I had spent the night camped at Currant Summit on US6 in Nevada at
6,999ft. It was the first place on my drive from California that had
temperatures cool enough to sleep (61F at 9p). In the morning I was up and
driving to Ely, NV where I gassed up to start my day. My plan was two easy
summits, Cave Mtn in NV and Camp Mine Peak in UT. The former is on the
Great Basin Peaks List, the latter a county highpoint. Camp Mine turned
out to be a bust because the access road was closed due to a fire a month
ago. So instead I turned my attention to Mt. Nebo, another county HP.
This one is a near-P1K found in the Schell Creek Range, east of Ely, NV.
Not sure why it is on a Sierra Club peak list since it is a drive-up.
High-clearance is all that is needed to make it up the road. It is seven
miles of paved road to Cave Lake State Park. They want money to enter
the park even though the reservoir is nearly empty and closed to the
public. The road becomes unpaved past Cave Lake, and gets a little
rougher higher up, but really not a big deal unless there is mud from
recent storms. 15mi from the highway gets one to the summit where
there is a smattering of telecom installations. Cool views
around eastern NV.
Mt. Nebo - North Peak
After getting rebuffed on Camp Mine Peak, I headed
north on I-15 to Nephi
and Mt. Nebo. The paved Mt. Nebo Loop Rd runs from Nephi to Payson on the
east side of Mt. Nebo, climbing to over 9,000ft enroute. At the road's
highpoint are two trailheads that can be used to access Mt. Nebo. It's
a 10mi roundtrip effort with about 3,500ft of gain, 4,000ft if you include
North Peak on the way. There is a good trail all the way, much of it
exposed to weather. I didn't get started until almost 2:30p because of all the
driving beforehand. With sunset scheduled for 8:30p, I figured I had plenty of
daylight. What I didn't count on were the afternoon showers, though I
should have. I set off with just a fanny pack and no rain gear which would
prove my undoing. Though I started under mostly blue skies, there
were clouds forming over the summit even before I started. After an hour, it
was looking threatening and I still had more than an hour to go. I decided to
pay a visit first to North Peak, following the good use trail up
the North Ridge. It started to lightly rain and hail even before I
reached the summit, and I had already heard the first peal of thunder.
Because both summits are exposed with no tree cover, I decided to retreat.
I got half-soaked on my way down and the trail became slick and running with
water. The rain would stop before I got back to
the trailhead, and the storm let up. It seems if I had had rain gear
I could easily have kept
going, though there was always the danger of lightning. Though the
lightning never developed, it was probably a wise choice to retreat,
considering. I would try again in the morning with clear skies, but in
the meantime I found a few easy summits to occupy the afternoon.
These two summits are located a few miles to the northwest. The paved
road goes through the saddle between them. The obvious starting point
is from the saddle, but the area was occupied by a horse camp at the moment.
So I parked at a small turnout just north of the saddle. It was
only about 1/3mi each way, but steep. The lower half is aspen forest with
jungly understory, the upper half more open, but
still brushy. Luckily, it's the soft kind of brush, not the hard
chaparral one finds in CA. The summit is open to views in all directions with
a nice one of Mt. Nebo to the southwest and Bald Mtn to
the west. I was up and down in half an hour. Oddly, Sean
Casserly had climbed this 10mo earlier. A bonus after he did Nebo?
Another two miles north along the road, this one is even easier, about
1/4mi and not much elevation gain from my starting point from the
northeast. There were several cattle munching green stuff along the
roadway where I parked. There is much cattle grazing in the area, it
seems. I passed through a dilapidated fence and made my way through
more jungle to the unassuming highpoint. A fire had burned over
portions of the summit in 2018 leaving many snags. There are views
to Bald Mtn to the southwest and north down to Payson. I could see another
small squall making its way towards me from the northeast, so I made
haste to return to the Jeep
before I got another soaking. This time I did not get wet. It rained a
good bit as I drove back towards the Nebo TH looking for a suitable
campsite off the road. I found one, took a jug shower, and was back
inside before the rain hit again. Only about 10min, though, and the
overlook campsite made for a fine sunset that evening...