Elevation: 6,821 ft
This peak is not in the book. The name is derived from a City of Rocks National Reserve sign. Published November 2018
Peak 6821 is the easternmost summit within the boundaries of the City of Rocks National Reserve. It is a rocky, thickly forested peak that sees few visitors. The only reasonable way to climb Peak 6821 on public land is via the East Entrance to the City of Rocks.
Date of Climb: September 24, 2018
South Face/Southeast Ridge, Class 2+
From the junction of ID-77 and Elba Road/1950 South in Elba, drive 12.7 miles south on ID-77 (passing through Almo on the way) to a signed R/W turn for the City of Rocks National Reserve at 3075 South. This paved road is unofficially called the “City of Rocks Road.” Set your odometer to 0.0 here. At 2.0 miles, you reach the City of Rocks East Entrance Sign. Park here (5,805 feet).
From the East Entrance Sign pullout area, take a good look NE at the only feasible route to climb Peak 6821 from this side. The South Face is a rather ugly, rocky mess but it has one weakness—an obvious, wide grassy slope/chute that leads directly up onto the Southeast Ridge. And you have a perfect view of it from here. When you bushwhack across the thick desert scrub, aim for the base of that grassy chute.
Bushwhack NE through the tall desert scrub (mostly sagebrush) to reach a hidden, deep drainage. This dry gully is clogged with thick brush on both its rim as well as its base. You must drop 8-10 vertical feet on steep, crumbly gravel to reach the bottom of the drainage and then climb back out on the other side. This effort is the only Class 2+ section of the route. You will be pulling on brush/bushes to pull yourself out of this drainage. Once across the hidden drainage, weave your way across the desert scrub to reach the base of the grassy chute.
The grassy chute begins as a dry gully and morphs into a steep face. Stay just to the R/E of a rocky buttress. Grind your way up the gravel-and-scrub slope. Thankfully, the scrub is not tall or thick here. The open terrain ends at the top of the grassy chute and you enter a forest of junipers, pines, and ground boulders. It is critical to remember where you enter the forest because you must find the top of the grassy chute on your descent (use an altimeter or GPS here). This is not easy, because on the descent you are bashing your way through a thick forest with little visibility. At the forest entry point, you still have 400 vertical feet of uphill to go.
You have reached the rounded Southeast Ridge when you enter the forest. Work your way upward in a NW direction, around and through the pines to reach the small summit. There is a small cairn on the high point. Views are somewhat limited but you do have a view WNW toward Granite Peak (7,689 feet) and the wicked ridge chop between here and there.
When you descend, it is very easy to start drifting too far to the east, so be careful. Use your instruments judiciously. If you curl southward too early as you descend, you’ll reach impossible cliff bands and rocky outcrops. If that occurs, contour L/E to find the top of the grassy ramp. When you find it, you will be greatly relieved and you’ll have a cruise back down to the East Entrance and your waiting vehicle.
Climber Trip Reports