Lincoln County High Point Trip Report

one mile south of Mount Grafton on Mount Grafton topographic quadrangle (10,660 ft)

Date: July 4, 2003
Author: Richard Carey

Note: All NAD27 UTM coordinates are in zone 11S.

This route follows the drive-in described by Andy Martin in his 1998 report, but Gail Hanna and I stopped short of the steep climb up to the mine and hiked up Mill Creek Canyon instead. This is a BLM Wilderness Study Area and some roads may have changed.

Driving Directions:

Take highway 93 south of Ely or north of Pioche and in Lake Valley there is a sign marking the White Pine and Ely County boundary opposite the Geyser Ranch. About 0.1 miles south of the sign go west on a dirt road with a gate just off the highway. This road is full of rock and a high-clearance vehicle is needed. I used 4WD low-range on this bone-jarring road to creep along slowly. After 0.2 miles there is another gate which will give you good upper-body exercise. At 1.1 miles go straight as you cross a north-south fence line that is the Study Area boundary. At 1.8 miles go right at a junction and at 1.9 miles go left. The road is rough as you climb up to the base of the mountain. At 3.8 miles we stopped at mine ruins where there is good camping at about 7600 feet. UTM here is (700190 E, 4283170 N). The road continues up the mountain, but the hike can be done from here. The County high point is visible from here and is 1.86 miles on a bearing of 273 degrees.

Hiking Route:

Hike west up the road to the first switchback where it turns left. From here leave the road and continue west into the canyon. There are some brushy areas, but not excessive. Stay near the south side of the stream and in spots there are signs of an old cattle route which is the clearest path in spite of many fallen logs. Carvings on the aspens tell of use by Basque shepherds around 1933 and 1958.

After about a mile the canyon narrows and you want to break out onto the slope heading west which has broad open areas. Head up the slope to the ridge and then north on talus to the cairn which is by the last pine tree before the summit. The cairn is actually about 44 meters too far north according to my GPS readings. The county line is closer to the end of the tree line where the open talus starts. This route is 4 miles round-trip with a gain of 3100 feet. It took us 4 hours for the ascent and about three hours back down.

Mount Grafton is about a mile further north along the ridge and takes about an hour each way due to talus difficulties. This summit has the distinction of being the highest peak on BLM land in the lower 48 states.

The following is a GPS Route file for Garmin receivers that may be loaded into your GPS using the free program Waypoint+ or the points may be entered by hand.

Datum,North America 1927 mean,Clarke 1866,-69.4,-0.37264639,-8,160,176 RN,14 ,TO P10660FT

RP,UTM,LINC1 , 11S ,700190,4283170,07/04/2003,00:00:00,CAMP
RP,UTM,LINC2 , 11S ,699690,4283098,07/04/2003,00:00:00,CLEARING
RP,UTM,LINC3 , 11S ,699372,4283082,07/04/2003,00:00:00,ON PATH
RP,UTM,LINC4 , 11S ,698897,4283024,07/04/2003,00:00:00,ON PATH
RP,UTM,LINC5 , 11S ,698476,4282941,07/04/2003,00:00:00,START SLOPE
RP,UTM,LINC6 , 11S ,698020,4282990,07/04/2003,00:00:00,ON SLOPE
RP,UTM,LINC7 , 11S ,697590,4282985,07/04/2003,00:00:00,ON SLOPE
RP,UTM,LINC8 , 11S ,697276,4282945,07/04/2003,00:00:00,NEAR RIDGE
RP,UTM,LINC9 , 11S ,697192,4283209,07/04/2003,00:00:00,COUNTY LINE
RP,UTM,LINC10, 11S ,697193,4283253,07/04/2003,00:00:00,CAIRN