I became interested in Patmos Head after climbing Mt. Elliott in May 2015, and wanting to explore more of the Book Cliffs. Be advised- Patmos makes Elliott look like a walk in the park.
Climbed West Ridge route per Scott’s directions. Route is tough- not so much because of the cliff bands- which never exceeded class 4- but more due to the super-steep loose dirt stretches in between. One step forward, ½ step back for much of the climb. I used the old roadbed/ATV track on the West side of North Horse Canyon to bypass the lower narrows of same. Car-to-peak took me 4 hours.
On the descent I dropped into the draw immediately South of the West ridge, just to try something different. This route is technically a bit easier- nothing above class 3- but involves scrambling up/down hillsides to bypass a few dryfalls, including a major cliff band at the mouth, bypassed by a 5 minute walk across the face of the hill on the South side.
Only 3 parties in the register between Scott and me- most recent was a state archaeologist checking out the old heliograph site in August 2016. Last before him was 2013. The spacious summit is a beautiful, remote place. (Elliott- so impressive from the highway- looks like an insignificant little butte off to the South...) Plan on spending some time up top strolling around for the best views.
This was actually my second attempt at Patmos; in June 2016 I tried to access the peak from the North, following roads along Patmos Ridge I’d scoped out on satellite photos, but was blocked by private property (mining co.) If one could get permission/ access to approach, the hike would be an order-of-magnitude easier. Another interesting approach would be from the South, from along the road to Range Creek. My guess is that it would still entail some challenging terrain, but would involve ~1K – 1.5K less elevation gain.
Patmos Head is a mountain which I have had a strange attraction to over the years. When I was 11 or 12 or so, I wanted to climb the peak as a birthday hike and since then I have driven by the mountain many, many times. My wife and I went to climb the peak not long after we got married, but she changed her mind and we went somewhere else. There are more spectacular mountains out there in the world, but I admit that I did have a weird attraction for climbing Patmos Head!
Now in 2011, it was time to finally make the climb. We also wanted to hear a church conference on the radio up there and it sounded like a good place to do so.
After driving to the trailhead Kessler, Shaylee, Kimberly and I hiked up the North Fork of Horse Canyon and found it to be a nice slot canyon. Our packs were very heavy since we were carrying all our water in order to make a dry camp. After scrambling through the slot canyon we headed up the canyon to the base of the Southwest Ridge of Patmos Head.
Getting to the Southwest Ridge of Patmos Head was the where the real work began. It was an incredibly steep climb in order to get to the top of the ridge where we thought that the going might get easier. The ridge was much harder to climb than was expected and we had to pass several difficult cliff bands. There was some bushwhacking as well, though it wasn’t too terrible.
After a long struggle Kim and the kids decided to call it quits at 9400 feet. I climbed as quickly as possible to the summit (while routefinding around two final cliff bands) and spent a few minutes on top before heading down. It sure was a harder climb than we expected.
After meeting back up with Kim and the kids, we headed back down the ridge a ways before deciding to make an attempt at descending down to the canyon to the north which we hoped would be an easier route. It wasn’t and the going was really steep and tedious.
When we reached camp it was dark and we had a nice dinner before heading off to bed.
the next day, after waking up we packed up and headed back down the North Fork Horse Canyon to our car parked near the Geneva Mine. We had to do some scrambling in the slot canyon section, but it was a much easier hike than the day before. After reaching the car we headed off towards Ninemile Canyon.