Josephine County High Point Trip Report

Grayback Mountain (7,048 feet)

Date: June 14, 2003
Author: Bob Bolton

At Grants Pass, we drove south on US199 and turned left on SR238 toward Murphy and Applegate. Just before crossing to the north side of the Applegate River at Applegate, we turned right on the Thompson Creek Road and drove into Rogue River National Forest where the road became FR10. We turned right on FR1005 and drove to the end looking for desirable camping spots. The nearest spot to the TH was down about 0.5 mile where we found some flat ground. The weather had improved tremendously, so we left the rain fly off the tent to dry out and slept under the open mesh ceiling, enjoying the light of the full moon.

Since this was the only HP planned for Saturday we leisurely got ready and headed up the trail. At a switchback at 5,720 feet we left the trail and headed up the open slopes directly toward the summit ridge, instead of staying in the forest with many uncleared blow-downs that were hindering our progress. On the ridge we were able to find mostly easy paths through the brush, with mostly easy walking except for some stretches of small boulders. On the summit we had fabulous 360 views from Mt. McLoughlin to Mt. Shasta, and of the northern CA ranges. There was a nifty-looking alpine peak that looked quite a bit higher than us, apparently in Siskiyou County and therefore surpassed by Mt. Shasta. It would have been significantly higher than Del Norte County's HP, Bear Mountain. I haven't been able to identify this peak yet, however.

We returned by going north on the ridge and connecting to the trail where it came through the gap. There was still quite a bit of snow east of the crest, so we took advantage of that for easy walking. At one point Dean took a spill on a rock that didn't hold its position, coming down on his left hand and hurting his wrist. He applied snow to the injury, then continued down the ridge still using his trekking pole in the left hand. The pain started getting worse, so after we got onto the trail and negotiated around several big trees, he stopped at the switchback at 6,200 feet to put on an ace bandage. Here we decided to go back out onto the open slope and descend to the 5,720 switchback to avoid the blow-downs.

The remainder of the hike was uneventful, and Dean kept repeating that we would still complete our trip as planned by climbing South Sister on Sunday. After eating Mexican in Medford, however, I finally convinced him to get on home and get that wrist checked out, so our trip was cut short, and we only got 4 of the planned 6 counties.

summit GPS-derived coordinates (42.11002° N, 123.31128° W) - datum?