Ascent of Mount Nebo on 2010-07-03

Climber: Anthony Wilkinson

Others in Party:Marshall Lowry
Date:Saturday, July 3, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Nebo
    Elevation:11928 ft / 3635 m

Ascent Trip Report

We started hiking from the Mona Pole Trailhead at 6:30 am. Temperature at trailhead: 44°F, breezy. The weather throughout the rest of the climb was sunny and mostly calm.

The route was basically an unmaintained, well-worn and easy to follow trail to Wolf Pass, followed by a moderately steep and mildly exposed ridge climb on scree and sharp rock from Wolf Pass to the summit.

We followed the obvious trail up into the basin that feeds Gibson Creek on the north aspect of North Peak. Snow remained in much of the lower extent of the basin (which we did glissade on the route down). This avalanche path could be a viable ascent option in late spring, etc. as the fall line follows roughly the same route as the summer trail.

Steep hiking begins once you reach Wolf Pass. More snow and muddy trail conditions were found at this point of the route, but not enough to necessitate crampons/ice ax. The snow was soft enough to kick steps due to abundant sunlight and not exposed enough for great danger had the snow been harder. Hard snow at this point could have been safely bypassed if necessary.

Once you reach a false summit (elevation ~11,460 ft), the scrambling begins. The route to the top of Mt. Nebo itself is visible from the 11,460 point, and much less forbidding than from lower vantage points. The trail does split into multiple variations on the scramble from the false summit to the top, but if you pay attention you can easily follow/rejoin the main route. The route never strays far from the ridge top itself. Exposure is present, but a steadying hand is only rarely needed. A fall would be on scree slopes with somewhat of a run-out, only a couple of spots are exposed to steeper drops.

Conditions on the summit were exceptionally calm. There was hardly a breeze, and even that only occasionally. Another group had a pair of small dogs (which had been carried through the difficult sections) at the summit, though I doubt they walked much of the descent due to sore paws. The scree and rocks are quite sharp.

It took us about 5 hours to summit; we traveled quite slow and steady, never without enough breath to converse. A foul stomach that plagued my climbing partner required multiple stops, as well as multiple photo and video breaks, extended the ascent time. The end result was feeling just about as good at the summit as I did at the trailhead. Not bad for a decent hike to just under 12,000 feet.

We spent a couple of hours on the summit composing photographs and filming. We found swarms of lady bugs on the southern side of the summit block. The view was expansive: snow was visible on Ibapah Peak to the west over 100 miles just before the Nevada border, the rest of the Wasatch Range north into Weber County was easily seen, as well as the Uintas to the northeast and the Wasatch Plateau to the southeast.

The descent was uneventful other than the continued upset stomach stops. The glissade was easy and fun. We returned to the trailhead from the summit in about 3 hours.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3678 ft / 1120 m
    Extra Gain:500 ft / 152 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.8 mi / 14.2 km
    Route:North Ridge Route
    Trailhead:Mona Pole Road Trailhead  9250 ft / 2819 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2+
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Clear, calm, warm
Ascent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 

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