Mt. Peale - Day 5Dennis, Andrew and I had made our way from Mt. Ellen in the morning, to Hite Utah, and from there (after a lunch at the gas station - convenience store), we headed on to Natural Bridges National Monument where we spent an hour doing the loop drive and checking out some of the bridges, including one we hiked down to. The problem was the temperature, it was about 100 degrees and there was no shade so we longed for the higher cooler air that we knew awaited us near Mt. Peale. When we hit Blanding, we turned north to Monticello where we gassed up and bought a simple dinner in the eating area that was part of the gas station. We also picked up some groceries so we could have something to eat in the morning and from there we continued north on highway 191 before picking up highway 46 where we turned east and made our way to La Sal pass where we found a place to park and camped for the night.
Once more we slept in the vehicles but once again we slept well. It was nice and cool at La Sal pass considering the fact that the pass is at 10,400 feet. In the morning, which was now Day 5, we had breakfast and prepared for our hike towards the snow colouir that would be the route we would ascend. I had my ice axe and crampons with me and I put them into my pack, a move that turned out to be wise as I was to find out a little bit later. We had a 2700 foot elevation gain in a bit over 2 1/2 miles ahead of us but the key was the snow colouir or gully as others refer to it. Heading straight at the gully from our parking area, we encountered a large area of avalanche damage where we had to crawl over and under trees in order to get to the mouth of the gully. Andrew stuck with me and Dennis ended up getting separated and we ended up taking two different routes up to the ridge at the top of the gully. After fighting mosquitoes in the messed up tree area, it was nice to get onto the snow as it became a super highway for us an allowed us to leave the mosquitos behind. I donned my crampons after a bit as I found it much easier to go up the snow but Andrew had none and had to stick to the rocks at the edge of the gully and this slowed our progress down somewhat.
We didn't see Dennis until we were almost to the top of the gully and he had traversed across the snow gully and reached the ridge above us and had been watching our progress. Seeing what looked like the proper use trail up to the ridge, Andrew and I made the mistake of leaving the snow a bit too early and had to work our way up some very steep hillside that required more effort than the route that Dennis had chosen. However, soon the three of us were back together on the ridge and we made our way up alternating snow and talus fields to the summit. It was an enjoyable part of the summit effort and finally felt like a real mountain after all of the Mine Camp and Bluebell Knoll wanttabees. Mt. Peale is a dandy and when we summitted, we all said Wow !! Why? Because it is a stellar viewpoint. The La Sals really are a neat range, making me regret that we didn't have more time scheduled for them. Pictures were snapped, snacks were eaten and a phone calls to our wives were made but all too soon it was time to think about heading back down. Still....
....there were more savoring of the views to the north, west and south are all great and the view eastward looks into Colorado. This was by far the most enjoyable of the summits we were to reach on the whole Utah trip with Mt. Waas a close second. We looked for Mt. Waas, our goal for day 6 and drooled over Mt. Tuk and the rest of the La Sal peaks that we will undoubtedly have to return to some day to enjoy. Our descent went very quickly as we were able to glissade quite a bit of the snow gully. Near the bottom of the snow, we met another climber on his solitary way up and found out that he was another county highpointer, William Everett. The mosquitoes were waiting for us and made our last mile go quick as we moved fast to try and outrun them. We found a faster way through the section that had slowed us down earlier and were soon in our vehicles making our way back to highway 191 where we turned north to Moab. Our destination for the next day was an area on the northeast side of Mt. Waas and in this case, we did not use the driving directions listed in the High in Utah book. More on that aspect when I put day 6 together. Did I mention that we finally had a decent meal in Moab? Believe it or not, Pizza Hut looked mighty good and tasted even better after a couple days of convenience stores and our own cooking. Moab is a great place, gateway to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and tons of slickrock for the bike enthusiasts. It'd be an easy area to fall in love with.......
Day 6 would be Mt. WaasMt. Waas will be given its own Trip report and I'll elaborate on the remainder of day five as it pertains to that mountain. However, here is the summary of our Utah trip in a day by day listing.
In the month of July, this is what I was able to do and see:
Day 1 - Naomi Peak of Cache County and the aborted Rich County effort.
Day 2 - Mine Camp Peak & camped out at 11K feet 2 miles from Fishlake Hightop.
Day 3 - Fishlake Hightop and Bluebell Knoll. Drove to within 5 miles of
Mt. Ellen and camped. Went via Boulder & Burr Trail to Capitol
Reef Nat'l Park and then east into the Henry Mtn Range
Day 4 - Mt. Ellen and then drove via Hite, Natural Bridges Nat'l Monument
and up to a spot where we camped close to Mt. Peale
Day 5 - Mt. Peale. Then some time in Moab and drove to a spot where we
were close to Mt. Waas
Day 6 - Mt. Waas. Then spent time in Arches Nat'l Park before we drove to
a spot where we camped close to East Mtn.
Day 7 - East Mtn and a long drive to So. Tent Peak. Then drove to a spot a
few miles from Monument Peak.
Day 8 - Monument Peak and then drove up and did Eccentric Peak in the
eastern Uintas. From there I started my drive home. Left Eccentric TH at 5pm and drove into Kennewick the next morning around noon.
I hope to put up a trip report for each day and so far 5 days are completed.. In the 8 days, I did 11 peaks, saw two National Parks and a national monument, drove the Burr trail and went over Hell's Backbone into Boulder. Car camped every night and loved every minute of the trip.