Wheeler Peak, Nevada Gem

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 38.98610°N / 114.3125°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Oct 23, 2003
Wheeler Peak is not the highest peak in Nevada, that honor goes to Boundary Peak on the west side of the state by a little over 80 feet. However, it is a magnificient peak that is visible from just about anywhere in the eastern part of the state. To get to it though, requires a relatively long drive from anywhere else.

I decided that I wanted to climb (or hike it if you will) Wheeler earlier in the year when I found out that it was the highpoint of White PIne county and a National Park highpoint. Since I had a chance to go to Las Vegas to visit family, I talked my wife into letting me make the "extra" miles out of the way effort to Great Basin National Park, so I could do Wheeler. She agreed even though she understood that she would be subjected to the waiting for me at an elevation of over 10,000 feet (trailhead). Now that is quite a sacrifice on her part since she doesn't do well at elevations over 8000 feet but she agreed to it willingly.

We left Jackpot nevada at 5:30 a.m. and arrived at the trailhead at 11:00 a.m. Now mind you, we were driving at speeds of 75 mph most of the way and it still took forever to get there. We had driven 7 hours from our home in Kennewick Washington just to get to Jackpot where we stayed the night so you can see the distances that are involved in driving out here in the west.

The trail up Wheeler was a delight until the last 1000 feet which was mostly loose scree and you had to watch your step. (doh)
The wind was blowing fiercely across the ridge but amazingly enough, it was not blowing at all on the summit. I summitted just ahead of a couple from Park City Utah and they were the only other people I saw on the mountain all day except for a couple of neat people from Austria that I encountered as they were descending.

The views from the summit are so panoramic that a camera can't capture the effect. Unfortunately, it was a hazy day so views were somewhat diminished by that aspect but even then, they were still amazing. This is not a diffficult mountain to get up other than altitude and is worth the extra effort to get to it.

The summit register is kept in a mailbox found in a rock shelter just below the summit area and I found it a well protected register. I signed it, took the mandatory pictures and descended back to my wife who was surrounded by 8 deer when I returned to the vehicle. The deer are not afraid and were after the sparse grass that was in the area where we parked.

The drive from Wheeler Peak to Las Vegas is a forever kind of drive. You see signs that say "next gas 81 miles" and you can trust them to be correct. There is a lot of nothing in between towns so you need to keep your gas tanks topped off and your belly full. A fun day in the middle of Nevada.



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