Wheeler Peak spring skiing

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Trip Report
Nevada, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
May 18, 2002
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Created On: May 29, 2002
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After visiting Great Basin National Park last summer I promised myself I'd return with skis, this is a beautiful, remote & uncrowded place. Waited till the road opened to the Wheeler Campground at 10,000' on 5/9 & visited the next weekend I had open. Camped Friday night 5/17/02 w/five friends at Upper Lehman at 7,800'.

Saturday 5/18/02 we were on skis by 8:15am, there was snow from the Wheeler campground. Skinned past Stella Lake up the obvious gully to the very windy summit ridge. Had to boot the last ~500'. We were on the 13,063' summit by noon & the summit was calm. Skied the NW couloir to about 10,800' & returned to the summit ridge. Followed the up route to the bottom of the gully & returned to the trailhead past Teresa Lake through amusing unsupportable snow. ~8hrs, fine spring ski tour.

Sunday 5/19/02 we headed to Jeff Davis Peak. Got a 7am start & followed the Bristlecone trail. A beautiful route winding through morraines past the ancient trees, ~3mi to the base of the Jeff Davis north face. We skinned then booted the last ~500' to the 12,771' summit. Ski crampons help a lot. We were able to ski to ~10,600' & returned to the trailhead past the gnarly bristlecones through more amusing unsupportable snow. ~7hrs, another fine spring ski tour.

Other highlights: A local tradition is goofy "fence art" along the Park entrance road from Baker NV. In particular watch for the rusted Model T being driven by a horse skeleton (the Horse With No Name) on the south side of the road. Also lots of alien variations & other weird stuff. Lehman cave in GBNP is fantastically decorated, it's a real life hallucination & well worth a visit. Try to do the long tour.

This is a beautiful remote place & I've really enjoyed every visit. Rare in these days of fees to go anywhere, there is no charge to visit Great Basin National Park. Wheeler & Jeff Davis are very skiable peaks & with the road to 10,000'', access is very reasonable. We'll likely be back again next spring w/skis.


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