Great Basin Revisited

Posted in Nevada Outdoors by GWild on September 18, 2009 @ 04:25

This past Labor Day week my wife Aileen and I traveled to Nevada‘s Great Basin National Park for a camping/hiking trip.

Great Basin is home to Wheeler Peak, which is the 2nd highest mountain in the state. I went to Great Basin for the first time 5 years ago and summited the 13,063′ peak with our friend Jim. Aileen wanted to visit Great Basin, and she said she was game to try to summit Wheeler. So, we met our friend Jim at the park and made a go of it.

We set up camp in the high campground and although we were not able to get our preferred camp site, it was a great spot. The elevation at the high campground is just under 10,000ft, so it provided us with an opportunity to better acclimate to the elevation (we live at 6,000ft).

The first day hiking, we visited the Bristlecone Forest and the Icefield (~11,000ft) where Aileen and I took turns lounging in the rock chair I sat in 5 years earlier on my first visit.

The next day we decided to make a Wheeler summit attempt. Aileen was an absolute trooper, and we made it to the top in 3 hours and 25 minutes.

I was concerned as to whether or not Aileen would be mentally prepared for the final ascent, which can be very intimidating when you see it from the saddle below (2D pictures simply can’t convey what you’re up against when confronted with the final part of the ascent). The view of Wheeler from Mather Overlook gives a sense of the length and steepness of the final ascent leading in from the right side of the peak (this view is from a significant distance from the mountain).

Aileen was fantastic and soldiered on through the thin air making it to the top in good time.

The site Gallery contains some images from the trip, and more will be added as time allows.

Interesting aside:
I took this shot in Utah on US-50 just east of the Utah/Nevada border east of the park. If this does not look like a tilted smaller version of the Stepped Pyramid of Djozer I don’t know what does. Note the snazzy orange trash can…

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