Hike Difficulty: very challenging
Hike Length: 4.8 mi (or maybe 6?)
Elevation Gain: 2352 ft
Highest Point: 7048 ft
My Rating (out of 5): 5.0 – I finally made it to the top of Grayback Mountain! Tallest mountain in Josephine County, Oregon! I think I’ve tried four or five times now and each time I learned something new that would help me reach the top. You must take the O’Brien Creek trailheads, not the official-looking Grayback Trail. The official Grayback Trail is a lot longer and has even more climb (I’ve heard around 4000 ft!!) It makes it much easier if you have a rugged vehicle to reach the upper O’Brien Creek trailhead; it cut off about 2 miles roundtrip.
My roommate and I hiked part way up, made camp, then finished the climb the next morning. Our camp was a little on the sloped side and there were SO many bugs attacking us, so it wasn’t an incredibly comfortable night’s sleep, but I had some amazing views this morning that made up for it. Besides, I didn’t get the bugs too badly in my tent. I will say that I stupidly thought that I could keep my GPS watch running all night long, so I was surprised to find it died overnight and I wouldn’t be able to track my climb to the summit. 😦 Most of my numbers above are an estimate.
In all, this mountain definitely made me work for the views at the summit. We had to chart our own course across part of the meadow, which is riddled with holes from water erosion. It wasn’t impossible, though I definitely bitched my fair share on my way up between the holes and the bugs. Though I may not lug 25 lbs of gear up this mountain any time soon, I may try to summit it again sometime just to get my tracking data.