Ascent of Mount Ellen on 2017-06-07

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Ellen
    Elevation:11522 ft / 3511 m

Ascent Trip Report

It's a fairly interesting mountain since it's an isolated island in the middle of the Utah desert. This, however, makes it a little challenging to access. I decided on using the western approach since there was an ascent a few week prior indicating that the road was manageable. It is worth noting that the summitpost instructions are a bit out of date. It is around 9 miles from Cainsville to the road to Notom, and it is a major intersection right before a sign for Capitol Reef NP. This must be fairly recent, but the Notom road is paved all the way to at least Sandy Ranch and likely much further. Right before Sandy Ranch is a sign pointing toward McMillan Campground, which is around 19 miles away on this dirt BLM road. The roadbed is quite good, and the creek crossing was no problem at all. But, there are many sections that have a lot of sand including some uphill stretches. I was never genuinely worried about getting stuck, but my AWD engaged half a dozen times due to loss of traction. In consideration of how high the stakes are to get stuck in 100F desert with not much around in any direction, I would seriously hesitate to take a low clearance 2WD vehicle on this road. That said, I get the impression that the BLM at least annually grades the road and perhaps removes much of this sand.

I parked Bull Creek Pass and hiked the ridge from there as the sun was rising. It's quite beautiful as the mountains fall away quickly to the desert below. The highest point is just the largest bump on the ridge. Mount Ellen Peak looked about just as tall, so I dropped down and climbed that as well.

On my return to the car, I decided to try completing the traverse and heading out east. I did see one couloir that the road crosses, which looks like it was still filled with snow. It turned out that within 0.1 mi from the pass there were still significant snow banks covering the road. It appears that the western approach melts out sooner.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1046 ft / 318 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Route:South Ridge
    Trailhead:Bull Creek Pass  10476 ft / 3193 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:34 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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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