Ascent of Wheeler 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:Wheeler Peak
    Elevation:13063 ft / 3981 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our Mount Jefferson ascent we spend the night just east of Ely (quite a large place by NV standards) and in the morning drive east along the 50 for about an hour to the 487 (signs include Baker and Wheeler Peak) at N39.07011 W114.17236 where we turn R into Baker and at N39.01205 W114.12318 turn R again on 488, again signed Wheeler; R again at N39.01007 W114.20895 signed Wheeler. This long scenic zigzag road passes the trailhead at N39.01718 W114.30341, 3100m.

We start at 7.30 am. Good trail starts R of information board (changed since Petter Bjorstad's report, now says allow 4 to 10 hours round trip for summit). Good trail through nice woodland, aspen and pine, fairly level. In 1 mile turn R for Stella Lake and almost immediately R again at N39.00721 W114.31830 (3168m) signed for Wheeler Peak. Fine views of Wheeler: summit to R; pinnacled cliffs to L, shedding big grey scree slopes to the forest below. Very easy traverse line, cutting back L and passing just below a saddle N39.00540 W114.32278 (3324m), heading in direction of summit. Trees thin and give way to open scree and stone slopes, becoming rocky higher up. Trail zigzags up ridge, YDS 1 and easy to follow, just a little loose underfoot in places.

Quite a few folk on trail: we see a young couple running down. On our descent we see about 20 folk ascending (it's Sunday).

Cold wind on ascent but summit ridge sheltered. Circular stone shelter, outcrop in centre is highest point N38.98579 W114.31390, 3971m, has a hole which could have held trig/bench mark: I find two witness Marks Wheeler No 4 and 5 nearby which both point to the shelter cairn. I guess some miscreant has prised the plate out of the rock. Arc Dome two days ago looked to be same story.

We walk to the east cairn N38.98589 W114.31266 for the view of the east ridge. Fine pinnacles and cliffs falling north but ridge itself is non technical, just a short bouldery descent then stony crest, perhaps rounded off by long blocky scree descent to Stella Lake... We resist temptation to explore further, and return the way we came, except at N39.00685 W114.32201 below the saddle, where we follow a faint path down untidy scree to rejoin the main path at the Stella Lake turnoff. This may be quicker, certainly shorter but more difficult underfoot.

We summitted at 9.20 am in 1h50, spent 15 mins on top and are down at 10.50, descending in 1h15, round trip time 3h20, nicely ahead of the signboard minimum (the runners were perhaps nearer 2 hours).

We head back through Ely, planning to climb North Schell Peak this pm before our long drive back to Seattle. En route we spot the turnoff N39.17629 W114.38986 for Mt Moriah. Moriah itself is well seen from Wheeler Peak, with its white twin summit. We have neither the time nor vehicle to investigate further on this trip: it remains unfinished ultra related business.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2892 ft / 881 m
    Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Trailhead:10171 ft / 3100 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 1
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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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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