Ascent of Split Mountain on 2007-08-13

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Monday, August 13, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Split Mountain
    Elevation:7640 ft / 2328 m

Ascent Trip Report

In Vernal, on US-191 (which is locally called Vernal Avenue) less than a mile N of US-40, I turned E on 500N and noted my odometer. The road later becomes Jones Hole Road. At 2.8 miles, the road makes a slight left turn. At 7.9 miles, I turned right (E) onto an unsigned gravel road. At 8.7 miles, the road ended at a T junction where I turned right on another gravel road. At 9.9 miles, I turned left at Rainbow Valley Ranch. This road is called Island Park Road in the UT DeLorme, but it is not signed as such in the field. At 14.4 miles, I parked where the road tops out at a 4-way intersection just SE of BM Divide. The side roads in both directions are quite primitive; I tried to drive the road to the south toward Split Mountain, but in less than a minute I became very concerned about its condition and retreated back to the main gravel road, which is passable by any street-legal vehicle.

I walked up the jeep road to the south toward the base of the W ridge of Split Mountain, passing several campsites and guessing which way to go at each of several intersections. After about ½ mile, the road crossed a fence and faded amid a sagebrush flat. I continued cross-country toward the base of the W ridge of Split Mountain, then surmounted the ridge amid sage and scattered evergreens, gaining its crest at about 6600 feet and soon intercepting a two-track that proved useful to continue up toward the summit for quite some distance. Near Point 7211, however, the road degraded to what appeared to be an intermittent horse trail. From here I headed along the ridge crest N, E, and finally SE to the westernmost of three 7640 contours (just N of VABM Split) that mark the possible HPs. The going is usually unimpeded, but there is the occasional log, thicket, or boulder pile. The final approach to the W summit is open forest.

The W and SE 7640 contour areas are easily visible from each other, but their elevations are too close to call by visual comparison. A level will be needed to tell which is higher. As I traversed the ridge toward the SE area, however, I had occasional open views of Point 7642 (the N contour area), and it was clear that the SE area is a good 25 feet higher than Point 7642. Thus Point 7642 need not be visited. Because the SE area is larger than the W area and both areas are equally flat, it is probable that the SE is the highest, but a level will be needed to be sure.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2040 ft / 621 m
    Extra Gain:80 ft / 24 m
    Route:west ridge
    Trailhead:The Reef  5760 ft / 1755 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes

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