Mt. Raymond Summit from Mill Creek
Base Elevation: ~6,000
Summit Elevation: 10,241
Elevation Gain: 4,241 to summit; 4,491 total trip
Distance: 11.3 miles
Moving Time: 4:30
Date: July 4, 2020
I have a check list of all of the peaks that I want to bag in the Wasatch Range and they are categorized by canyons/regions and Mt. Raymond was the last peak to check off my list from the Millcreek Canyon. I have summited: Grandeur, Mt. Aire, Gobblers, Murdock, Millvue, Little Water Peak and Mt. Olympus. The reason that I have checked off the peaks in this canyon before BCC & LCC is because this canyon is dog friendly and Butter, my loyal summiting companion, loves to bag peaks as much as I do.
If you are looking for the most direct route to summit Mt. Raymond, I suggest taking Butler Fork from BCC and if you want to do it from Millcreek then Bowman Fork is the most efficient route. However, I decided to take the more serpentine route because it was July 4th and I got to the canyon late after a morning bike ride so the more popular parking lots were full. As such, I parked at the Porter Fork lot and started my journey. I was initially confused why I was hiking on pavement for so long so I asked as passing hiker if I was on the Porter Fork trail and they informed me that the first 1.5 miles of the trail was on asphalt. That is not ideal but I am sure it is the reason that this trail is less crowded. When the road ends, the trail is marked by an Mount Olympus Wilderness sign (pictured below).
The trail is very smooth and not as steep or as rocky as Alexander Basin to Gobblers. The hike up to Desolation Trail is very straightforward and fairly nondescript until the last ½ mile or so when the west side of Mt. Raymond comes into view. I was hoping I would be able to bushwhack up to the summit from this approach but no such luck as this side of Mt. Raymond is pure cliffs (see pic below).
Therefore, I was left with no other choice but to head up to Desolation Trail and circumvent Mt. Raymond around the south side to the east. Once you get on the ridge, you come to an intersection with Desolation Trail and you now have amazing views across BCC of Mt. Superior and Dromedary Peak. Summiting Raymond from the south side is doable if you want to bushwhack and in fact, I ended up coming down this way (more on that later).
As I wrapped around the east side of Mt. Raymond, I realized the Desolation Trail would link up with the Bowman Trail near Baker Pass. As I passed under the north summit of Raymond, I made the choice to cut off the triangle between Desolation and Bowman and head straight up the mountain to the Mt. Raymond Summit Trail.
It seemed rather daunting to hike straight up a steep meadow and I thought it would take me about 25 minutes but it only took 13 minutes. I was now on the Mt. Raymond Summit Trail and this is where things got interesting. With about 300-400 vertical to go, the trail runs into a steep rock wall. It appears as if the trail might wrap around to the right so I follow it few more feet and it then comes to a dead-end (cliffed out). I look at my AllTrails map and the red line is to my left so I go back to the wall and try to go to the left which also gets cliffed out. The AllTrails map indicates that I am on the left side of the “line” so I look up and realize the only way to the summit is to start climbing up a narrow rock spine. This is most certainly not for the faint of heart or a novice hiker but in all honesty- it wasn’t that bad. To put it into perspective- it is easier than the bouldering up Mt. Superior. However, there were times that I was fearful that Butter wouldn’t be able to do it but he continued to surprise me and marched right up without any hesitation. When we reached the summit, Butter immediately crashed and found a small piece of shade below a rock. It was a hot, dry hike and he was cashed.
Views from the summit:
After a few pics and refueling, I decided to take a more direct route down the southwest side of the mountain as I was concerned that Butter would have trouble managing the narrow descent plus it would save time. This section back down to the Desolation Trail was loose and rugged but we both managed it without any incident. Once we were back on the Desolation Trail, it was a short connector back to the Porter Fork trail and then an easy but long descent home. Nonetheless, I still made it home in time to attend my friends 4th of July BBQ. IMO, there is no better way to celebrate our country’s independence than standing on top of a peak!