Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Trail to 10,800 Feet

Before we began our July 1st trek up the Wheeler Peak Summit trail, we had fairly clear skies and nice views of the peak.
Aspen trees in the meadow of the Wheeler Peak campground, just downhill from our campsite, which was at about 9900 feet (MSRMaps map).
It took us a while to get out of camp, but we were finally underway by about 11:00 am. By 11:30 when we came to this great view of the rocky cliffs forming the east part of the Wheeler Peak cirque, we had passed through the morning thunderstorm, which lasted from about 10:30 to 11:30. These cliffs were barely visible during our June 10th hike.

If you want to summit, it's recommended that you start early in the morning, although at least two parties started an hour or more after we did.
A view looking east of the morning thunderstorm, which rained on us, then passed into Utah.
At 11:45 we turned off the Teresa-Stella Lakes Loop trail for the Wheeler Peak trail: 3.1 miles and 2704 feet to the top from here.
Aspen trees.
The trail at about 10,300 feet, as it aims toward Bald Mountain.
Wheeler Peak, as seen at noon from a broad meadow below Bald Mountain, just before the trail goes into some relatively dense and magnificently tall spruce trees.
Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm., commonly known as Engelmann spruce.
The morning thunderstorm as of 12:25 pm, now well into Utah.
This part of the trail is just wonderful: easy to walk on, great views, nice rocks, and only slightly uphill.
Aspen trees with bent trunks on a steep, rocky slope.
A view of Stella Lake and the cirque headwall above Teresa Lake (Teresa Lake cannot be seen in this view). The trail at this point has entered the steep cirque headwall above Stella Lake.
The rock pile above the trees and below the snow chutes is probably a terminal moraine, the most recent one in front of a now-melted glacier.
I love these talus chutes and piles!
As of about 12:30 pm and at about 10,800 feet, the trail goes on...

Wheeler Peak is inside Great Basin National Park


Aurora said...

I like your pictures. I used to live in the southwest a long time ago. Some of the most beautiful parts of the country are in Utah and surrounding areas.

Silver Fox said...

Thanks! The Great Basin National Park, with Wheeler Peak, is just west of the Nevada-Utah line. From the high trails you can see a long ways into Utah, and a long ways towards central Nevada.

Cian said...

Beautiful! I've never been to Great Basin, and now I have to add it to my list of places to go.

Silver Fox said...

It's very neat, I especially love that you can drive to a campground that's at almost 10,000 feet.

Geology Happens said...

I was in Great Basin just last June. The trail was covered in snow, the views were blocked by the snow storm. GB is a wonderful place and I will be back!

Silver Fox said...

I remember that last summer, a few of us, including you and Callan nearly overlapped in being in the park at the same time, at least by a week or two. It could be a good place for a meetup!

Suvrat Kher said...

sigh.... stuck behind a desk :)