The Drive In
Telescope Peak seen on the drive in.
The day started out by driving to Wheeler Pass at 5AM. The light of dawn was just coming into the sky. Driving from Las Vegas I had 2 options: Take HWY 95 north and then head towards Cold Creek and take Wheeler Pass Road from there or drive on HWY 160 towards Pahrump, NV and drive on Wheeler Pass Road. The later option is an extra 25 miles or so but was well worth it because I didn’t need to use 4WD at all. The road on Wheeler Pass from this side is well maintained. While driving along Wheeler Pass we (sierragator
and I) were rewarded with a great view of Telescope Peak in the distance.
Wheeler Peak seen from Wheeler Pass Rd.
We arrived at Wheeler Pass a little before 7:30AM. My thermometer gage in my pickup read 34 F along the drive in on Wheeler Pass Road in the shade of the trees. Though once on the pass in the sun it warmed up very quickly.
We started hiking on west up the 4WD road that goes up the ridge the first part of hiking up to the long ridge to Wheeler Peak. There were some rocky outcrops along the way with a tiny touch of class 3. Once on the main ridge you can see the ridge line all the way to where it steepens to Wheeler Peak’s summit.
|Elevation (ft) & Distance (mi)|
|WPT 1||Park||36°23'28.1"N'||115°47'50.7"W||7,738; 0.00|
|WPT 2||On Main Ridge||36°23'47.9"N||115°48'16.0"W||8,431'; 0.73|
|Start of Steep Section||36°24'50.5"N||115°48'34.5"W||8,347'; 2.10|
|WPT 4||Wheeler Peak||36°25'17.6"N|
While hiking the 1.5 mile ridge there were many trees. It had a forest feel to it. I was hoping to run into some wild horses as they are popular in the area. We, however, did not see any. Though there were signs of horses every where.
The last part of the hike, the push to the summit up the steep ridge, finally came. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Though the ridge did get steep. Once on top of the final ridge it was a short 140 yard stroll to the summit. The bald summit provided stunning views of Willow Peak to the SW which still had snow. Mt. Charleston, Mummy Mountain, Macks Peak, and the rest of the Spring Mountains were stellar to the SW to say the least. Great views out onto the Nevada Test Site in the distance as well. For Alien enthusiasts one could make out Papoose Lake and Bald Mountain near the famous Area 51 in the distance to the North.
Once we finished the hike we sat at Wheeler Pass and enjoyed the nice day and some food. There were people riding their 4-wheelers coming from the Cold Creek side of the pass. We then decided to head down Wheeler Pass towards Cold Creek and make an attempt on Bonanza Peak. The first two miles from the pass towards Cold Creek on Wheeler Pass Road was pretty bad. Four Wheel Drive was needed as well as high clearance. The last 5 miles to Cold Creek the road was in good condition.
Once we got to the trailhead we noticed several vehicles. Starting elevation was around 7,600 feet. We hiked up the trail to about 9500 feet where we ran into a group of day hikers. They said they made it up to about 300 feet below the summit. They said the snow was knee deep and that it had not been traveled on. We decided, being in shorts, we did not want to post hole and be in pain the last part to the summit. So we made a wise choice and turned around. Though the extra 5 mile hike in the shaded trees was worth it.
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