Ascent of Dry Fork Ridge on 2010-07-21

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Dry Fork Ridge
    Elevation:8480 ft / 2584 m

Ascent Trip Report

From WY-345, at a point 0.84 miles S of the MT border or 5.0 miles N of the junction with WY-343, I turned W on CR-144 (aka Pass Creek Rd). Call this point mile 0.0. At mile 4.2 I passed Twin Creek Ranch on my R. At mile 6.3 I stayed straight where CR-142 (aka Slack Rd) goes R. At mile 7.6 I stayed straight where CR-21 (aka E Pass Creek Rd) goes L. At mile 10.0 a sign indicates the Kerns Wildlife Habitat Management Area on the L, which is closed from Nov 1 to May 31. I drove through the open gate. The road climbed, then leveled off at a major construction site on the L at 10.5 miles. At 10.7 miles, the road became a gravel 2-track and a sign on a fence said no camping or parking next 2.8 miles from Oct 10 to Oct 31. The road climbed gradually across a large open grassy field with a few spots where a vehicle without high clearance may ground out. At mile 12.0 the road dipped slightly, after which the road climbed steeply and became heavily rutted; 4WD would be required past this point. A sign said no parking or camping, so I parked before the sign and began my hike at this point. Elevation was ~5750'.

The road climbed up a steep open grassy field for about 1000' gain, then the gradient eased up. The road then skirted the R side of a small hill, dropped about 100' to a saddle, and resumed climbing through increasingly forested terrain. At first it stayed on the crest of a ridge, but then it veered off the L side of the crest and made an ascending traverse. It also degenerated from a jeep track to a foot trail. At about 7750', the trail crossed a gully in a steep bouldery clearing. Just past this crossing is an unmapped junction. The topo map shows the trail making a level traverse around into the next gully, but I climbed uphill and re-entered the forest on an unmapped trail that headed more directly for the summit of Dry Fork Ridge. The trail was braided, but stays on the L side of the gully, which is forested on the L side and open on the R side. The gradient eases up and the forest gradually thins out, and eventually I found myself heading up an open sagebrush slope directly to the summit of Dry Fork Ridge. There are a few roads here, but they have little resemblence to those shown on the topo map. The crest of Dry Fork Ridge is mostly open on its NE side and forested on its SW side. Several quartz slabs under immature pine trees serve as candidates for the highest ground. I touched them all, but I'm 90% sure which is the highest, and I built a cairn on that one.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2930 ft / 892 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Trailhead:5750 ft / 1752 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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