Ibapah Peak P5K WSC / GBP
Peak 10,040ft P300
Monument Peak P1K
Trail Mountain P900
Bald BM P500
Peak 10,680ft

Jul 15, 2020
Bald BM
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profile


Ibapah Peak

Ibapah is one of three summits in Utah over 12,000ft in elevation with more than 5,000ft of prominence. The peak is on the Western States and Great Basin Peaks lists, and is a county highpoint. I have driven past it on several previous trips to Colorado, wondering when I would get around to it. The peak is not easy to get to. The hike is about 12mi roundtrip with more than 5,000ft of gain. The harder part is the driving to get to it, with a trailhead that is more than 40mi from the nearest pavement. While the unpaved roads to get there are generally good, they are hot, dry and very dusty. I would be infused with Utah dust from so much unpaved driving over these two days. I had driven in the night before, reaching the 4WD parking above 6,800ft with little trouble, even though all the toughest driving was by headlights. I found a truck parked at the trailhead, and feeling bad for disturbing them, I drove back down the last mile to the lower TH at the second creek crossing where I spent the night.

The alarm went off at 4:30a. I expected another hot day and wanted to get done with the climb before it got too warm. I sat there dazed for a few minutes, debating quietly as to whether I wanted more sleep. I'd only slept about 6.5hrs, a bit on the light side, and the desire to go back to sleep was strong. I fought it off and got up instead, putting away the sleeping gear, dressing, breakfasting, and the then driving back up to the 4WD trailhead. I was quick to park and be on my way so as not to disturb the folks in the nearby truck. It was still quite dark when I started off by headlamp before 5a. I would spend over two hours climbing steadily up the decent trail by headlamp for the first hour, sunrise coming around 6:30a.

The trail leads to a saddle on the crest where one starts cross-country. I followed some ducks north to where I hoped to pick up the use trail to Ibapah. I probably could have downloaded a GPX track of someone having done this, but failed to do so and ended up on a make-your-own-route ascent to the SW Ridge. The route was not really bad as the cross-country is not difficult above 10,000ft where the desert scrub relents and the slopes become more forested. From the saddle, one has a fine view of Red Mtn to the south, a P1K I was hoping to add as a bonus. It becomes an even better view from Ibapah's SW Ridge where the trees thin and the views stretch across the horizon. I eventually found the use trail I had been expecting that took me all the way to the summit, reaching it after almost four hours' effort. As the highest point in the Deep Creek Range, and indeed the second highest in the western half of the state, Ibapah has commanding views in all directions. There were several register books in an ammo box found in a crude rock shelter built to keep out the wind. In a quick perusal, I found several entries from some of the familiar California regulars. I considered only briefly continuing to either Haystack or Red Mtn, but decided it was getting too warm and would only be worse back at the 6,900-foot trailhead. Better to get done with this one.

On the return, I did a decent job of following the use trail back down to about 10,200ft where I lost it in a small meadow. A 300-foot decent through forested terrain got me easily enough back to the trail and the road leading to it. I had hoped to come across the visitor I had disturbed the previous evening so I could apologize, but the camp was cleaned up and the vehicle gone when I returned around 11:30a. A few days later I received an email from the same gentleman. Seems he recognized my license plate and knew who I was. He had climbed the peak the previous day and had left in the morning after I'd started up the trail. It was over 80F when I returned, thankfully it had been all downhill since the summit. Time to go find cooler parts of the state.

Peak 10,040ft - Monument Peak

The next four hours plus were taken up with a lot of driving to get me from Ibapah to the middle of the state and the Manti - La Sal National Forest. I had noticed there were three relatively easy CoHPs in the area that would occupy me for a day or so while I was driving to Colorado. My Google directions took me on more dusty dirt roads which eventually led to the state highway system, across the San Pitch Mtns, the Juab & San Pete Valleys and onto the Wasatch Plateau around 10,000ft in elevation. The national forest is a "Land of Many Uses" poster child, with miles upon miles of ATV roads, fishing, camping, cattle and sheep grazing, logging, and not a Wilderness boundary anywhere to be found. Despite the heavy human footprint, the area looks beautiful with lush green valleys and hillsides, and fine vistas. The area clearly gets more seasonal rains than the drier, western half of the state. On my way to Monument Peak, the highpoint of Carbon County, via Forest Road 18 (good for any vehicle) from the north, I first stopped for the short hike to nearby Peak 10,040ft. The easy, two-minute hike leads to an open summit with a few rocks scattered about. I left a register here for unclear reasons - perhaps I just needed to start unloading the box of 24 I'd brought on the trip. Ten minutes after returning to the jeep I had driven to the top of Monument Peak where a small telecom installation is found. There was a messy, geocache sort of register in an ammo box about the summit rocks. I didn't bother to examine the contents - not a fan of these busy registers at all.

Trail Mtn - Bald BM - Peak 10,680ft

More driving. Monument Peak also lies on the border with Emery County, but that one has it's highpoint to the south at East Mountain, about 300ft higher. Though it looks from the topo map like one can take a more direct route between them from Monument, I found that I had to drive back out to the north on FR18 before working my way south again. Getting to East Mountain would require a hike I just didn't have the time for today, but I managed to tag three summits on my way to the TH, all of them to the south. Trail Mtn was a six-minute hike from the road up a grassy slope (left a register here, too), Bald BM was a drive-up that requires high-clearance (or a short hike from the better road). Peak 10,680ft was a seven-minute hike each way through forest, leaving me finishing up shortly before 8p, a rather full day. I found a nice flat spot near the East Mtn TH above 10,000ft that would allow me to sleep quite comfortably that night...


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For more information see these SummitPost pages: Ibapah Peak - Monument Peak

This page last updated: Tue Aug 18 16:44:19 2020
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