The lower 50-75% of this route was achieved in the “Initial Exploration” (below). I’ll return to press onward and see if the full route is possible. I have stood on Mummy Mountain’s Northern Summit Rim and viewed down this approach canyon wash from that high point. From the summit the canyon wash looks passable. It only remains to fill in the missing upper mid-section of this approach to complete this entire summit route.
This adventure takes you up a canyon wash on the far Northwestern edge of Mummy Mountain. Though the wash is filled with boulders, branches and tree trunks, one can find a pretty easy class 2 stairway dramatically ascending upward through unique climate and plant life zones from the beginning of the adventure at 8,000ft on Lee Canyon Road to the 11,532ft summit of Mummy Mountain. Of course, expect a few of Mummy Mountain’s signature avalanche slopes. There are spectacular views all the way up including various approaches to Mummy’s Head from Lee Canyon Road along this route. Looking back down across Lee Canyon one can see The Sisters, McFarland Peak and the ridgeline of the Bonanza Trail.
The route is untouched, unoccupied and peaceful. Don’t expect to see anyone in this canyon, even on the busiest weekend days during the height of the climbing season. If anyone has traveled this route before, there is no trace. You get the feeling of covering ground that has never been traversed, though I’m sure I’m not the very first person to ascend this summit approach. Though, I’m likely the first to provide this extensive level of documentation.
Begin from a large parking area on the West side of Lee Canyon Road (Hwy 156) about a mile past its intersection with Deer Creek Road (Hwy 158).
Cross Lee Canyon Road and navigate the main Summer home resident road (Avalanche Trail Road) to the right and upward. This road will soon veer to the left as a 4WD road beginning at the last Summer home. Then, the 4WD road will become a use trail. Continue up the use trail until it hits the rugged wash. Now, you’re basically weaving your way taking the path of least resistance up the main canyon wash sometimes on the right, sometimes crossing over to the left then back to the right side, the use trail appearing and disappearing.
Eventually you’ll reach a 10ft barrier ledge with a blue drainage pipe protruding. At this point circle around and above the ledge to the left. Looking carefully you’ll see the bypass use trail. Duck through an overhang and continue up the wash. For about 1/4th mile you can avoid the wash by skirting it to the left. However, when the left side becomes a steep avalanche slope descend into the wash again and continue upward. The wash is pretty easy to navigate and there are step ways through every barrier.
Watch carefully for the split where the larger wash branches off to the left toward the Mummy’s Head area. A faint wash will appear branching off to the right. Continue up this wash to the right, it will soon become more pronounced. At the split, the wash will begin to ascend more dramatically, though there are always boulder stairs to be found, though many require a 2-foot high step. It’s class 2 climbing at this point. There is a large boulder about 1/2 mile up that requires navigation out of the wash to the right to circumvent. But the wash continues above.
Shortly after the large boulder you will find yourself facing a rather imposing cliff wall. Navigate around and above this wall via some rather steep avalanche slopes to the left. Hug slopes at the lower base of the cliffs that line the canyon. You’ll emerge above the first cliff wall and be confronted with a more gentle rock wall. This wall looks pretty much class 3, and the rock surface has a lot of traction. The right side of this section looks a bit more gentle than the left. The terrain above this rock wall appears to level out a bit, but who knows? More surprises may appear ahead! Be sure to turn around and look back down across Lee Canyon at this point for spectacular views of The Sisters, the Bonanza Trail ridgeline and McFarland Peak! We’ll be exploring and documenting these soon.
I reached my turn-around point here today due to an event I had to attend later in the afternoon. The exploration to this point took about 3 hours. The next trip will be faster and allow more time to continue the ascent to the summit (pending appearance of additional barriers). The return trip took between 1.5 and 2 hours.