Peak 8974 (Middle Bloomington Peak) by Livingston Douglas

Elevation: 8,974 ft
Prominence: 554

This peak is not in the book. Published November 2018


Peak 8974 sits at the head of the Middle Fork Bloomington Creek drainage. Unlike its rocky brethren to the east (Peak 8963 and Peak 8852), this peak is a gentle giant. It has a magnificent South Ridge. You are likely to find cattle grazing on its lower slopes.

Date of Climb:  August 25, 2018

East Ridge, Class 2

Access

This ridge climb begins at the 8,260-foot connecting saddle between Peak 8963 and Peak 8974. It is a section of the ridge traverse from Peak 8852 (Castletop Peak). Please refer to the Southeast Ridge Route and West Ridge Route for Castletop Peak for detailed information on the access from the Middle Fork Bloomington Creek Road/FSR-426. Please refer to the East Ridge Route and Southwest Ridge Route for White Face Peak for detailed information on those sections of the ridge traverse. If you plan to climb Peak 8974 separately, you can reach the 8,260-foot saddle by hiking (or driving) up the Middle Fork Road/FSR-426 all the way to the saddle.

Route

From the 8,260-foot saddle, scramble W up the ridge to a flat area just above 8,400 feet. The ridge bends rightward here and climbs NW to reach a critical turn at a ridge hump (8,680+ elevation). From this ridge hump, follow the ridge crest westward (requiring a 45-foot drop off the hump) to reach the summit. The East Ridge is a mix of talus/scree embedded rock and desert scrub (with gaps in it) then mostly desert scrub higher up (not too difficult). The ridge crest has a line of pine trees on it, with gaps in between them, so it is easy to stay on or close to the ridge crest for the easiest climb. No game trails or cattle trails to help out.

The high point of Peak 8974 is a protruding boulder/fin on the ridgeline. There was a small cairn on a [slightly lower] boulder about 30 feet from the high point. Since it was impossible to build a cairn atop the narrow boulder/fin, I added some rocks to the existing cairn to make it more visible. After suffering through the climbs of Castletop Peak and White Face Peak, it was a JOY to cruise to the top of Peak 8974.

South Ridge/East Spur, Class 2 —DESCENT

Access

Same as for the East Ridge Route.

Route

From the summit, follow the ridgeline SW then S. The South Ridge is open, obvious, and beautiful. The terrain is easy desert scrub with a broken rock base. Stay near the ridge crest to avoid much thicker desert scrub below it. There are sporadic pine trees on the ridge crest and blowdown to avoid near them. Leave the ridge at 8,400 feet (just before it descends and dies out at the head of a drainage) and turn L/E to descend the East Spur. In this open terrain, it is easy to spot the East Spur, which begins more as a face than a ridge.

The East Spur is open scrub high up (on the “face” portion of it) but quickly becomes thickly forested after you drop about 100 feet from the South Ridge. You might find cattle grazing in this forest, as I did. Aim for Point 8007, which lies near the terminus of the East Spur. While the East Spur goes relatively quickly, it has sections of thick scrub and blowdown to wrestle with. After reaching Point 8007 (a hump of desert scrub), descend ESE into a dry drainage that has a “Christmas Tree Farm” of short pines in it (visible from Point 8007).

Follow a good cattle trail on the R/S edge of the Christmas trees and follow it down to where it reaches an old, grass-covered jeep road. Turn R/S onto the old road and follow it briefly to reach a much stronger jeep road. Turn L/NE onto this jeep road/FSR-1208 and hike ¼ mile on it to reach a junction with FSR-426/Middle Fork Road. Walk down FSR-426 to return to your parking spot. Expect to see lots of cattle on or near FSR-426 with cattle trails on both sides of the dusty road.

Climber Trip Reports

Mountain Range: Bear River Range

First Ascent Information:

  • Other First Ascent: East Ridge
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas
  •  
  • Other First Ascent: South Ridge/East Spur -Descent
  • Year: 2018
  • Season: Summer
  • Party: Livingston Douglas

Longitude: -111.60979   Latitude: 42.19089

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