Ascent of Mount Peale on 2021-07-23

Climber: Anthony Wilkinson

Others in Party:Paul
Date:Friday, July 23, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Peale
    Elevation:12721 ft / 3877 m

Ascent Trip Report

After an overnight at La Sal Pass, we left camp just after 7am. A little bit of a late start, but we wanted see and easily navigate the route in daylight as our understanding was that it would require a bushwhack through the trees to reach the gully. We started with the obvious trail through the meadow, then took the fork signed for Tuk. After a short distance, we left this trail and moved cross country northeast through the forest to catch the top of the 4x4 trail, coming up from the south. The route was easy to follow to the gully and then upward.

A few guidebooks recommended staying within the gully all the way to the ridgeline before turning southeast towards the summit. However, there is now a well-used and cairned route that leaves the gully at about 11,700 feet, cutting east and towards the summit of Peale. We ended up taking this shorter option, but in the future I'd consider staying in the gully up to the ridgeline: the mileage was shorter and the scree generally stable on the shortcut, but it was steep and eroded.

We crossed paths with a herd of rocky mountain goats at the ridgeline, which exhibited much more curiously than fear at our presence.

The air was warm and surprisingly calm at the summit when we arrived before 11 am, but dark and thickening clouds started to quickly form, first to the north of Peale and then around the peak itself. We quickly descended, and were halfway down the gully when lightning cracked overhead and hail pelted down on our heads. Previously solid footholds now shifted and slid downhill at nearly each step during the storm, but we were able to make it below tree line and down the trail without incident.

It was a wild, wonderful scramble up and down Mt Peale, and we appreciated the solitude (we saw no one else on the mountain, other than a couple of vehicles at La Sal Pass and two hunters glassing for mountain goats from the 4x4 trail below the gully).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2601 ft / 792 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Trailhead:La Sal Pass  10120 ft / 3084 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Calm, followed by thunderstorm
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 0 Minutes

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