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Ascent of Pilot Peak on 2015-02-04

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pilot Peak
    Location:USA-Nevada
    Elevation:10716 ft / 3266 m

Ascent Trip Report

Pilot Peak has been on my mind for hiking since I lived in Utah in the 90s and heard of a 10,000 foot gem out in the west desert. Armed with trip reports from Rob Woodall and others, I headed out there to bag the peak that I have wanted since 1998 or so... So, Rob and Alan pushed their rental car to over 6,000 ft and I figured that I could do something similar with the mighty Yaris. I have a pretty short wheelbase and I am not afraid of a few scratches in my 8 year old car that is down to 1 hubcap. I was able to get to 5,600 ft the evening before the hike and decided against driving down into a steep ravine crossing at night, figuring that I could try it in the morning or just hike the remaining ~1.3 miles to the trailhead rather quickly on dirt road. I parked on the side of the road and made camp for the night, cooking the food I had purchased at the grocery store in Wendover earlier that evening.

I was up before the sun and made a quick breakfast before throwing my daypack together. I decided against hauling my snowshoes up the mountain because from what I could make out from visual observations the day before, I would not need them. I also decided that the short distance I had left to drive (1.3 miles & 500 vertical ft) would not justify the possibility of getting the Yaris stuck, so I just walked the last bit of dirt road to the official trailhead. It took just over half an hour to cover this with de-layering breaks as I warmed up, so no real time lost. The initial use trail in Miner's Canyon is great. You then decide when to begin ascending the slopes to the north up to a minor ridge. This ridge proved to be quite fun walking and eventually turned north around 9,000 ft. This is where I encountered the first snow of the hike, protected in the trees. It was Cascade concrete and easily walked over. It dwindled back to nothing around 9,400 ft when I encountered the final boulder field to the summit. I followed the ridgeline which had ankle-deep snow on it, which made for slow going as I was wary of punching through snow in between boulders and twisting an ankle. I eventually dropped slightly off the ridge to the east and went on completely dry terrain to the summit. The summit had some snow right on the top, making for some cool contrast summit photos of the snow and barren desert below. I took the usual summit photos, signed the register, and grabbed a snack.

For the descent, I took a lower line through the boulder field and stayed completely out of the snow. I did go through the compact/solid line of snow from 9,400 to 9,000 ft as it was smooth sailing there. The final hike down Miner's Canyon and out the dirt road to the car was uneventful. Unsurprisingly, I saw no other humans from the time I left the main dirt road in the valley until I returned to it.

Overall, Pilot is a great peak! It should be on the Sierra Club Great Basin Peaks List!! I was shocked when I logged it and it was not on that list... Pics
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5116 ft / 1559 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5116 ft / 1559 m
    Route:Miners Cyn to S Ridge
    Start Trailhead:5600 ft / 1706 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
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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