Ascent of Wheeler Peak on 1992-08-30

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, August 30, 1992
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Wheeler Peak
    Elevation:13063 ft / 3981 m

Ascent Trip Report

I was up very early, and after seeing that it was clear out I ate breakfast and then made the long, steep drive up the Wheeler Peak Road, blasting the heat in my car to keep my poor 2.1 liter engine cool while it hauled 4400 pounds up 5,000 vertical feet in just 8 miles in second gear. I was the first one at the trailhead parking at the top of the road, and I set back off up the familiar path towards Wheeler Peak. It was an uneventful hike on a well-maintained, easy-to-follow trail, with even the steep, rocky section above timberline was pretty good--that's National Parks for you: a paved road to over 10,000 feet, and nice trails to over 13,000. The only problem was that the wind was terribly strong, howling right through me and threatening to blow me off into Utah. It was so cold I even hiked up the steep trail wearing my full three-layer clothing system, rare due to the way I sweat going uphill. At least it was clear out.

I reached the summit alone, and spent a while exploring the narrow ridge topped with a massive cairn, checking out the devastating drop-off to the east without getting too close to the edge. After the usual snack-eating and picture taking I bundled up to descend, having an easy time with the trail as I passed many people coming up, warning the ones below about the fierce wind. It was staring to cloud up, too, even worse that it had yesterday, and I was glad when I was down below the treeline. I was back at my car by noon, the time I had left yesterday, glad to have climbed a peak I had given up on just a day before. Just as I got back it started raining heavily.

After the long, second gear, downhill grind to Baker, where I bought a little bit of hyper-expensive gas at a 1940s vintage pump, I drove back into Ely, NV, noticing that Wheeler Peak was now in the middle of a really bad thunderstorm--I hoped that the people I had seen were safe.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2902 ft / 884 m
    Trailhead:10161 ft / 3097 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Extremely Windy, Low Clouds

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