Ascent of North Schell Peak on 2013-08-04

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Pete Ellis
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, August 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:North Schell Peak
    Elevation:11883 ft / 3621 m

Ascent Trip Report

Following our morning ascent of Wheeler Peak we head back NE to Ely, then as per Petter Bjorstad's directions, follow the 93 north, through McGill (note if heading N after this peak, there is fuel here, 24 hour self service - then none for the next 124 miles north!). Then continue N on 93 for another 5 miles, turning R (E) onto Duck Creek Road N39.47968 W114.76746, which turns south, then after 8.5 miles turn L (E) at N39.41934 W114.70123 onto FR 425, following it for 4.5 miles. It's good gravel, although rather stony so we drive slowly, keen not to lose a tyre on this our last summit of the trip. However taken carefully it is perfectly OK for regular 2WD. Crossing two cattle guards we drive through Timber Creek campground, parking at the highest campsite (Site 1, water tap, also toilets just before end of track), just before third cattle guard, N39.40013 W114.62675, 2672m.

We set off at 1.35 pm, temps in the low 80s F but moderated by some high cloud and, higher up, a nice breeze. Hike the distinctly rougher last half mile of track, reach upper trailhead (signboard), N39.39943 W114.61606, 2756m. Trail continues beyond, bending left, reaching creek (N39.40193 W114.61239) but not crossing it, staying on L bank, reaching fork in valley N39.40568 W114.61280, with our summit up to the R. The trail may continue up the L fork and up onto the summit ridge: we didn't investigate. This might be the easiest/normal route.

We take R fork of valley, picking our way up and across the bouldery foot of a long scree slope, then ascending the broad ridge beyond (right of) the bouldery valley. We head straight up, fairly steep, fairly loose especially in the upper part as the last 200m ascent is quartzite scree, quite unstable. Not a route I'd really recommend although it does the job. The summit ridge once reached (N39.40619 W114.59955, 3478m) is however very nice. It might be better to gain ridge further S at saddle, approx N39.397 W114.599.

We walk ridge north (L), enjoying views across to Mt Moriah and back to this morning's Wheeler Peak, which we see is now engulfed in rain clouds, which seem to be heading our way. We cross a south top (N39.40993 W114.59816, 3598m P21m by GPS) and are soon at the summit N39.41333 W114.59982, 3621m, the northwestern of two close-together cairned rocky tops.

We are at the summit in 2 hours, spend 15 minutes on top and descend in 1h15; 3h30 round trip. To descend we follow the ridge path NW, branch L to N39.41523 W114.60602 then descend, initially on a small trail then making a slightly tricky but quite efficient scree descent. Once onto the main scree slope, looking back it appears the best descent may have been to scree-ride straight down the middle, perhaps from somewhere near the shelter wall at N39.41605 W114.60289. Further down, the scree becomes progressively larger and rougher until we reach the boulder field we had crossed earlier. At this point we cross to the L (east) side and make our way easily to the trail, which we follow back down to the car.

After a wash in the stream we drive carefully back down to Duck Creek Road. Looking back, we see dark grey fingers of rain now stroking the summit. Lucky with the weather until the very last.

That concludes our USA ultra bagging trip. Until next year....
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3117 ft / 950 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3117 ft / 950 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Trailhead:8766 ft / 2671 m
    Time Up:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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