Route: Sterling Gulch via Stony Pass Road
Posted On: 2020-08-25, By: supranihilest
Info: I parked at the bottom of Stony Pass Road, not wanting to drive my van up (again). The road is a reasonable hike and a crap drive, in my opinion. I took Sterling Gulch up from Gary Owen mine, which is left at the very orange-colored junction with the Stony Pass sign pointing right. I passed the mine and then just headed straight up the gulch on generally stable rock. At a junction higher up I accidentally went left thinking that was the direction of the summit and had to traverse back to the main drainage on very steep and loose dirt - not fun. Once back in the main drainage I made sure to stay going the right way. It should never be too steep. Eventually I intersected a trail that crossed lengthwise across the face, but taking it higher simply led farther and farther away from the summit. This trail is actually very helpful but only if you take it from where it starts at a creek crossing on the road, which is well above and away from the mine. Still, following the road to the trail (if I knew it existed; it's not marked on maps) would have been faster than going up from the mine. The upper slopes are mostly grass at a reasonable angle. The summit is a bit difficult to determine until you're basically on it but if you're scrambling on crumbly black rock you're in the wrong spot - the summit is to your right and requires no scrambling anywhere on the route. Descend back down the drainage to the trail and unless you're parked at the mine itself (there's one or two spots max) take the trail; it's very nice and fast. My descent time from summit to the bottom of the road was only 45 minutes due to the speed of running on the trail instead of fighting gravity and loose rock in the drainage. Because I sucked big time at route finding on this otherwise very simple peak I've included a map to save you the trouble I encountered.