Ascent of Sams Rock on 2015-02-03

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sams Rock
    Elevation:7735 ft / 2357 m

Ascent Trip Report

I spent Monday driving from Bremerton, WA to somewhere in the Great Basin north of Wells, NV. I got a later start than I had hoped from Bremerton, leaving Dan's house around 9:30 am after leaving the ship around 8:15. After a few stops in Yakima, Oregon, and ?Mountain Home?, ID, I was a bit north of Wells when midnight hit and I began to fade. I found a dirt road, and headed about a mile off US-93 before finding a great spot to toss my bag on the ground and pass out. I woke up refreshed after 8 hours of shut-eye, putting me behind schedule for the day. The initial plan was to hike up Graham Pk in Utah. I still had time to make that happen, so I headed east on I-80 once I arrived in Wells. As I headed east over a pass, I noticed a really cool-looking rock formation in the range to the left/ahead. I used the map to determine that this was the Toano Range, home to a P2k that I needed. I also determined that this formation and the P2k I needed were not too far apart. I dutifully exited I-80 and set out on an unplanned adventure!

I headed north on a good quality dirt road, passing the high point of the range, which was to my right (east). I found a spur road that pointed towards this interesting rock, so I took it. I packed a light alpine rack with some slings and beater-biners that I would not miss should I need to retreat from this climb. The peakbagger app proved handy, downloading 3 trip reports from the Johnson clan, the only logged ascents. They took the easy 3rd class route. I wanted to try and see if the west ridge went 4th class or low 5th class. I switched to my approach shoes, tossed my rope and light rack into my pack, and left the Yaris. I left my sleeping bag up on the roof, around my skis to dry in the warm sun. It had received a bit of morning dew that was unexpected.

I initially made my way on to the lower west ridge of the peak, hoping to complete the full west ridge. It looks beautiful against the skyline from the south and southwest. Since I was solo, I would have to keep it 4th class and low 5th class. I arrived at my TH around 6,800 ft and parked the Yaris as there was a little bit of snow on the ground. I probably could have driven through it, but it would have gained me very little extra distance for the risk of getting stuck. I only walked ~200 meters up the road before cutting right up the hill towards the west ridge. The walk to the bottom of the rock was easy enough. I made my way on to the ridge right near the base of it. The ridge proved to have ample large holds and the slabs were easy to get friction on. This initial section was 4th class. I soon reached a more vertical section. If I only had a partner!! I would have certainly led this pitch if I had a belayer! I cut to the right on to more mellow terrain, working my way up, mostly 4th class, but with occasional 5th class moves, no more than 5.3 I would say though. I eventually worked my way up into a pretty tough spot, requiring a bit of hairy low 5th class down climbing followed but a short rappel. Out came the rope. I had put my harness on at the beginning of the climb in case I needed to rap out of a crappy spot. This was excellent foresight as I did not want to put a harness on here... I was able to put the rope around a huge, stable rock horn, so I didn't need to leave any gear behind. I made the ~20 ft rap, then cut right on to a nice ridge. This ridge, though very exposed, went well. I would estimate it at 5.3 or so. Very low 5th class, but you had to earn it. Once I topped out on the crux, there was a mellow gully to the flat summit stroll. At this point, I finally looked back west and noticed rain falling from the sky. Crap - my sleeping bag was on the roof of the car drying! I took the obligatory summit photos, and made a hasty retreat down the 3rd class to the easy 2nd class gully. Amazingly, I was back at the car within 20 minutes of departing the summit, certainly motivated by the thought of a wet sleeping bag. I caught a few drops of rain on the descent, but nothing significant. When I arrived at the car, the bag was thankfully dry! I put it in the back where it belonged, then sat down to grab a snack and throw the pictures on my laptop in the sun.

I sure miss the Great Basin! I also scoped out a dirt road to the northern approach to the Toano Range HP that would require very little driving to my next TH. I switched to normal hiking shoes and made the short drive southeast. I would like to come back to this minor subpeak and explore some of the harder climbing on the sharp end with a belayer. Pics

Sam's Rock Stats:
1.45 mi
1.9 mph moving avg
2 hrs 2 min total
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:815 ft / 248 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:815 ft / 248 m
    Route:W Ridge (Gr I, 5.3)
    Start Trailhead:6920 ft / 2109 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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