Route Climbed: Standard Route Date Climbed: June, 1999
After a morning of bouldering at the Volcanic Tablelands near Bishop, CA, I drove across Nevada on Route 6 -- a very desolate road. I hadn't done any research on Wheeler Peak, so I had no idea what type of climb to expect. When I reached the small town of Baker just outside Great Basin NP, I ran into an information board that had data on ascending the Peak. I found out that the standard route is just a simple hike that starts around 10,000 ft and ascends 3,000 ft in about four miles
The crux of the ascent turned out to be driving to the trailhead. The road was paved and not too steep, but my car doesn't do well at altitude. After 12 miles of my car sputtering with intermittent power and me enjoying the waffles-and-maple-syrup smell of a new leak somewhere in the cooling system, I reached the trailhead at 5:50pm. My plan was to "car camp" that night, then bag the peak in the morning. I had just consumed a jumbo bag of Funyuns for dinner and was about to crack open a can of generic Pork + Beans, when I got the urge to stretch my legs a bit. I threw a jacket and some water into my pack and began running up the trail. After a couple minutes of running I was feeling great, so I decided to continue to the summit that evening.
The first mile-and-a-half of the trail is a graded path through groves of aspen and some meadowy areas. At about 10,700 ft, the trail reaches treeline and follows a gentle ridge to the summit. I made it to the summit in 1 hour and 17 minutes, hung out for a half hour, then began the descent. I got back to my car before dark.