Ascent of Monroe Peak on 2015-08-04

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Monroe Peak
    Elevation:11227 ft / 3421 m

Ascent Trip Report

Originally planned to ascend the NW ridge to the Communication Tower on the north peak from the switchbacks NW of Devils Dutch Oven. On Google Earth, it looked like an interesting way to get my mandated 1000ft of climb. But when I got there and looked at that north face, with its combination of very steep slope, dense pine trees, and scrambling rocks, I again played it safe with my knee recovering from surgery. So I drove back and made the boring walk up the drivable road. Went to the north peak to get my 1000 ft.

Coming from Fish Lake Mtn, Forest Service map in hand (and needed), and plenty of time (but not gas), I decided to take the backroads from Koosharem. From Center St, I went up the Koosharem Canyon Rd. There's a turnout at the bottom with a crude road/ATV map. After the switchbacks up onto the high meadow area, I stayed straight at a "T" onto Monroe Mtn Rd, which I knew did NOT go to Monroe Pk. My 1st plan was to quickly turn left onto road 084 (Google calls Koosharem Pasture Rd), for the shortest way to the peak. But road 084 looks rarely used, and the FS map shows it mostly crossing private land. Though there were no signs prohibiting its use, I decided to go back to the "T" and turn SW onto Monroe Mtn Rd, opposite direction, but still does NOT go to the peak. Numerous side roads come off of this. I only saw one more sign for Monroe Mtn Rd, but it was consistently and reliably signed for Paiute ATV Trail, which I knew I wanted to take to the west side of the mountain. Despite its name, it is fine for all SUVs (I used 4WD but don't think it was necessary) and usually wide enough for 2 cars to slowly pass. But it curved all over the place and always up and down, and I watched my gauge steadily drop from the 1/4 tank I had at Koosharem. I started going downhill slowly in neutral to conserve gas. I stopped at every major intersection and consulted the FS map, because there was never a mention of Monroe Pk. Past the turnoff for Upper Box Canyon Rsvr, the road narrowed, and had recently received some fresh rock and dirt from a nearby borrow pit. Barely packed, it was rough but likely a long-term improvement. Map in hand, I looked for and finally found my turnoff toward Monroe Meadows and Brindley Flat. I was now on Monroe Canyon Rd, which goes past those 2 areas, and then around the south and west flanks of the peak. My greatest gas fear was seeing a sign warning of a burn area and possible washouts ahead. Luckily yesterday's deluge at Fish Lake must have missed this area, because there was no way I'd make it back to Koosharem. After car-camping the night in the small meadow opposite Fitzgerald Park, I drove back to the signed road for Monroe Pk and walked up. Not certain (since I didn't drive it), but I think was okay for most cars, but there may have been one short steeper section where 4WD might be necessary. I then successfully coasted most of the way down to Monroe. This part of Monroe Canyon Rd also curved all over the place, and seemed to take forever, when you're low on gas. It is suitable for cars.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1162 ft / 353 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1162 ft / 353 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1092 ft / 332 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 952 ft / 290 m; Extra: 140 ft / 42m
    Loss on way in:140 ft / 42 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Route:FR 165
    Start Trailhead:Monroe Cyn Rd 078  10275 ft / 3131 m
    Time:1 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1022 ft / 311 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 952 ft / 290 m; Extra: 70 ft / 21m
    Gain on way out:70 ft / 21 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:FR 165
    End Trailhead:Monroe Cyn Rd 078  10275 ft / 3131 m
    Time:57 Minutes

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