Clear day, a little wind, solo summit. Golden eagles soaring overhead. Large aspen groves with some captive Fall colors. Area was in rebound from recent fire.
Idyllic fall day for my toughest climb of the year. 8.25 miles RT along the arduous West Ridge. 4.25 hours up, 3.25 down. Uneven, ankle biting terrain for all but the first 1.2 miles in the geologically awesome shale and slate rocks. After that, it was all navigating the granite ridge, trying to stay on the south side or go over the top due to ankle deep, slippery snow on the north side. Just below the summit block, we attempted Dennis Poulsen’s recommendation (the way he speculated he should have gone) to traverse across toward the northwest ridge, but when we got to an overlook found only impassable, toothy granite towers and steep, narrow, drainages- no way in hell. So instead, up the summit block we went from there, with no time left in the day to traverse to the south side. This was class 4-5 broken granite slabs with snow on the ledges. After 80 feet of this, we attained the false summit, only to find another 40-50 feet of the same. We could see the flat summit beyond, covered with 1-2 feet of snow. Twenty minutes past our turnaround time to get us back to the car just before sunset, we turned and headed back, having missed the summit by less than 100 feet – but felt plenty satisfied.
Note on the road approach: Using the McConnell Creek road, after driving through the creek, and then up the hill immediately after that, find a parking spot, or better yet - before the creek crossing. You’ll add around .25+ miles to your hike (as we did), but the hillside traverse just beyond is narrow, off-camber, steeply rutted, and soft on the steep downside. Not worth driving through this just to try and park at the base of the West Ridge. Given another year, this section of road may be washed out to all but motorcycles. Also note- Rock Creek road is closed, gated, and deemed Private Property. Hell of an adventure!
Climbed the West Ridge with CalebEOC.
A steep drive up into the north end of Antelope Creek then a difficult ridge walk with some scrambling and a fair amount of bushwhacking. I was able to drive my suzuki sidekick with average clearance and 4 wheel drive to an elevation of 6000 feet on the ridge.
The approach was from Big Cottonwood Creek outside of Paradise Valley. After camping along the creek the night before we drove up the creek and ran into a locked gate for the private property up the canyon. We back tracked a little bit and parked right as the jeep trail that splits off the road heads up Dry Creek.
From here our plan was to climb up dry creek to the 9153 point, and then follow the ridge over to Santa Rosa Peak and back down. After a few hours of climbing we made it the top of the 9153 peak, but by that time a storm had blown in, the ridge line was extremely windy and it was just starting to rain. Not wanting to fight the wind and snow on the ridge line for hours we headed back down from this smaller point. So never got to the top of Santa Rosa Peak, but had a great view from the 9153 point south of the peak. Photos can be found at http://zensites.net/pic/album.php?id=73
Tough Climb up Rebel Creek. For approach to canyon entrance take North Rebel Creek Rd. You need to get permission from the owners of the Rebel Creek ranch, (they lease the access rights for the road from the forest service). My 2wd car made it fine to the fenceline about .25miles from the canyon. Trail is overgrown and hard to follow.(I missed the turn and had to bushwack over an adjacent ridge). Plan on a steep, rocky class II or easy class III for the last mile to the summit.
This is a good access point to climb the mountain early in the year. There isn't much of a trail; but route finding is straightfoward. You start out in a narrow canyon and after a couple miles there is a great view of the SW slopes of the peak. I climbed the south ridge to the summit, great view to paradise valley and south to other peaks in the range. I have hiked up Rebel creek to the basin and this is a more scenic way to approach the mountain. The aspen grove turns gold in the fall and with the peak in the background its very nice. I would like to come back to this range and climb Granite or Paradise peak.
I think this was the last time I climbed Santa Rosa Peak. This was from Mullinex Creek which is the fastest way (and maybe the most fun) to the Summit in the summer. I have climbed this mountain many times on all aspects in every season. I look forward to many more days here.