Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Graham Peak – 8867’

Graham Peak, as seen from the City of Rocks visitors center
With the lovely February weather we have been having lately, John Platt organized a road trip to the City of Rocks in Southeastern Idaho to visit some old friends of his.  Oh, and a climb of a nearby peak would also be involved.

John and Julie met Michael, Tom Lopez and me at the Albertsons parking lot early Sunday morning.  The 5 of us squeezed into the Platt’s Toyota Highlander, which is “supposed” to carry 7, for the quick 3.5 hour drive to Almo, Idaho.  There we meet up with John’s old friends, Tom Harper and Hannah North, and made the short drive to the City’s Circle Creek trailhead.

Unbeknownst to me, the City has a pretty extensive trail system.  Hannah, who has run and hiked these trails many times, led the way through the twists and turns around the many rock formations.  After about an hour, Hannah peeled off to shuttle the 7 person Highlander to our finish point, while the rest of us continued on.
Steinfell's Dome

The excellent Circle Creek Trail
Heather explaining to John just how big it is
Tom Harper
The trail switched back and forth and we eventually gained enough altitude to see our peak.  
Graham Peak
Along the way, we passed many interesting rock formations including this window.   

At roughly 7800 feet, we came to a broad plateau where Circle Creek Trail intersected with the Indian Grove Trail.  We followed the Indian Grove two track for a bit, and soon had a great view of our objective.  Rather than continue along the road, we turned right and made a beeline for the base of the peak.

After struggling through some thick sagebrush and a snow filled gully, it was time to head up the steep, mountain mahogany filled slope to the summit.  At this point the six of us wandered apart, taking slightly different routes.  The path of least resistance required staying in or near the mahogany and jumping between snow patches to minimize the exposure to the wickedly thick sagebrush. 

There are actually two people in the mahogany
Michael and I covered this final 1000 feet in about an hour, only to be blasted by 30mph winds on the summit.  In short order, Tom Lopez joined us and the three of us huddled behind a 5 foot wide radio tower building to try and stay out of the wind.  This worked for a bit, but we quickly became chilled.
Michael approaching the summit
Michael naming some distant peaks to Tom
Once John, Julie and Tom Harper joined us, we took some quick photos and bailed off the east side to get out of the wind and warm up.  Once we dropped down a few hundred feet, we stopped to take a break, get a bite to eat and enjoy the views of the City. 

As we continued down the mountain, Tom Harper entertained us with the history of the surrounding area and pointed out other hiking opportunities.  As the sun dropped below the mountains, we finally arrived at our destination at 6PM.
A look back up in the fading light.
This link details the City of Rock hiking opportunities: http://www.americasstateparks.org/park_maps/Idaho_map_City_of_Rocks_Trails_Brochure.pdf

Time: 8 hours
Distance: ~ 10 miles
Elevation: ~3200 feet

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen