Sunday, February 7, 2016

2-6-16 Wheeler Peak

"I'd rather be in the Oquirrhs'
Plan B was Wheeler Peak.  None of us had ever been to Great Basin NP but from Google Earth the terrain looked promising.  We decided on a 4A start from Andy's hoping to be back in town but 7P.  Seemed a little early for any of our liking but the psych was high as we started south.  The psych was even higher when we found an open Maverick in Delta, even higher when we found warm clean bathrooms at the GBNP visitor center, and even higher when we found a 3 mile trail that lead through dense brush to the base of the cirque WITH a skinner in!
Once we got good views of the upper mountain it was pretty clear winds had been absolutely ravaging the place.  Anything above tree line was scoured down to talus.  No worries though, the chutes where in, the sun was out, and there wasn't a breath of wind.  

From the summit we decided on a SW facing shot towards Pyramid Peak with the hope of climbing back up the back side (south side) of Jeff Davis and then hopefully skiing a NW couloir back into the upper cirque.  We had a rope so decided to give the first pitch on the SW a nice hard ski on rappel.  Our fears of instability (we hadn't touched this aspect) were quickly eased and we ended up finding corn shortly off the summit.

Tom with Andy giving a solid hip belay

The line on the left heading
 towards the camera
From there everything went as planned.  We skinned back up the south side of Jeff Davis and found a scoured NW facing shot back into the Wheeler cirque.  Conditions ranged from wind buffed hard pack to powder.  Setting ranged from amazing to a little better than amazing.  There certainly is more to be done in Great Basin National Park.  If the winds calmed down long enough for snow to accumulate up high this could be a little skiers paradise.


Bristlecone Pines

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