When viewed from the south, Blue Mountain is one of the more interesting and spectacular mountains in the state, and quite possibly in the lower 48 states. The north or east sides of the mountain are not as impressive and is more gentle. Unfortunately, since the other side of the mountain is more gentle, there is a road and several radio towers on top which somewhat spoils this spectacular mountain. Luckily the road is open only from mid-May through early November, so a spring visit is recommended. All routes on the south face are either very rugged or highly technical. If you can ignore the towers and road, this is one spectacular and facinating mountain to climb.
The mountain is a huge anticline
with many upturned layers of rock highly visible. The south side of the mountain has a desert-like appearance, while the north side has a forest of aspen and Ponderosa pines.
Note: The USGS maps label the crest as Cliff Ridge, but all other sources label the mountain itself as Blue Mountain including all the signs at the scenic overlooks along Highway 40, state and local maps, etc.
Blue Mountain from the SE.
You must have a good map to find the trailhead. Directions are breif. Drive along Highway 40 from either Vernal and Jensen on the west or Dinosaur Colorado on the east. County Road 16 takes off from the north of Highway 40 about four miles west of the Colorado/Utah state line. There are actually two roads that take off Highway 40, to make CR 16 and they both meet after a short distance at a junction. Drive north on the county road (marked for Echo Park) until it makes a curve from north to east. This is after following the road for just under three miles from the junction. Turn left on a lesser used road that is maked on the topo. After a short distance turn right and stay on the northern bearing road that heads to the base of Blue Mountain. There are many turn-offs, so follow the map carefully and head towards the mountain. Park where the road crosses the wash that drains Blue Mountain for the second time. This is about 1.6 miles from CR 16. CR 16 is good for all cars, and the other road mentioned is for 4wd's only.
Near the trailhead and near the base of Razor Ridge.
There are several possibilities. The most interesting and difficult routes are on the south face. I'm calling the route I took the RAZOR RIDGE
for lack of a better name. See the route page for much more detail and important notes and photographs. WARNING:
This ridge would be a fairly straight forward class 3-4 scrambling route if it wern't for the crux pitch through the cliff band. This pitch can be dangerous and I recommend starting the climb early in the morning and thus to have enough time to look for a bypass around the crux. I estimate the crux pitch to be 5.2 to 5.4 in difficulty. It isn't that difficult to climb, but is highly exposed and hard to protect. The chute to the west of the crux pitch is another possible route, and I used it for my descent, but it too is no piece of cake either and was filled with waist deep snow overlaying ice. At one point I had to slide off a boulder. I don't know how the bypass is when not snow-covered, but is steep and may be filled with loose rock (If you climb the route snow free, please post an addition/correction). From below, it appeared that the crux pitch may be possible to bypass by contouring along the cliff band to the right, but this is unknown. If you do decide to do the crux pitch, take the time to scout it out, and don't be afraid to turn back if you find it too difficult or dangerous. See the route page for more details.
View from west from Razor Ridge along the route to the summit.
The eastern part of the south face appears to be a walk-up. The western ridge of the mountain also appears to ba a walk-up. If you do either of these routes, feel free to post a route. The south face appears to have many difficult and technical routes. If you climb them, feel free to post them as routes.
No red tape.
When To Climb
April and early May. In winter you could ski or snowshoe up the north side of the mountain, but the Razor Ridge is not a good place to be in the winter. Summers are very hot here, and winters very cold. Fall brings hunters, and with the road to the summit, expect to see them.
View north from Razor Ridge along the route to the summit in April.
There are some good campsites along the access road. There are no campgrounds near the mountain, though there are some in Dinosaurland National Monument near Split Mountain.
Mountain ConditionsWEATHER FORECAST FOR AREA (HIGH ELEVATIONS)
Weather and climate data for the nearby Dinosaur Quarry is below. *National Weather Service Data 1958-2004.
|AVE PRECIP (in)