Ibapah Peak
When I was perusing one of the photos from my ascent of Utah's Mount Nebo in 2010, I thought that I had spotted a big mountain to the west.  Some research on the Internet revealed that there was indeed a big mountain out there.  Ibapah Peak in the Deep Creek Mountains of western Utah actually surpasses Mount Nebo in height by about 50 metres, and oddly enough, it is also virtually due west of Mount Nebo by about 185 kilometres.  As it turns out, Ibapah Peak was actually not the mountain I spotted in my photo, but it has nevertheless been on my radar ever since I learned about it.

On my recent road trip through the western United States, I made tentative plans to climb Ibapah Peak, but I had a lot of misgivings about doing so.  The peak is in a very remote part of Utah accessible only by dirt roads, and cel phone coverage is non-existent or spotty at best.  If I were to get into any sort of trouble, help would be a very long time coming.  With these considerations, I stocked up on food and water and filled up my car's gas tank before rolling out of West Wendover, Nevada on the afternoon of 7 August 2013 (I was golfing in the morning).  The long drive to the trailhead for Ibapah Peak was in itself extraordinary.  A printed copy of the directions from proved to be invaluable, and for extra convenience, I converted all distances to metric so that I could utilize my car's odometer.  It is always a leap of faith when one turns off the reassuring pavement of a highway onto miles and miles of dirt road in uncertain conditions, especially in unfamiliar territory.  Thankfully, the dirt road was in excellent shape for most of the drive, and most junctions were signed.

Crossing back into Utah from Nevada, I passed the community of Gold Hill and did not see a single soul out and about.  Gold Hill looked like a ghost town, and if any place deserved the title of "Armpit of Utah", this was it.  I next drove through an interesting canyon that was part of the historic and ultimately doomed Pony Express route, and beyond the canyon was an interpretive display beside the stony remains of a Pony Express outpost.  After driving past the community of Callao and a CCC campground (picnic tables and fire rings but no other amenities), I turned west onto the rough Granite Creek road which goes past a ranch and eventually ends at the trailhead.  Not taking any chances, I stopped several times and got out to walk up the road a bit and check conditions.  The second of two creek crossings gave me some pause not because the creek is deep, but because there is an awkward turn down a steep embankment just before it.  I was worried about getting back up this embankment on the drive out, but after taking a closer look on foot, I felt confident that it would not pose any problems for my car.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the trailhead was deserted when I arrived, and I found a nice spot to park and set up camp.  Being all alone out here felt a little spooky, but the beautiful surroundings helped to alleviate some of my apprehension.  After eating dinner, I scrambled up some interesting rock formations near camp before retiring for the night.
It doesn't get more remote than this. Sonny stands beside his trusty '98 Honda CR-V at a makeshift campsite near the trailhead.
This was a really cool place to camp! Near the campsite, Sonny wanders on top of some rocks overlooking Granite Creek Canyon.
The next morning, 8 August 2013, I got up early and ate a quick breakfast before starting my hike.  Following the continuation of the road up the valley, I spent the first several hours hiking up toward a broad pass which separates Ibapah Peak from Red Mountain to the south.  Early on in a somewhat boggy section, there is a fork in the road which caused me a little bit of confusion, but after some trial and error, I managed to get back on track (I built a small cairn here on my return).  The road eventually downgrades to a trail which then climbs steadily up to the pass.  A few sections of trail are very steep, and views are generally limited because of the forest.  On the plus side, the forest provided much-welcomed shade from the sun, and water was plentiful along the trail.  With a few extended breaks and my usual slow but steady pace, it took me almost four hours to reach the broad pass.  From there, I headed cross-country and ascended the southwest ridge of Ibapah Peak.  There is no trail here, but the terrain is generally open and easy to navigate.  I contoured around to climber's right of a minor bump along the southwest ridge, but I went a little too high and almost missed the good trail that runs all the way to the summit from there.  This trail is a real godsend given the steepness and roughness of the final slope before the summit and the fact that I was feeling pretty tired by this point.  I staggered onto the summit of Ibapah Peak over seven hours after leaving the trailhead.

After spending about 50 minutes at the top, I began my descent by retracing my steps along the summit trail.  The summit trail eventually disappears below the minor bump, but instead of heading back to the broad pass, I simply made a beeline due south in hopes of intercepting the main trail.  Other than a little bit of unpleasant bushwhacking near the main trail, this worked out pretty well for me and helped to shave a bit of distance off the return trip.  The rest of my descent went without a hitch.

Back at the trailhead, I changed into some fresh clothes before driving back out the valley.  As I had expected, the embankment near the second creek crossing was not a problem for my car, and beyond that, it was pretty much smooth sailing back to the main dirt road.  Instead of returning to Wendover though, I turned south toward US Highway 6 and passed a few more remote communities along the way.  Near Trout Creek, I drove by a well-kept Mormon church, and oddly enough, the road is paved for the short section in front of the church.  On the outskirts of Trout Creek, I nearly hit a deer when it darted out from behind some bushes.  I had forgotten that it was getting late in the day, and I endeavoured to be more vigilant for the rest of the drive.  At Partoun, there is a modern-looking high school but not much else which prompted me to wonder about the staff and students here (be sure to read this interesting news article plus accompanying comments regarding this school).  There are apparently some warm springs near Gandy, but given the lateness of the day, I did not have the time to check it out.  After what seemed like an eternity, I finally reached US Highway 6, and it felt great to pull onto hard pavement again.  About a kilometre to the west was the Utah/Nevada border, and there is a motel/gas station/restaurant/casino/RV park situated here known as the Border Inn.  On the strength of another Ibapah Peak trip report I found on the Internet, I decided to check-in here for the night and was not disappointed.  A hot shower, a delicious meal, and a comfortable bed were a fine reward for a long day and a half spent in some very remote wilderness.
Yeah, we still have a long way to go! The trail leads to the pass at left.  On the right is Ibapah Peak.
It's best to head directly through the trees to the east side of the minor bump at centre. From the pass, Ibapah Peak (right) is about 3 kilometres away to the northeast.
Look at the bones!!! Something big died here at the pass.
It's not really worth climbing over the bump. This is looking along the crest of the southwest ridge of Ibapah Peak.  A good trail can be picked up on the east side of the minor bump at right.
I contoured a little too high here. The trail is a bit lower down. Here is a closer look at the upper mountain from the minor bump along the southwest ridge.
It would take me about another 50 minutes to reach the summit from here. The trail switchbacks up the last 200 metres or so to the summit.
I still wonder how they "catch" people disturbing this mark... Here is the summit benchmark.
Whew! That was a bloody long hike to get up here! Sonny sits on the remains of a heliograph station on the 3685-metre summit of Ibapah Peak.  Visible in the distance is the Great Salt Lake Desert.
Yes, I did go over and tag the west summit just in case! A wildfire erupts in the distance beyond the slightly lower west summit (3678 metres).

Strangely enough, there is another Ibapah Peak about 23 km to the north. It has an elevation of about 2456 metres.

Haystack Peak dominates the view to the north.

There's a cold drink waiting for me in my car somewhere down there! Granite Creek basin is to the southeast.
Striking contrast in colours! Red Mountain to the southwest is aptly named.
I wonder if there's even anyone around to notice the wildfire... Here is another look at the wildfire burning on the western horizon.
The drive to get here is almost more interesting than the climb! Total Distance:  22.3 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  11 hours 30 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  1623 metres