Ascent of Old Man Mountain on 2020-07-01

Climber: Tom Gathright

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Old Man Mountain
    Elevation:11064 ft / 3372 m

Ascent Trip Report

Old Man Mountain sure made me feel like an old man and there must be an easier way to reach the summit than from Old Man Canyon. Someone signed the register in early May 2020 saying they came up from the south side, but other than that there is little beta on people's routes. I sort of followed the Kruis route on the ascent with some minor changes.

I did not drive into the canyon rather I parked right at the end of the ridge on the south side of the canyon and started ascending it from there. That made the initial part of the ascent pretty easy albeit steep and slow. The worst portion of the ascent came at the start of going around the first white rock outcropping and it didn't get better until reaching the Bristlecone Pine forest near the base of the summit block cliffs. I approached the Mountain Mahogany tree grove and did not want to bushwhack through it so I veered to the far south side of the first big rocky outcrop, unfortunately that cliffed out so it was back to the Mahogany side. This is an ugly bushwhack, good thing I was carrying a long sleeve shirt which helped minimize the scratches and cuts. There are a few places where one can maneuver along the rocks to somewhat avoid the bushwhack, be prepared for a bushwhack.

Around the mid point of the second big rocky outcrop one enters into a Bristlecone forest and gets out of the Mahogany, from there it is just a steep ascent. Great views from the summit making the summit a rewarding respite. While I was ascending the ridge south of Old Man Canyon I kept looking to the ridge on the north side. I spotted what I figured would be a good weakness to work through the long rock bands and the top of the ridge looked like it was a larger Bristlecone Pine forest. So that was my descent route.

The initial part of the descent worked perfectly, good footing, inside a beautiful Bristlecone forest and it was a pleasant stroll. Then below the 10,000 foot contour where the Mountain Mahogany was the primary tree that too worked good; there were wide spaces allowing one to descend w/o bushwhacking. Too bad that changed when I started going more steeply down from the saddle to about the 9200 foot contour line. That was a brutal bushwhack. Then the terrain opens up to a sage meadow all the way down to the 8600 foot contour where I ended up at the weakness I had seen from the south ridge. The descent down the weakness was slow going as it was pretty loose, but no cliffs or dry falls. I popped out on the jeep trail leading deeper up Old Man Canyon and walked it out to my truck.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3923 ft / 1195 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.9 mi / 11.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3923 ft / 1195 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.5 km
    Route:Ridge south of Old Man Cyn
    Start Trailhead:7141 ft / 2176 m
    Time:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.7 km
    Route:Ridge north of Old Man Cyn
    Time:2 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Tom Gathright
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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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