Mt. Rose (NV) Winter weather in May

Mt. Rose (NV) Winter weather in May

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.34390°N / 119.9161°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: May 29, 2004

On May 28th, a friend of mine and fellow summitposter, Dennis P. and I met in Winnemucca Nevada to do Star Peak that is about 45 miles to the SW, on the way to Reno. As we both hit Winnemucca, we were accompanied by a big rainstorm that drenched the area pretty good. Having had a VERY bad experience in Idaho not long before and having had the experience of getting stuck in the mud, we decided to leave Star Peak for another time (where was it going to go?) and go get a peak that was closer to paved road for its trailhead. We selected Mt. Rose, a peak that towers over Reno and since Mt. Rose happens to be the highest point in Washoe county, it made a good candidate.

We drove to Reno and looked longingly at Star Peak as we passed it on the Interstate but kept our decision to do Mt. Rose
foremost in our minds. As we drove up the Mt. Rose highway, we once again were enveloped in bad weather so we decided to just sleep in our vehicles at the wide spot on the summit of the Mt. Rose highway. It sleeted and snowed on us most of the night and we even had the police check us out about 1 a.m. when they spied our vehicles off to the side of the road. After a good nights rest, we drove on down the road about a 1/4 of a mile and parked at a day use area (no overnight parking allowed) The wind was howling and hitting about 20-30 mph but we decided to go for it anyway.

The first three miles are pretty much on an old roadbed and was still almost totally snowcovered. We slogged along on that until we came to the spot where the road continues but a trail heads northeasterly towards Mt. Rose. The trail drops down about 300 feet as you make your way across a meadow and as we lost the elevation we actually dropped out of the snow zone for a brief bit of time. When the trail headed back up, we were back into trying to figure out where the trail went since it was mostly snow covered. A few footprints were visible from time to time but for the most part, we followed the map and a compass heading and came to the saddle where a post is placed pointing towards the Mt. Rose summit.

The trail then vanished and we made the mistake of going up the left side of the ridge which put us on more snow. Finally, we found the correct line and was soon free of the snow the last mile or so to the summit. The trail was a good companion especially when the wind came up and buffetted us pretty good.
As we neared the summit shelter, the wind continued to pick up and soon it was hitting gusts of 40 and 50 mph. My partner had one of those wind instruments that would give him that info as we carefully picked our way upward. The temp was 27 degrees but with the wind blowing as it was, the windchill factor had to be well below zero which accounted for my numb fingers and toes. We also had no view when we got to the highest spot as we were totally in the clouds. Oh well, that wasn't new, having been used to the northwest mountains.

After a quick lunch, we made our way back down the mountain and one wind gust that my friend clocked at 66mph about blew us off the summit ridge. We did a very low profile and kind of crab walked until we got out of the wind. After we dropped in
elevation, feeling started coming back into our fingers and toes.

The rest of the hike out was uneventful although I hated regaining that 300 feet lower down but the interesting thing is that on the friday before memorial day we did not meet another person on this mountain. I wonder why?

The next day we summitted Granite Chief near Squaw Valley in perfect weather and no wind. What a difference a day makes.
Still, it was a great day in the mountains and Mt. Rose will always be a special mountain. Someday I'll have to go back and see what the view from there is like.

UPDATE: Since this trip report has been written, Pete Yamagata has brought to our attention that they have now re-located the TH to the Mt. Rose pass parking area.
Check out these pictures:
Pic one showing the new parking area.
Pic two showing the sign
Pic three showing the new welcome center
Pic four showing the new trail sign
Thanks to Pete for taking the pics and sharing this information



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