Ascent of Smith Peak on 2011-03-21

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Date:Monday, March 21, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Smith Peak
    Elevation:5242 ft / 1597 m

Ascent Trip Report

The main thing to know on this peak is that you want to follow an unmapped road which can found on the aerials rather than the old lousy road that shows on the map. From Aguila drive the Eagle Eye Road N for 4 miles as it goes from paved to wide dirt road. The main road then turns sharply left to the W. Follow this for 3 more miles until you get to a lightly signed fork off to the right that will go to Smith Peak. There were a couple of stakes here that had Smith Peak written on them. The road you seek heads NW towards Bullard Peak. This is a lesser road but fairly new and in good shape. So anyway, you'll follow this road for a while and it will go basically to the top. From here you basically just stick with the main road all of the way to the top. I believe it is a further 11 miles- or 18 miles one way from Aguilaopolis to the summit of Smith Peak. As you progress along the road you'll pass a sign board and then the remains of an old rocky building. As you pull just W of Bullard Peak you can see a fork where the mapped jeep trail heads NE but the good main road continues sort of N to the 3600' in the ridgeline just to the E of Bullard BM. This last bit up to the ridge and the remainder of the road is well graded and a passenger car could probably do it. But it was a bit muddy and it is steep so it could be a little bit sketchy in a car. No troubles at all for a mtn vehicle and 4WD is not required if dry. After you hit the ridgeline you just head W and it bobs up and down and weave(r)s in and out of various dips and summits.

Eventually you'll hit a locked gate at the 4700 saddle before the final 500' to the top. Or at least we think it is locked. The gate was open on this day as workers are building something amongst the tower outpost. Lots of towers. We got pretty close and then parked and walked to the fairly obvious high ground where we found a cairn and register. Nice and easy. Access seems fine as it is maybe BLM or state land with no signs. The usual caveats about towers apply.

Don't bother with the old road that is mapped on the topo as I tried to drive that once and it was passable but bad up until the base of the range and then impassable beyond for vehicles. Might work though if you wanted a short steep hike but even still you'd have to drive a very lousy access road to cut the distance down to a reasonable amount. I'd just walk the new road as desired if you feel inclined to stretch your legs.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:92 ft / 28 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Trailhead:Old Tower Road #87  5150 ft / 1569 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Snowing, Pleasant, Calm, Overcast

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