Graham Mountain and [Riner Basin - Slide], Oregon (8570, 8511 ft)
Malheur National Forest
Meadow Fork Trail #376
Summitpost (Graham Mountain)
Point 8511 is not named on the USGS 7.5 minute Strawberry Mountain, OR map (1996). Jeff Howbert named this peak [Riner Basin-Slide] after two adjacent drainages, Big Riner Basin to the east and Slide Creek to the west.
Route: Meadow Fork Trail #376
The Meadow Fork Trail link, above, describes the route from Prairie City and Summit Praire. Here I describe the route from the west. From the junction of FR 15 and FR 16 SE of Canyon City turn take FR 16 east. Continue on FR 16 east for 6.2 miles and turn left (north) on FR 924. Follow FR 924 2.7 miles and turn right on FR 1648, just beyond Murray CG. Follow FR 1648 0.3 miles and turn left on FR 021. Follow FR 021 1.3 miles and cross a bridge over a creek (Meadow Fork Big Creek). Turn left on FR 039 (unsigned) about 0.1 mile beyond the bridge. Follow FR 039 0.7 miles to the Meadow Fork Trailhead along Meadow Fork Big Creek. Total distance from the FR 15/16 junction is 11.3 miles. The trailhead is actually located at about 5720' rather than at 6000' as indicated on the USGS 7.5 minute Logan Valley West, OR map (1996).
Hike the Meadow Fork Trail about 4 miles from the trailhead north to the Kimport Ridge. The forest along this trail was extensively burned in a wildfire. From the records I have found this appears to have been the High Roberts Fire which burned in July and August of 2002. What previously was old growth stands of pine and fir are now burned snags, often creaking in the wind.
At about 1 mile from the trailhead the trail forks to the right. If you see a sign "Mud Lake" then you have gone about 100 feet too far.
From Kimport Ridge at about 7700' the trail drops into Big Riner Basin, contrary to traversing northwest above the basin as indicated on the USGS 7.5 minute Strawberry Mountain, OR map (1996). Follow the trail and cairns from the basin up to the junction with the Skyline Trail (7850').
To climb Graham Mountain from this junction head a short distance east on the Skyline Trail, then leave the trail to the left and climb the ridge. From the upper ridge you will see cliffs below the summit to your east. Traverse below the cliffs to the right (south) and find a breach in the cliffs giving you access to the summit ridge. The true summit of Graham Mountain is on the east end of the summit ridge. Return the same way to the junction.
To climb [Riner Basin-Slide], climb directly up through forest towards its summit from the junction. You can return the same way to the junction, or descend directly from the summit to Kimport Ridge and the Meadow Fork Trail at 7700'.
Barbara Bond describes the Meadow Fork Trail approach for Graham Mountain in the reference below. However, her trail and forest descriptions and waypoint elevations better match the USGS maps than does my experience. I speculate that she must have hiked this route before the High Roberts Fire in 2002, and that this fire and a subsequent timber salvage operation in the vicinity of the trailhead has altered the trailhead location and the trail route beyond Kimport Ridge. Barbara also describes an alternative approach for Point 8511.
- Bond, Barbara I., 75 Scrambles in Oregon: best non-technical ascents, The Mountaineers Books, 2005.
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