Arc Dome, Mount Jefferson, Ruby Dome, Wheeler Peak
By: Roy Ward
This trio was originally scheduled as a bus trip by Phil Bruce, but was cancelled due to lack of interest. Using Paul Lipsohn's write-up in Jan-Feb i974 Newsletter in reverse and Phil's homework and maps we left Thursday am. Drive north on US 395 to Bishop; right on US 6; north on Nev 10 to US 95 to Luning; north on Nev 23 through Gabbs to Nev 91. Approximately 14 mi. past the end of the pavement (road goes straight to Berlin and State park) at road crossing sign Ione 9 mi, turn left, follow sign, 6.3 mi Ione. At 6.0 mi stay left, at 1.7 mi cross intersecting road sign r.i.p. "Stewart Creek 10 mi." Follow sign past school on the left. The ranger station is 1/4 mi north of intersection on Austin road. There is a sign r.i.p. Stewart Creek, stay right, O.6 mi stay right, 1 mi stay left, .5 mi stay right, 1.1 mi sign Stewart Creek, 5 mi, stay right, 2.8 mi stay right, .2 mi cross creek, stay right, .l mi, sign Illinois creek stay left. Columbine Camp is on the left 3.5 mi farther and is located on Stewart Creek. Here we spent the night and were joined by the Akawies, the 3 Petitjeans and Barbara Reber.
Next morning we walked up the abandoned jeep trail which continues past Columbine Camp. This is driveable about 1/2 mi before it becomes blocked by downed timber, no maintenance etc. We followed the old road about 3-1/2 mi past the Aspen trees, up over a small ridge, cross a meadow, up another ridge bearing left around the shoulder. The trail stayed on the west side of the ridge for a way, then switches back up onto the plateau (first view of the peak). There is an intermittent trail just on the west side of crest of ridge. Follow the trail to the south of plateau, drop down and cross the saddle and climb the ridge to the summit. Nine people were on top in 4 hours. Toiyabe Dome is about 10 mi round trip and 4400' gain.
The Petitjeans and Akawies left to rejoin the group at Ruby Dome. The rest departed for Mt Jefferson, where we joined by Tim and Melissa Duffy, Henry Carls and Mike Manchester. We retraced our route to get on black top at Gabbs and on down to Luning. We drove southeast on US 95 to Tonopah, east on US 6 about 6 mi, then north on Nev 8a (approx. 35 mi.)turn right (east) on Nev 69 through Manhattan, at 6.1 mi sign r.i.p. Belmont, stay left; 1.7 mi turn right, 1.5 mi turn left on Nev 82; 6.1 mi Belmont; 5.1 mi Meadow Canyon sign turn left. At 1.5 mi and Jefferson Summit sign turn right and park American cars. The dirt road which continues towards Jefferson can be driven by high clearance vehicles. Drive 2.1 mi and park at end of the road where the fence angles slightly to the right. Start up the hill and recross the fence. An intermittent trail starts and goes on the left of several rock outcroppings. Below the false summit the trail goes around to the right(stay right around and behind summit ridge)following trail and ducks to the top. Eight people made it to the top in 3-1/2 hours. After lunch we headed down, the Duffies departed our company and the rest of us headed for Ruby Dome.
I retraced my route back to Nev 8a but was told that Nev 82 (dirt) will go. Following Paul's directions I elected for the black top. We drove north on 8a; east on US 50 almost to Eureka; then north on Nev 51 to Carlin; east on US 40 to Elko. Follow the Spring Creek signs on 5th Street or 9th Street past Spring Creek development toward Lamoille. At Pleasant Valley Road turn right to Spring Creek Campground. This may be the last year we can use this campground as it is private property. We met at the parking area at the end of the road. We were joined by Steve Smith. The next morning we crossed Butterfield Creek and followed an intermittent trail up the northeast (left) side of the creek to Griswold Lake as per Paul's route. We then climbed ledges on the southeast around a small peak and up the ridge to a peak between Ruby and Lee B.M. This route was chosen as there were cornices of snow along the rest of the ridges. We did not have to drop for more than 50' to traverse over and climb the ridge to Ruby Dome. We did the last 3000' in well consolidated snow. Eleven people made the peak and had a very beautiful view, by far the best of the 4 Nevada peaks. After several nice glissades on the way down, we were back at the cars at 1715. This peak is about 8 ml RT and 5000' of gain. Steve and family left to go to the Expo in Seattle while the rest of us headed for Wheeler.
We retraced our route to Elko, then east on US 40 to Wells, south on US93 to Ely, then east on US 50 and 6 over Sacramento Pass to Nev 73 to Baker. We then took Nev 74 toward the Lehman Caves National Monument. Just before the Lehman Caves turn right and follow signs to Wheeler peak. There are severa1 campgrounds in the area. We were unable to reach the upper campground as the road was blocked by a Forest Service barrier at the lower overlook. The upper campground does not open until June 15. No reason--just policy.
We left the cars and added on an extra 6 miles or so to our hike. We did a little cross-country to cut off some of the road switch backs. Where the road started to drop down to the upper camp, we followed a trail marked by a sign to Stella Lake. Follow the trail on up to Wheeler Peak. A very windy (up to 50 knots, we thought) climb and eleven people were on the summit before 1230. This was approximately 14 mi and 3900' of gain.
On the peak I said goodbye to the group and started down with my 2 riders, as I had to go to work at 0330 Monday am. So we descended, fast and followed US 93 through Las Vegas, to I 15 to Los Angeles. I arrived in El Monte just before 0200. I did make it to work on time. A phone call assured me later that all had gotten safely down and most of them had toured the Lehman Caves National Monument. Except for the wind on wheeler, we had beautiful weather and an excellent trip in Northern Nevada.
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