Midnight Mountain by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 9,328 ft
Prominence: 1,268

This peak is not in the book. Published 2018


Midnight Mountain is a behemoth. It dominates the area around Green Basin, Dry Basin, and Mill Creek and is the highest peak for miles. It is an easy walk-up via the old service road on its Southeast Ridge. This road can be accessed either from Green Basin or from the Mill Creek drainage. The old service road leads up to the concrete pilings that are remnants of radio antennas that were on the summit years ago. The summit has a very tall cairn, with two other cairns nearby. It is a popular destination.

Please note that the USGS topo map fails to show FSR-1288 which goes from Dry Basin over to the west side of Midnight Mountain, where it intersects FST-329 which connects to Mahogany Basin via Green Pass. The map also fails to show the Highline ATV Trail/FST-316, which runs along the West Face of Peak 9006. These are critical errors. Both FSR-1288and FST-316 are shown on the most recent NFS map for the Montpelier/Soda Springs Ranger Districts. USGS Midnight Mountain 

Date of Climb: September 15, 2018

Northwest Face, Class 2

Access

Same as for the West Face/South Ridge Route on Peak 9006. Easier access is via Green Basin and road/trails that lead up to Green Pass (8,139 feet), which sits at the base of the Northwest Face of Midnight Mountain.

Route

From Green Pass (or a smidge NE of it), bushwhack E up a gentle slope in easy open pine forest (not much blowdown) for a short distance then head SE across a minor gully (visible on the USGS topo map) to attack the Northwest Face directly. Once across the dry gully, the slope steepens considerably. Climb S then SE up through the steep forest. The forest veg is generally short and the blowdown is not too bad. It is a consistently steep slope.

You may find it useful to have your downhill foot sideways and your uphill foot pointed upward (as you do in crampons when climbing steep, hard snow). Hey, it works. You eventually pop out on the North Spur just below the gentle summit area. Stroll southward for about 5 minutes (and 90 vertical feet) to reach the tall cairn on the summit. Enjoy the expansive views; they are amazing. You cannot help but notice how gentle the east side of this mountain is, in contrast to the much steeper, forested west side.

Nearby and to the SE, there are 7 large concrete pilings (with a couple of massive bolts protruding skyward out of them) that are about 2-1/2 feet tall. At one time, there were a series of radio antennas up here, but not anymore.

Southwest Ridge, Class 2 —DESCENT

Access

Same as for the Northwest Face Route.

Route

This descent route is designed for a return to Snow Hollow Road and its junction with ID-36. From the summit area, descend SW in open desert scrub down an area that feels more like a face than a ridge. The scrub is thick but manageable and there are scattered fir trees on the slope. Stay just to the L/S of the forested area on the R/N side of the “ridge.” The ridge bends S/L-ish partway down and then bends back to the R to resume its SW line.

Enter the forest (unavoidable at this point) and descend SW then W down to intersect FSR-1288 at the base of the Southwest Ridge. Follow FSR-1288 N then W to its junction with FST-499/Snow Hollow Trail. Follow Snow Hollow Trail back to ID-36 and your vehicle.

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Bear River Range

First Ascent Information:

  •  
  • Other First Ascent: Northwest Ridge
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  •  
  • Other First Ascent: Southwest Ridge -Descent
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.57239   Latitude: 42.27019

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