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Wheeler Peak on Skis
Timestamp Free: 2020.02.22 - 14:47:40
Ranges: North America Ranges / Great Basin Ranges
  (2 days)     Elevation Gain: 1800m
Participants: Klaus Haring
Difficulty: 2: Moderately steep skiing on fairly thin snow cover
Two trips to Wheeler Peak on skis in Dec. and May
This is part of a bigger journey. See Road trip to Nevada 1997

I like NE Nevada with its wide empty valleys separating 3000m high ranges which offer lots of opportunities for easy hikes and scrambles. The first time I visited this area was Christmas 1991, not the best time of year, but in those days I had limited vacation time and the Holidays were a chance to make a longer trip, the main objective being Bryce Canyon in Utah. There and in Zion NP I had unsettled weather and not enough snow for skiing and too much for longer hikes.

It was a stellar winter day as I drove through southern Idaho to Elko Nevada arriving in the dark. The next morning, driving east, the Ruby Range shone brilliantly in its winter coat and looked quite rugged alpine, so did the Humbolt Range further east. I made a mental note to come back some time. Driving south to Eli and east to Connor Pass I stopped there for lunch, then hiked up a short gravel road to a micro wave station and continued through open forest on thin snow to a small bump, 8638' Connor Peak. Its an insignificant hill compared to 13 000' Wheeler Peak further east, my next objective.

It was only short hour drive to the Great Basin National Park headquarters where I found out that the road to the summer campsite was closed, so I began skiing up the trail along Lehman Creek which is several miles shorter than the road. Of course on the shortest days of the year there was not much daylight left and I made camp not far from the trailhead. The next morning I had a crack of dawn start, but it was too late. The gray sky became darker as I climbed up the valley and it began to snow lightly. The closer I came to the steep north face of Wheeler, the less I saw in the increasingly heavier snow. At the upper campsite it...

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