Monday, October 19, 2009

Ibapah Peak, Utah - Hiking

Jake and I decided to climb Ibapah, a remote peak in the West Desert, this past weekend. The peak is located in the Deep Creek Mountains along the Utah-Nevada border, about 60 miles south of Wendover. Compared to the popular peaks of the Wasatch Range, this area is off the radar for most hikers. The appeal of this place is it's remoteness. Not only is climbing the peak a challenge, getting to the trailhead requires some effort as well.

After checking out the last farmer's market of the season, we gathered some hiking and camping gear and headed to Wendover around noon. After gassing up and stocking up on enough groceries for a week, we headed south into new territory. Eventually the paved road became dirt and the barren remoteness of the West Desert surrounded us.

We found a great place to camp in Granite Creek Canyon after driving on some rough patches of road that weren't really appropriate for Jake's low clearance car. There was a small creek, an ancient picnic table, and a clump of brilliant yellow aspen trees surrounding our site. The sound of the creek was very relaxing and the minimal light pollution of the West Desert made for some great star gazing.

Camping spot for Saturday night

Small creek and Aspen leaves

I awoke Sunday morning to one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen. The whole sky was brilliant pink and the mountains behind me were illuminated in the same vivid color. Eventually the sun peaked over the horizon and it was time to begin the hike.

Sunrise in the Deep Creek Mountains

Granite Creek Canyon at sunrise


The hike to the summit of Ibapah was killer. We covered about 15 miles on the 6,000 foot ascent and didn't return to the trailhead until nearly sunset. No matter how long we hiked and how high we climbed, it always seemed like the peak was impossibly far and high. Eventually, after a lung busting final ascent, we made it to the top. The views from 12,100 feet at the summit of Ibapah were incredible and the feeling of remoteness was intense. It was almost difficult to enjoy the time we spent at the summit because of exhaustion and the realization that we still had a very long hike down. Followed by a very long drive back to civilization.

Fall foliage in Granite Creek Canyon

Our destination - Ibapah Peak

Ibapah Peak in the distance - almost there!

Jake at the summit of Ibapah

Finally made it to the summit