Ascent to San Rafael Reef on 1991-01-24

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, January 24, 1991
Ascent Type:No Summit Goal
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Place:San Rafael Reef
    Elevation:5500 ft / 1676 m

Ascent Trip Report

My goal was to hike Little Wildhorse Canyon. The road was gated due to snow at Goblin Valley State Park, so I parked at the gate and hiked the road westwards for about 3 miles. I did not have any good route beta, maps, or GPS (this was 1991, after all), only a very poor map from Michael Kelsey's guidebook. Also, I don't think the Little Wildhorse Trailhead was signed back then. So I left the road too early, thought I missed the canyon, so I backtracked parallel to the road and then went up a likely draw. But after this I basically got lost while scrambling up into the higher rocks of the San Rafael Reef. I pretty much knew I was off-route when the famous narrows of Little Wildhorse never appeared.

It was fun desert rock scrambling up on the multicolored rocks of the higher reef, but after a while I retreated back to the road by following the wash I had been exploring downhill. Disappointed, I returned up the long snowy road to my car. While re-organizing my stuff in the back, I dislocated my shoulder again, the third time on my cross-country drive.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:790 ft / 240 m
    Total Elevation Loss:790 ft / 240 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.7 mi / 20.4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:690 ft / 210 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 590 ft / 180 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Start Trailhead:Little Wildhorse Rd  4910 ft / 1496 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:690 ft / 210 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 590 ft / 180 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    End Trailhead:Little Wildhorse Rd  4910 ft / 1496 m

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