Ascent of Wildcat Peak on 2012-07-13

Climber: Steven Thompson

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, July 13, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Wildcat Peak
    Elevation:7635 ft / 2327 m

Ascent Trip Report

This particular trip started with route scouting for a summit ascent of Pine Valley Peak, hopefully, in the next couple of weeks.  With 70% chance of rain today, I didn't plan on getting caught on slickrock.   

Wildcat Canyon trailhead, is found by turning north, off of hwy-9, on the east side of the town of Virgin, Utah.  The road is marked with a brown sign that says Kolob Reservoir.   A narrow, but paved road will lead you along hillsides, and canyons, passing trailheads as the asphalt turns red upon entering the park. 

Wildcat Canyon trailhead, serves as trailhead for Wildcat canyon, Northgate Peaks, and the popular slot canyon, The Subway.   From the parking area, I walked past the restroom on the hikers left and followed the well marked path to the lava ridge.  There is a faint trail, leading down through the lava rock and east toward Pine Valley Peak.  It soon reaches the Hop Valley connector trail and I follow this maintained trail until a gulley drains south toward the southern end of the peak.  Another faint trail leads to a deep ravine just below the dryfall from off the saddle of Pine Valley Peak. 

Using the shelf system, make the easy scramble to the saddle.  Views west of Tabernacle Dome and other points are impressive from this little rise.  I viewed possible assent lines for Pine Valley Peak, took some pictures for review, then backtracked to the connector trail.

Follow the connector trail east until it merges with the Northgate Peaks - Subway trail at about the 1 mile mark from the parking area.  The trail soon splits again and I continued to follow the Wildcat Canyon Trail.  This trail, if followed all the way through, will lead to Lava Point and the trailhead for the West Rim Trail.  My goal was to follow it long enough to reach the relative level ridge line leading to Wildcat Peak.

The trail is class 1, well maintained, but rocky.  Not to steep, it follows gulleys through tall Ponderosa Pine tree fields around the head of several large washes.  Upon reaching Wildcat Peak, just as the trail is breaking into a wash, I turn east and begin the gentle class 2 scramble to the summit.  About 500 feet from the trail, the scramble is deep forest hiking, following game trails.  A small saddle is reached and the rolling knoll of Wildcat Peak can be seen as the dense forest gives way to forest fire damage and new growth.

Proceed with caution as there are many burnt nubs to stumble on, making your way to the summit a hazard for footing.  No summit cairn was found, and no summit registration.  Views to Lava Point and along the canyon are beautiful.  South to the main Zion canyon is breathtaking as the rain clouds descend upon The West Temple.  Once again I hike back to the Wildcat Canyon trailhead in a downpour.  I meet dozens of hikers, in various forms of rain gear, still enjoying the alpine feeling of Kolob Terrace.  What a beautiful day!

Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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