we headed for the vehicle as we didn't want to get caught high on this peak in an electrical storm. We made it to our vehicle in good time as the weather was an incentive for us to make haste
and got the heck out of there. We did spot a nice looking buck on our way down the access road. I knew I'd be back for this peak. My son and I finished the day off by doing West Mountain near Payson Utah.
The second visit - Nov. 6th
I hate it when I still have unfinished business with a peak and this one kept bugging me. I kept hoping I could do this one again with my son along but his job and college work had conspired to keep him busy busy busy so I finally decided to go back and do this one all by my lonesome. I had originally intended to go back via the way we had tried before but as I studied the maps, I kept seeing another possibility to climb the peak by, a route via the North Pine Canyon
. I noted that a road headed a good distance up this canyon and there was a ridge that went up between Black Crook Peak and the peak with the antenna set up on it. Perhaps this route would enable me to get both peaks at the same visit so I began to plot my way up that ridge.
I returned to the small village of Vernon on tuesday, November 6th, fully armed with maps, gps waypoints and the desire to see what this North Pine Canyon would turn out to be like. Rather than repeat the info I have put into this route description, suffice it to say that I made my way up into the canyon, adding new scratches to my already picked on paint job that had already been abused by mean bushes in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada.
After finding a spot off of the road, I walked up the road for about a half mile and then headed up toward
the gps route I had created. At first I had to work my way through some dense brush but rarely did I have to bash my way through it as animal paths were everywhere and eased the work of getting through that stuff. Once above the brush and trees, I had only knee high brush to contend with and I made my way up the ridge, staying pretty much to the south side. A few spots of rocks required some scrambling and yet most of the route was class 2 and really never difficult. I stayed away from the steeper sections and always seemed to find a reasonable line that eventually led me up to the saddle between the two peaks.
From the saddle, I made my way around a small hump and found myself at the base of the summit of Black Crook Peak. Some talus forced me to the west a bit and soon I found the best way up to near the summit. I thought it was the summit and there was even a cairn but then when I looked to the north I could see a big rock that was obviously the high spot so I began to make my way over to there.
I always try to touch the very highest spot and by doing so was rewarded with finding the benchmark which was cleverly placed atop the big rock.
I was also awarded with terrific views in all directions. The desert mountain ranges were pretty much laid out at my feet and to the east was a neat view of the Wasatch. A great hike for this late in the season and a big contrast from the snow peak, Mt. Ogden that I had hiked just a couple days earlier.
I didn't have the time to go over and pick up the peak with the antenna farm on it but I hope to bring my son back here so he can enjoy this peak and get it finished off as well. On that visit, I will take the time to see the other peak, close up and personal.
Time involved: I started up the road at 10 a.m. and summitted around 1 pm. I spent a good hour on top and then it took two hours to get back down as I am pretty doggone cautious when I am by myself on these isolated peaks. I saw no one else all day and probably wouldn't have seen anybody all week. I found no sign of the register that was reported by someone else and it is just possible I didn't look in the right spot. Distance was about four miles roundtrip and my elevation gain was close to 2400 feet. While my time up was rather slow, much of that was due to route finding. I believe I can cut a good chunk of time off on the next visit. We'll see.