Johnstone Peak is about seven miles from my driveway. At a shade under 10,000 feet in elevation (9,949) it is known as a great perch for a spectacular view of the Pioneer Mountain Range. I have considered ascending Johnstone Peak for almost 30 years. During that time I have hiked and mountain biked on trails that placed me within seven-tenths of a mile and 1,300 vertical feet from the summit. The closest being the saddle of the Parker Gulch – Bear Creek trail.
Six days earlier Kyle and I mountain biked the demanding (8.51 mile 2,250 vertical foot) Parker Gulch – Bear Creek trail finishing under guidance of the light of a full-moon. The next day (Wednesday) I ventured to East Lansing Michigan to meet up with The Usual Suspects to take in (amongst other things) the Michigan State versus Boise State College Football game. I returned home late Sunday night. On Monday (Labor day), I decided the 3.8 mile (one-way), 3,552 vertical foot hike/scramble/climb to the top of Johnstone Peak would be a fun way to finish the holiday.
The first 3 miles and 2,250 feet of vertical of the route (to the Parker Gulch Saddle) is single track trail that is steep but in superior condition. Although I had about 12-15 lbs of camera gear on my back, I decided to keep a assertive pace and reach the saddle in one hour and two minutes. The next 700 feet of vertical is steep cross-country hiking to the ridge-line. The remaining 600 feet of vertical is a class 2-3 rock scramble/climb that follows the ridge-line and involves a decent amount of rock.
After about 50 minutes on the summit, I headed back down. The total distance ended up being about 7.6 miles and took 3.5 hours including time on the Summit.