| Part 2 Weminuche Wilderness West Ute Creek Walk
12300 Lake Mt Nebo
The watch alarm went off at 4:15, but I was already half awake listening to the rain on the tent. It lessened and I lit
the stove for cereal and coffee. Rain at four o'clock in the morning is never good at 12000 feet. I let the gruel settle
while the caffeine kicked in. Well, no pain no gain, up and at 'em.
Sunrise over Rio Grande Pyramid
The sky overhead was clear, to the east clouds hovered over the Pyramid. I decided to step it up a notch, took
off quickly and moved along.
I hiked directly up the north northwest ridge and summited 13110, The sky west was clear. To the south, mare's tails
and cirrocumulus warned me not to linger.
The Grenadier Range
Mt Nebo Summit of 13110
Another fabulous view of the Grenadiers and Stormy Gulch west, White Dome northwest, presented itself, and I
rewarded myself with a Power Bar.
South Slopes 13110
Southward I descended to Nebo Pass, the scenery better than the day before. Moving along in the early morning
like this is invigorating, and even though breathing heavily, the psychological uplift helped to push me up the slope.
North Ridge 13230 Mt Nebo Mt Silex
13110 13308 13342
I had to ascend what I downclimbed the day before to the near thirteen point, then crawled down the two hundred
feet to the saddle. The five hundred foot climb up Nebo's east ridge is similar in layering to the Grenadiers, but
relatively gentle in gradient.
Summit Mt Nebo
13230 Nebo Lake
Summit Mt Nebo Grenadier Range
On the summit of Nebo, I watched the clouds forming, with no wind. Very early morning monsoon weather, I
guessed a front was near.
Sunlight Peak Vallecito Mountain
Storm King Peak Stormy Gulch
Rio Grande Pyramid 13230
Time to go, I wasn't interested acting as an early morning lightning rod. I screed down the slope, to the south of the
ridge, back up the ridge below the point, crossed below it on a lousy littered slope then scampered back to Nebo Pass.
Descent Slopes 1230 Mt Nebo
I slowed, taking more pictures on the game trails. The clouds remained stable, building then dissipating.
I wandered into camp.
Rio Grande Pyramid
So now a decision had to be made. Pack out now or go tomorrow. The weather got better. So I continued to read
and sleep, thereby allowing the default option. Besides eating the rest of my food would lower the weight of my pack, right?
Only the rabbits were more bold. That evening at twilight, the tent door was open, with the netting zippered down.
The rain had come and gone. I thought I was just overly concerned and the next day would be wonderful as I drowsed.
Suddenly I opened my eyes, looking at the rabbit six inches away, trying to chew through the netting! Again this behavior
kept on until dark: what the hell?
So of course it rained in the morning, finally relenting so I could pack up a wet tent, thereby adding back the weight I
dropped by eating all my food.
Bad Weather Rio Grande Pyramid
I hit the trail, contoured around and up to Starvation Pass.
Camp Area 12000 ft West Ute Creek
West Ute Lake
Upper Basin West Ute Creek 13110
The weather was definitely all
downhill, so I booked it down the trail. At treeline three quarter miles from my truck I passed a squawking hawk in a tree. I
yelled at it that there was a tasty meal of two rabbits just the other side of the pass, and it should take advantage of my
scouting. The hawk ignored me. I reached the truck and, sliding the backpack into the bed it began raining.
Storm Brewing over 13342
All in all, a good few days of hiking!
(It rained the next three days in Silverton, closing off good hiking for the while. A tropical storm was crawling up the coast
of Baja, with its counterclockwise flow, pushing Pacific moisture into the San Juans. Along with the usual monsoonal flow of
Gulf moisture, this accounted for the unusual conditions I encountered that week. I consider myself lucky to accomplish
what I did when I did. The prospect of sitting in a tent for three or more rain days is unpleasant at best!)
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):