Ascent of Sams Rock on 2011-06-13

Climber: Ken Johnson

Others in Party:Lane Johnson
Sam Johnson
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, June 13, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Sams Rock
    Elevation:7735 ft / 2357 m

Ascent Trip Report

7,735-foot Sam’s Rock is an attention-getting mass of bare granite visible from Interstate 80 between Wells and Wendover, Nevada. If you’re eastbound at Pequop Pass (mile post 373), Sam’s Rock is the pinnacle you see on the far skyline as you head down from the summit. As you continue on past Oasis to the Shafter exit (m.p. 387), the view of the Rock from the south reveals two summits, the rounded one on the west being the higher by perhaps 20 feet. Driving westbound from Wendover, your view of the Rock is blocked by the southern masses of the Toano Range until you come to the Shafter exit.

To get to Sam’s Rock, take the Shafter exit and turn onto the frontage road that parallels the freeway on the north side. Immediately after the first cattle guard, turn left and follow the desert road north. High clearance is a good idea, but many passenger cars can make it if driven very carefully. At 3.1 miles, turn left onto the next road you come to; and in another 3/10 of a mile, bear to the right. Just over a mile farther, take the little-used but good road to the right and park at the top of the rise.

From where you park, you’ll see a wooded draw that goes up diagonally between the two summits. The draw is choked with trees and brush, so the easiest way is to make you way across the draw to the wall of the Rock itself, where you’ll find the going steep but relatively easy. Near the top you’ll suddenly come to the Crack, where the Rock is literally split in two. Except for a 6-foot ledge, it’s an easy scramble up the crack and suddenly you’re looking down the north face of the rock.

As you scout the west wall of the Crack, you’ll see a couple of possible climbing routes; but the easiest route begins right at the north end of the Crack. Simply step across some tree branches to an overhung ledge and go up on your hands and knees. Soon you come out on top of the Crack and find that you’re separated from the summit block by a broken-up ridge that resembles the back of a Stegosaurus. It looks a bit chancy, but is fairly easy to work across. The summit block itself presents a 30-foot broken wall with one obvious route to begin with. Two-thirds of the way up, you can scout for a way over the top. At the far right (north) is a fairly easy route both up and down, though with exposure to the north wall.

The summit itself is a wonderful place to experience; and the view is amazingly scenic—Pilot Peak (10,716 ft.) to the east, Bonneville Salt Flats to the southeast, and many long views and high ranges. At the high point (7,735 ft.) there’s a rock cairn.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:733 ft / 223 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 1.9 km
    Route:Southwest draw
    Trailhead:Dirt road to southwest  7002 ft / 2134 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Clear and beautiful
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 

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