- CJ Wolf
Ostler Peak Summit
Summit Elevation: 12,718
Elevation Gain: 2,339
Distance: 3.6 miles (would have been less if I didn’t go too far west on the way down)
Moving Time: 3:15
Date: July 27, 2021
I was on a father/son camping trip at the base of Ostler Peak in the Amethyst Basin and this mammoth peak was calling my name. I tried to convince the boys to join me but this imposing mass of rock was quite intimidating and deterring. We were camping on the eastern side of Ostler Peak
and from our vantage point- there didn’t seem like an obvious or possible hiking route to the summit. Nonetheless, I was determined to summit this peak but if didn’t want to be gone from the group too long- it had to get an early start. As such, I set my alarm for 4:45 AM and I hit the trail with my headlamp on just before 5:00 AM.
I had researched the route before our trip and did a recon mission to the north base of the mountain to get a better perspective of the route the day before. Once you view this mountain from the north/northwest- you get a much better understanding of the route and you gain confidence that climbing this mound of rocks is doable. From our campsite, I headed south on the main Amethyst Lake trail until I reached a small unnamed lake and then I headed west which takes you up a small hill. Once you climb this small hill, you are now at the northern base of Ostler Peak which is the official starting point. If you are coming from Ostler Lake- just head south towards the mountain along the ridge until you get to mountain’s tail.
Now that you are at the foot of Ostler Peak, start climbing up the north/western side of the mountain.
My one advice for this entire summit hike is – when in doubt, stay to the western side of the mountain. The bottom 400-500 feet comprises of very loose shale and you often lose your footing or slide for a second but it is nothing concerning. You quickly gain elevation as it is steep. I gained over 1,300 in the first mile and about 1,000 in the next .7 of a mile. Below is a picture of my route and you will notice that you DON’T climb to the top of the first peak on the northern side of the mountain. If you do that, you will simply have to down climb as you head south. But that will become obvious as you climb because you will reach a cliff band on the lower part of the mountain and your only option will be travel south and west at the base of the cliff. Once you pass the cliff band, continue to follow the ridge and you will soon come to a notch or saddle (see pic) that offers amazing views of Amethyst Lake and I was treated to the sun rising over the mountains on the east. At this point, you will have climbed about 800 feet from the base and .6 miles.
From the notch, the route is straight forward but daunting. There is a long, wide of boulders to climb.
The good news is that the boulders are bigger and more stable than the scree field that you passed below. There is no “right way” to climb this section so just head up the middle of this boulder field. It looks long but keep your head down and you will be amazed at how much ground you cover in a short period of time. You will then come to another cliff band and it will push your west (to your right) but keep looking for a manageable climb up (it isn’t that technical if you are patient). Once you get to the top of this field, it will flatten out and you will think you can see the summit but this is a false summit. This next piece of info will save you some time and disappointment. Don’t aim for this false summit because you will have to down climb the back side of it to reach the true summit. As such, go around this false summit to the west (your right) and once you pass this false summit- you will see the true summit. If you do climb to the false summit as I did- it is no big deal and you will be at the true summit in about 10 minutes.
The allure of summiting is the sense of accomplishment and the spectacular 360 degree views and Ostler’s views didn’t disappoint. To the east you can see Gilbert (13,435- third highest peak in Utah) and Mount Powell (13,149). I am sure King’s Peak is visible as well but my app couldn’t identify which peak it was.
One the way down, I went too far to the west so make sure you retrace your route on an app like TrailForks.