Ibapah Peak - The epitome of being remote

Ibapah Peak - The epitome of being remote

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 23, 2008
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Fall

How we got there, in detail.

The trip reports already posted contain good information, as does the primary page itself. I am adding the following information first and foremost as a heads-up to those who may have the same disinclination I have toward the idea of camping. For me camping is only a means to an end, and if I can avoid it, I will.

I read that all of the possible camp sites are primitive in nature. That is, there are no toilets and there is no water. The CCC campground is located next to the dust-laden road, to boot. After careful consideration our little group decided to skip the camping business, get an early start from Salt Lake and return in the evening. This decision turned out to be, for us, the right one.

We left the Cottonwood Heights area of Salt Lake at 4:35 a.m. and reached Wendover at about 6:20. After gassing up - when entering remote areas a full tank of gas is a must - we drove 25 miles on Alternate 93 before turning southeast toward Gold Hill and Callao. After 16 miles a small sign for Gold Hill led us to make a 90 degree turn left and we were suddenly on well-maintained dirt road. Most of the time we could hold decent speeds on the roads, the only downside being the billowing clouds of dust welling up behind us.

We reached Gold Hill after 11.3 miles. Looking around Gold Hill we assumed that this little ramshackle excuse for a town had seen better days. We turned south (right) at the only intersection in town and climbed out of town, winding between small hills. After 5 miles we did come to the referenced "fork" in the road and we turned left, the sign on our left indicating that Callao was only 19 miles further. Interestingly the sign pointing to Gold Hill indicated the mileage as six, not five. Hmmm.

We motored past a Pony Express historic site and at a Pony Express historical marker of sorts, 15 miles from our last junction, we turned south again and were now paralleling power lines and green farm fields on our left. Callao was out there somewhere, but other than a collection of tall trees, there wasn't much to see. Four miles further we made a slight right turn at a junction, a sign on our right pointing south and announcing Trout Creek as 16 miles distant. We were now looking west at the Deep Creek Mountain Range.

At 4.5 miles we passed the sign for the CCC campground, and as we sped past it we were happy we hadn't decided to camp there. At 10 miles a brand new sign on the right, white letters on green background, said Granite Creek Canyon. Next to the sign were two over-sized mailboxes, the name "Douglas" lettered on the bigger one.

One mile up the road the road split, the right route headed directly for what must have been the Douglas home and farm. We continued for another 2.8 miles, crossing the 5"-deep stream once. A couple hundred yards beyond that crossing large, sharp boulders dissuaded us from going further, so we pulled off into a possible camping site and called it good.
Ibapah PeakWe stopped the car here, and this spot became our personal TH. Elevation about 6.200'

I have been specific in the details thus far because I feel it might assist the next person to find his/her way there without difficulty.

The hike - 6.200' of vertical gain, counting undulations, of course!

My GPS read 6,220 at our parking spot. The coordinates were N39 degrees 46.815' W113 degrees 52.083'. We hadn't gone as far as 4-wheel drive vehicles CAN go, but we were comfortable walking the additional mileage and gaining the additional vertical. We were impressed with the granite rock formations on all sides as we hiked the first 30 minutes.
Ibapah PeakMassive granite outcroppings grace all sides of the lower canyon.

We reached the place where a sign indicates the area is "closed to all motor vehicle use." GPS elevation was 6,837. Lat/Lon was N39 degrees 47.646' W113 degrees 52.722'. The road became appreciably steeper, but the tracks in the soft grainy roadbed indicated that at least one person on an ATV hadn't paid the sign much heed.

At 2+40 elapsed time we were standing in the open alpine meadow. GPS statistics: Elevation 10,172' N39 degrees 48.574 W113 degrees 56.217. Here Red Mountain to our west loomed ruddy in the noon-day sun while the west shoulder of Ibapah Peak resembled a craggy spine more than anything else. A peak in the foreground blocked a complete view of the Ibapah summit block, and we crossed the meadow, our goal being the ridge just west of the afore-mentioned minor peak. The time to attain this ridge was 30 minutes.

Electing to go over the sub-peak itself, we climbed VW-bug-sized boulders and then dropped carefully but quickly down the other side. The trail paralleling the saddle leading to Ibapah was generally 30 feet below the rocky spine, and most of the time it was easy to follow. It took about 20 minutes to reach what seemed to be the low point of the saddle trail. It would be about 30-35 minutes from there to the top. Once we had crossed the saddle we began a series of about twenty switchbacks which led us up the south face of Ibapah to the rectangular long summit itself. I reached the summit in 4+06, and Brent and Anne arrived a few minutes later.

Ibapah PeakYours truly, Brent and Anne enjoying the photo op at the east end of the summit ridge. My camera tripod was standing next to the survey marker, the primary image of this report.

Getting down and home

On the summit we gave ourselves the luxury of 25 minutes. Views were great and the weather conditions were ideal. We had picked a beautiful day to climb. Gazing down we were astonished at the brilliant fall colors in the patches of aspens, liberally sprinkled in random fashion among the thicker stands of evergreens.
Ibapah PeakSome time for "clowning around" on the summit. After all, with a name like Ibapah, serious moments can be hard to come by. Ibapah is an Indian word meaning "white clay water," and it's pronounced eye-buh-paw with emphasis on the first syllable.

But we also had to take pictures, eat and apply sunblock. And, lest we forget, we were on a timetable - we wanted to return home at a decent hour. We calculated it would take us no longer than 3.5 hours to get down, and we ended up beating that estimate by a full 25 minutes. During the descent we practiced using the GoTo feature of our GPS; it worked as advertised. For the record, the straight-line distance from the summit to our TH was 4.53 miles, and from the meadow the straight-line distance to the car was 4.1 miles.

The descent went smoothly; we rejoiced in the occasional breezes and reveled in the backlit colorful groves of aspens. We could sense that only an outrageous quirk of fate could keep us from celebrating a 100% successful day of driving and hiking. Back at the car at 4:39, we toasted with ice-cold Thomas Kemper cane sugar root beer, changed out our boots for more comfortable travel footwear and motored back. We were only disappointed that we hadn't seen any wildlife. Otherwise, a wonderful one-day adventure had unfolded, and we were the lucky recipients of this gift. We stopped for 30 minutes in Wendover to make what we deemed a mandatory stop at Burger King, arriving back at our starting point, Marie Callender's on Ft. Union Blvd. in Midvale, at 9:15 p.m.

The total mileage for our round trip was 449 miles. That would make the one-way distance about 225 miles. The distance from Wendover to our TH was about 90 miles, 48 of which was on dirt road. Posted speed limits on the dirt roads can be easily held; fudging seems to be the rule out there in no-man's land... The limit on 93A is 70 mph and on I-80 it bumps up to 75 mph. As a supplement to the good information on this page I can recommend the book "High in Utah" by Weibel and Miller. We took it and some printed information from this page in our backpacks and referenced both a couple of times during the hike.


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Viewing: 1-3 of 3

KirtDavis - Sep 26, 2008 9:18 am - Voted 10/10

Great TR

Ibapah has to be my favorite county highpoint I have climbed. Even though I suffered from altitude sickness, I will bag the peak again without much prodding.


Moogie737 - Sep 26, 2008 11:41 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Great TR

Thanks for kind rating of the TR. Ibapah will always stand out in my mind as a truly "one of a kind."

Scott Wesemann

Scott Wesemann - Mar 5, 2009 12:44 pm - Voted 10/10

Great report

and thanks for all of the helpful info.

Viewing: 1-3 of 3



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Ibapah Peak (UT)Trip Reports