Bull Mountain, UT


We get lost on Bull Mountain in a raging 1.5"/hour snowstorm .

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Big Dan invited us on a climb of Bull Mountain, Utah. This peak is just south of the border, basically due south of City of the Rocks. Dan had figured the drive time and determined a 5am roll out. We were at the Clear Creek Recreation Area campground at about 8:30.

I had done some reading on summitpost, and the consensus was that we were in for some serious downfall followed by bushwacking. Fun. Snowing lightly.


The start of the hike was pretty obvious. We were following an ATV trail with recent ATV tracks. There were a couple signs that matched the summitpost info. And then the downfall was really bad, which seemed to match the SP (summitpost) info. But it seemed we were taking a longer time than expected.

Then, when we finally came across a creek crossing at 8000' as detailed in the SP info, the terrain did not match the topo. And neither did anything in the TR (trip report).


Being the knucklehead I am, I over-optimistically made the topo match up (in my mind), and we were off up this steep drainage. Note that the snow seems to be getting deeper. Must be the altitude....

Shortly after this slippery sidehill section, we put on the snowshoes.

We made it up to about 8700'. Things were not looking good, and it was about 1:30. Time to call it a day.


At that point we knew we were in the wrong drainage. So we tried to traverse into the "right" drainage. Which was an 11 on the scale of heinousness. My apologies to the group. But we did eventually get into another drainage, which was also full of deadfall and leg traps. Plus, now there was serious snow covering everything, but too light to pack down or provide flotation. Note the depth of the trench. Can you find Dylan?


When we got back to our previous tracks, they were barely recognizable. It was dumping! What happened to our 'slight chance of snow.'

But at least we were back on track. We should be able to reverse the maze of deadfall and it should go fairly quickly.

Low on the ridge

That's what Steve and Margo were thinking. See, they're smiling.



But there was too much new snow and we could not follow our tracks. More heinous (but new!) wading through, over, and around deadfall followed.
SummitPhoto by Margo

When we got back to the cars, I whipped out a tape measure (don't ask...) and there was a full 9" of fresh snow on the picnic table. Now our next concern: getting the cars out to the highway. But that went fine and a very tired group made it home at about 8pm.

SummitPhoto by Margo

But the next morning, this trip was still bugging me. What the heck went wrong? So I studied the map some more, and finally determined (I think) that we were in a way wrong drainage. The map shows where I think we were. The folks on the trip will recognize the landmarks I have drawn on the map. And John will now know why his GPS kept telling us that despite our hard work, we weren't getting any closer to the summit.

A combination of tough terrain, snow covering the route markers, stormy weather, and low visibilty thwarted our summit attempt, but we still had a good time. I think.

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