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Ascent of Nebo Middle on 2020-08-20

Climber: Ian Hazel

Others in Party:Billy Kurek
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, August 20, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Nebo Middle
    Location:USA-Utah
    Elevation:11824 ft / 3603 m

Ascent Trip Report

**Note to anyone reading this** - if this is your first time doing this hike, and you intend to bag all five peaks, don't use the Nebo Bench Trail to make a loop. Just do an out-and-back with the North Peak Trail. It's clear that Nebo Bench hasn't been maintained in years - the southern two miles don't really exist, which means lots of bushwhacking (through lots of burs at this time of year) with hardly any markers to guide you. By the time we actually got to any semblance of an established trail, we were 14 miles into the day, entirely spent, and still had 5 miles to go to the trailhead.

Our day started at the dirt parking area half a mile above the paved parking area, on the North Peak Trail. Missed our turnoff to North Peak, but made good time to the saddle between it and Wolf Pass and so decided to backtrack up to bag it. After that, made quick work of Wolf Pass and Nebo. While on Nebo Summit, we conferred about whether to get the middle and south summits as well, or just turn back.

In all honesty, we would have been much better off turning back, but decided to go on. Took a defined path off of Nebo through some scree, but dead-ended pretty quickly. Had to surf down a scree field (you can see on the GPS track where this happened) to get to a more established walking trail, and from there were able to make it to the middle summit pretty easily. Looking back to Nebo, it seemed that the best route would have been to briefly drop down the north/west face, which would have got us to the correct trail.

Continuing to the south peak was much more straightforward - had some elevation loss through some loose scree, but nothing too dramatic. Arrived to that peak quickly compared to our summit of the middle peak from Nebo proper. Filled out the summit registry, took a look back at Nebo, and decided our best and safest way down was continuing south to the Nebo Bench trail instead of venturing back through the scree to Nebo proper - this decision was our biggest error of the day.

The trek down along the Nebo Peak Trail toward Nebo Bench was straightforward. We found the switchback stretch down to Nebo Bench about 45 minutes after departing from South Nebo. However, upon arriving to where (according to Trailforks) we should be meeting up with Nebo Bench, we found no trail at all. Trailforks and the bushwhacking efforts of a couple of hunters who had been around for a few days got us through the first two miles of Nebo Bench - without their aid we would almost certainly have lost our way and been in for a real bad time. We ran into the hunters at the campsite about two miles in to Nebo Bench; they encouraged us to continue, and that the trail was much more well-defined from then on.

Our two miles of bushwhacking, preceded by 12 miles of peak bagging and scree navigating, had us exhausted. With about 5 miles to the trailhead, our under-preparation came back to bite us hard - we had plenty of calories, but only about 1200 mL of water left between the two of us. So, we had to ration water, which meant avoiding consuming food to dry out our mouths. The first two miles were the hardest - about 500 feet of elevation gain suddenly felt like 2000 ft. The next two miles were, thankfully, primarily downhill. The final mile was the worst - only about 200 feet of elevation gain, but obtaining it with the energy we had left was an adventure to say the least. Upon arrival to the paved parking area, my hiking partner sat down in some shade and gave me the keys to his car. After consuming my last 50 mL of water, I started the last third of a mile to the dirt parking area. Was able to flag down a family leaving, who graciously gave me enough water to fill my Nalgene back up. Got the car, grabbed my hiking partner, and we got out.

Overall, this was a fantastic hike. The five summits we did were beautiful, we had perfect weather, stunning views, and a good workout. The stretch down certainly turned this into the longest single-day trek either of us had done, and we underestimated it greatly. We learned some valuable lessons about adequate preparation and research (had I actually read one of the previous trip reports of this hike that's on Peakbagger, I would have suggested heavily against Nebo Bench considering the supplies we'd brought along for the day). Thankfully, we got out without any major drama, and the experience will be immensely helpful in guiding us along future peakbagging adventures.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:165 ft / 50 m
    Total Elevation Loss:269 ft / 81 m
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Clear
Descent (To Destination) Statistics
    Gain on way in:165 ft / 50 m
    Loss on way in:269 ft / 81 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:Nebo Ridgeline
    Start Trailhead:11928 ft / 3635 m
    Time:1 Hours 28 Minutes
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: nebo

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1North Peak2020-08-20 a1892 ft / 577 m
2Wolf Pass Peak2020-08-20 b859 ft / 262 m
3Mount Nebo2020-08-20 c591 ft / 180 m
4Nebo Middle2020-08-20 d165 ft / 50 m
5Mount Nebo-South Peak2020-08-20 e1769 ft / 539 m
Total Trip Gain: 5276 ft / 1608 m    Total Trip Loss: 5276 ft / 1608 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Ian Hazel
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file




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