Ascent of South Tent Mountain on 2015-08-23

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, August 23, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:South Tent Mountain
    Elevation:11285 ft / 3439 m

Ascent Trip Report

Expected a nice former wagon road/ATV trail zigzagging up the SW slope of North Tent. But when the Forest Service destroyed this old road, they started near the top, leaving large berms and rocks all the way down to Skyline Drive. Not only impossible for motorized travel, but difficult to walk. At one point, I bailed out and walked a short section of a clear drainage ditch. However, it still provided the best route through the thorny brush (I think it's Alpine Prickly Currant) that nearly covers the slopes of North and South Tent Mtns. Once on top, the ridges were much easier to walk.
First went north on the ridge to a highpoint that I found about 10 ft higher than its twin, using a 5X hand level. Then walked over the south end of North Tent, and dropped about 310 ft down across the saddle to South Tent. Stayed near the crest, occasionally finding a trail on the sloping dirt on the NE side.
Probably great views on top, but smoke from wildfires reduced real visibility down to about 20 mi. Mt Nebo was just a hazy silhouette 35 mi NW.
Lot of discussion in reports and in the summit register about which roads are better. Today I came up Skyline Dr from the south. In the south end of Ephraim, look for signs to Ephraim Canyon. If you don't see one on US89, go east on 400 South. Ephraim Canyon road is good wide gravel, but frequently washboarded, making for an uncomfortable ride. Skyline drive starts gravel before becoming hard dirt with a couple minor ruts to straddle. Still, today, most cars could make it to the trailhead from the south.
Going out, I went north on Skyline Dr. It immediately deteriorated with occasional cross dips and a few protruding rocks requiring at least moderate clearance (my stock Pathfinder). Contrary to what I read on Summitpost, I can't imagine Skyline Dr from the north ever being better than from the south. I did not, however, go down Spring Canyon to Spring City. I continued on Skyline and descended down Potters Canyon to the east. Skyline never really improved much. Potters Canyon was much better, but still had one dip that will cause trouble for passenger cars. It's great for SUVs, dropping you onto Miller Flat Road only a few miles south of the trailhead for East Mtn.
Being hard-packed dirt and very little rock, these conditions probably change from time to time. It's apparently been dry lately; not even any mud or dampness in the ruts or dips. But Skyline Drive from either direction should NOT BE DRIVEN WHEN VERY WET.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1459 ft / 443 m
    Elevation Loss:1459 ft / 443 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1129 ft / 343 m
    Extra Loss:390 ft / 118 m
    Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Route:North Tent Mtn
    Trailhead:Skyline Drive  10546 ft / 3214 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 27 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1069 ft / 325 m
    Extra Gain:330 ft / 100 m
    Distance:1.9 mi / 3.1 km
    Route:North Tent Mtn
    Trailhead:Skyline Drive  10546 ft / 3214 m
    Time Down:1 Hours 10 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Richard Hensley
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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