Ascent of South Putnam Mountain on 2011-08-27

Climber: Ken Jones

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, August 27, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:South Putnam Mountain
    Elevation:8949 ft / 2727 m

Ascent Trip Report

I hoped to drive to 7080', but the road is closed at about the "24" in Section 24 on the map. It is washed out, gated, and posted against "motorized or mechanized" vehicles - so no bikes, either. There is parking just before the gate. Most traffic in the area appears to be ATVs.

I walked the old road. At the mapped junction at 6057' a single track (not apparently the old mapped road) heads left - but I didn't want that one anyway. The more northerly road continues in mostly driveable (if it were legal) condition to roughly 6800' where there is a large tree with a bare area - it looks like a campsite with some usage (perhaps before the gate went up?). Beyond this the road gets less and less roadlike and more and more traillike to its end at a bit below 7100' in a large opening.

If you look at the attached GPS track, I went up the easterly track. I followed animal paths into a massive ceanothus patch, but the paths ended in the middle of this and I brush-bashed my way through the rest. This is not advised, and was somewhat painful in shorts but would have been atrociously hot in long pants. Instead, if you look at the track you will see a straight line from the summit heading SSE - my GPS was off for this section. I turned it back on for the short western wiggly bit. This was through the eastern edge of a dense aspen grove with mostly non-woody undergrowth. It's still bushwhacking, but it was orders of magnitude better than the ceanothus. In sum, go west into the aspens if there are excessively brushy bits above you.

The road is easy, the brush band is the crux, and the slopes above the brush band are generally open-to-small-brush that is easy to pick a way through.

There is a register on top. I signed it, and someone signed it in 2003 - but the other entries date back to the 1930s and 1940s. The paper is very fragile; be careful in handling it.

You should note that the summit is on the Fort Hall Reservation, and permission should be obtained to hike here. However, I passed a decrepit partial fenceline (a few posts, a strand or two of barbed wire) at around 8000', and on my way down I noticed a blank sign a bit higher. In other words, the ridge is not posted as far as I can tell. I did not notice any other human activity in the area except for evidence of cattle grazing (and the register).
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2949 ft / 899 m
    Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Route:Closed road, SE slopes
    Trailhead:Gate on forest road 336  6000 ft / 1828 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Ken Jones
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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