Made it to 2.75 miles from trailhead on road parallel to Powder River. Jeep Cherokee clearance is not high enough. Trail to lake is good. Ascended NW ridge with my brother Mike. Descended NE ridge - not. Huge cleft forced us into chute on face. Should have descended NW ridge.
Drove to about 2.5 miles short of the unmarked Red Mountain Lake trailhead, where I found a nice campsite with access to the river. Hiked up the road and found the trailhead with help from a bow hunter - I saw several long-term hunter camps along the road. Crossed a logjam about 20 yards upstream. The trail was still in good shape. Followed the NW ridge to the summit, taking advantage of several game trail fragments. Nice views of the Elkhorn Crest from the summit.
I had been wanting to summit this for several years now, and had failed on a previous attempt when I was unable to ford the North Powder in my Wrangler. Troy found a "better" road than I had attempted and we were able to drive within 2 miles of the trailhead. Trail was in much better condition than road, it had been recently cleared and its a short hike up to the lake. Ridge scramble took another hour from Red Mountain Lake, summit is comprised of large blocky granite with the remnants of a plane strewn amongst them.
Climbed up the west ridge from Red Mountain Lake to the summit with Caleb Morris. Completed the "Red Mountain Challenge" weekend by summiting the Red Mountains in both the Elkhorn and Wallowa Mountain Ranges in a single weekend.