Ascent of Oregon Canyon Mountains Peak on 2019-10-18
|Others in Party:||Kenley B.|
----Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Friday, October 18, 2019|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Hi-Clearance Vehicle|
|Peak:||Oregon Canyon Mountains Peak|
| Elevation:||8027 ft / 2446 m|
Ascent Trip ReportIn search of a less risky vehicular approach to this peak (read the other trip reports to see what I mean about risk), I plotted a course on what is essentially the east ridge of the peak. I can confirm that both the approach and the hike work great, at least in dry conditions, although a high-clearance vehicle is still required if you want to drive as far as we did. Also, much of the approach may be too muddy to drive in wet conditions, since it's on dirt. To the best of my knowledge, both the approach and hike are entirely on BLM land, but this is active cattle country.
I can't compare the approach with that of the south route from Disaster Peak Road, since I haven't done that one. My impression is that this hiking route is more difficult, but potentially much shorter, depending on whether you can make the creek crossing on the south route.
We took Cleto Road west from US 95 and then followed a left-hand spur through two barbed-wire gates (please be sure to leave these how you found them). Cleto Road is gravel in great condition; the spur and subsequent roads are dirt. In dry conditions, the dirt road is probably easily navigable by a standard passenger vehicle, except for some sagebrush growing between the wheel tracks. We were in a Subaru Forester, so I don't know how well this would work with less ground clearance. After passing under a power line, the road becomes more rocky, and there is a moderately steep stream crossing, which was dry when we were there.
We hiked up a steep but otherwise easy gap in the cliffs to reach the bottom of a major east-west ridge at about 5700 ft. We worked our way through a series of low rimrock bands on the ridge until reaching a steep slope at 6700 ft leading to a prominent butte at the top of the ridge. This can be climbed directly or by skirting around to the northeast corner of the butte. Either way involves some minor loose rock and routefinding around cliff bands. We went up one way and down the other.
There is a prominent game trail between 7300 and 7400 ft on the north side of the butte/ridge. It wraps halfway around the east side of the butte at about 7340 ft. Once on the trail, it's an easy traverse along the north side of the butte to the saddle separating the butte ridge from the summit. This portion of the hike provides great views into Angel Canyon, which is pretty impressive with its crags and cliff bands, and is the main highlight of this route.
From the saddle (7530 ft), it's a short climb to the summit. There is a band of rimrock around the edge of the summit, which can be surmounted as a Class 2 scramble in several locations.
The descent was uneventful.
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