Peak 6460 (Emery Ranch Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 6,460 ft
Prominence: 520

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This peak is not in the book. Published November 2019

Peak 6460 is an isolated peak that sits above Emery Ranch. It is a massive peak with ridges that extend in several directions. Public access is from the north via Coal Banks Creek Road/FSR-681. Most of the Emery Ranch area is private property. The summit lies just outside the bounds of the Sawtooth National Forest. USGS Ibex Peak

North Ridge, Class 2


From the center of Oakley, ID, drive ½ mile west on the main street to reach a signed left/south turn for “Oakley Reservoir.” This is the beginning of Goose Creek Road, a major north-south gravel road (though it is initially paved in Oakley) running down the east side of the South Hills, east of Oakley Reservoir, and Goose Creek. Goose Creek flows north into Oakley Reservoir.

Drive south on Goose Creek Road through the streets of Oakley and continue south, ignoring two right/west turns signed for “Oakley Reservoir.” You do NOT want to go to the reservoir (as you would for Trapper Creek Road). At 8.3 miles, you reach [unsigned] Wilson Pass and an unsigned road junction. Go straight/south here. At 15.8 miles, turn right/west onto [signed] FSR-681/Coal Banks Creek Road. The smooth, wide gravel of Goose Creek Road is over and Coal Banks Creek Road is not ashamed to frighten you right from the start as you must drop slightly to ford Goose Creek.

Coal Banks Creek Road is narrow but isn’t too rough for the first 1.5 miles, where you reach an unsigned junction. Go right here to stay on Coal Banks Creek Road. The road gets more rutted and rockier now and has a few moderately steep sections, but it is passable for a 4WD vehicle with decent ground clearance. At 3.7 miles, there is a small pullout area on the left side of the road with a dispersed primitive campsite. Park here (5,600 feet).

The Climb

From the primitive campsite, bushwhack south through an easy section of scattered junipers to reach the steep open scrub-and-gravel face of a ridge. Climb up this face onto the ridge and continue south until the ridge ends at a wide gully that separates this ridge from the main, pronounced northeast spur of the north ridge of Peak 6460. You will see a massive gap between Point 6282 and an unnamed ridge point west of it as you look south across the wide gully.

Proceed southwest from here to reach a spur ridge that protrudes northwest from the main summit ridge of Peak 6460. Bushwhack through sagebrush to get up onto this subridge in a flattish area. Once you reach the crest of the subridge, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a decent ATV road that follows the ridge crest, at least briefly. This is FST-879. It is shown on the Sawtooth National Forest map but is NOT shown on the USGS topo maps covering this area (Blue Hill and Ibex Peak quadrangles).

Follow this old road (FST-879) as it soon turns right/southwest to move through a wide gully and track the north side of the northeast spur of the north ridge. FST-879 eventually climbs leftward up onto the northeast spur where the spur joins the north ridge, just west of Point 6346.

Continue to hike along FST-879 as it follows the ridge crest southward over a gentle hump/false summit and then drops south-southeast to a gentle saddle and an unsigned road junction. Continue southeast on FST-879 as it climbs from this saddle up to the summit plateau of Peak 6460. The high point on this summit plateau is a bit difficult to determine. Leave FST-879 and scramble southwest on the plateau into an area of scattered junipers, easy scrub, and scattered ground talus/boulders. In spite of the higher contour interval in the middle of the summit plateau, the southwest area of the plateau seems to be the high point based on altimeter measurements and visuals.

There were no summit cairns anywhere on the summit plateau. I scrambled northeast back to the center of the plateau and continued northeast to where the plateau begins to descend to Point 6,400+, a small, rocky, forested point that is clearly lower than both the center and southwest end of the summit plateau. Visuals show that both when standing in the center of the plateau and when standing on the massive false summit hump ¾ mile away to the northwest.

Once again, the USGS Ibex Peak quadrangle is nothing but a source of confusion as to where the summit high point actually is. The quad assigns an elevation of 6,442 feet to the northeast point, yet the elevation point is positioned BELOW the 6,400-foot contour line. Now explain that one to me. Perhaps the USGS mapmakers intended to place the 6,442-foot mark in the center of the summit plateau, above the 6,440-foot contour line that lies there. Who knows?

This is yet another flat summit plateau with inconsistent measurements from the USGS that mandate that you walk around and satisfy yourself that you stood on the high point which I did. It wastes some time but it’s an unfortunate necessity with such ambiguity from both the terrain and the topographical map that you are relying upon.

Additional Resources

Mountain Range: South Hills

Longitude: -114.01559   Latitude: 42.04059

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