Ascent of Pilot Peak on 2014-06-29

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
Date:Sunday, June 29, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pilot Peak
    Elevation:10716 ft / 3266 m

Ascent Trip Report

We found both the approach road and the peak itself to be much less difficult than reported: there seems nowadays to be a standard hiking route from the old mine road (several GPS tracks on Peakbagger) with mostly stable footing.

After our Ibapah Peak ascent we drive via the Old Pony Express route (good dirt road) then paved highway to the US-93 and thence to Wendover, where we have dinner (Pizza Hut has pretty good wifi and also an outside tap where we refill water bottles!).

From here we drive the well described route (the main dirt road is quite badly washboarded and rocky in places) to the start of the mine road (N40.94223 W114.04243) which to our surprise, Alan is able to drive the Corolla almost all the way up. We follow the main track; we are careful to take R turn at N40.96876 W114.06353. We get within 0.3mi of the end of the road before the road is finally too steep and loose to make progress. Our trailhead is N40.99311 W114.07750, 1911m. We had budgeted for hiking a substantial part of the mine road so this is quite a bonus. However, an easier location with parking, is a grassy area beside the road at N40.98888 W114.07273, 1816m - there's also a spring here.

Temps are cool overnight: 53F next morning. We'd planned to hike at first light but got caught out by the time zone. Accordingly the sun is up as we set out at 05:52.

We walk the remaining 0.7mi to where the road ends (N40.99545 W114.08380, 2020m) then climb up R onto the rocky ridge which we follow, tending to keep R of the crest for the shade; we do some scrambling; the two GPS tracks I have loaded tend to keep more to the crest so that's probably the easier way. We go over the rocky intermediate summit (N41.00822 W114.08792) which I measure as 2766m P22m; it has a nice view of Pilot Peak; Alan names it Co Pilot Knob.

After a steep scramble (YDS3, probably avoidable) down from the little summit we hike easily up the ridge, which steepens near the top with some stable talus. The top turns out to be more of a ridge end, barely P5m but with a fine view of Pilot's western cliffs. By following the crest faithfully from here, there's good scrambling to be had on nice solid rock, although there's always the possibility that a hold will break off or a block shift... At a notch we discover we have a 5m downclimb bordering on YDS4. All this can of course be avoided by keeping R of the crest. Beyond the notch, if the crest is followed, there's an impressive drop off to the L. The final climb is on mostly stable boulders, tending to be nicer and more scrambly further L.

The summit (N41.02119 W114.07739, 3270m) has a couple of windshelter cairns. We find two USGS reference markers pointing to a spot in the windshelter, but no sign of a trig or benchmark. This is disappointing given the extreme effort that was put into establishing the first trig station here in 1889 according to the account reproduced on the Summitpost page. We see Ibapah to the south, and work out that the snowy peak to the west is Hole in the Mountain Peak, somehow managing to be only a P4k although 200m higher than the P5k we're standing on. The register records some fast ascent times: 2h15 and even a 100 minute ascent! Ours is a more standard 3h34.

After an unusually long for us 43mins on top we head down. We continue down the first boulder slope (mostly nice and stable) bypassing the ridge, then cross R over the side ridge, descend a while through trees then descend the big talus field/gully leading back down towards the mine. Maybe 200ft of it is runnable scree, the remainder is semi stable talus but isn't bad or particularly slow to descend. We hear a party ascending the ridge E of the talus field, and learn they climbed from the spring, a little downhill from where we parked. Alan exits R onto the ridge we climbed earlier; I stay with the talus field, exiting R further down when it gets scrubbed in. I cross the ridge and make the short rough descent to the road end.

Not finding Alan, I jog down the road to the car, expecting him to be there before me - but no sign. He turns up 20 mins later with the rather interesting excuse that he's been talking to a family in the canyon, who failed to summit because their baby liger (lion/tiger cross) was tired - in itself one of the more unusual reasons for failing to summit a peak!

Round trip time is 6hrs. Alan drives the car rather carefully back down the mine road. There are several other vehicles around - but no other standard cars... We head back into Wendover for lunch, seeing en route a dozen or so antelope (also seen on the way up last evening). Alan can't resist taking the car on the famous Bonneville salt flats ... no land speed records are broken but I see the speedo reach 40mph at one point ...

We next head for Star Peak which we plan to climb tomorrow, en route visiting peakbagger friend Laura Newman who is with family up here and kindly invited us to call in. She suggests Elko Mountain
and Mount Lewis as good targets en route to Star Peak.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4581 ft / 1396 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4581 ft / 1395 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4548 ft / 1386 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4450 ft / 1357 m; Extra: 98 ft / 29m
    Loss on way in:98 ft / 29 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Start Trailhead:Miner's canyon  6266 ft / 1909 m
    Time:3 Hours 34 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4483 ft / 1366 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4450 ft / 1357 m; Extra: 33 ft / 10m
    Gain on way out:33 ft / 10 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    End Trailhead:Miner's canyon  6266 ft / 1909 m
    Time:1 Hours 43 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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