Ruby Dome and Wheeler Peak

8 Jul 2001 - by Gary Craig (view roster page)

I just returned from a successful climb of Ruby Dome and Wheeler Peak. My climbing friends were Greg Roach, Mirna Roach, Linda Roman, and Jack Wickel. We all succeeded on both peaks. Here are a few items that might be of interest to anyone climbing these peaks in the near future:

Ruby Dome via the DPS Guide route (Hennon Canyon) is basically snow-free. There are a few patches in the bowl above 10,200', but it is all low-angle and soft... there's no problem kicking a few steps. The lower portion of the Guide's route is obvious. There is a signed trail from the highest campsite in the Spring Creek campground. It quickly passes through a metal gate and crosses the creek. From that point, we stayed on the left side of the creek from that point all the way to Griswold Lake, even at a couple of spots where it looked like the trail would cross back to the right side; there was always a good route without crossing back. Summit register & container OK.

There is NO camping near the Ruby trailhead unless you have made arrangements to get into the SCA campground. The Forest Service "Thomas Canyon" campground in Lamoille Canyon is a nice alternative, although it was $23 to put three vehicles in one campsite or 1 night. It took us less than 20 minutes (one way) for the camp-to-trailhead drive. There are some primitive campsites (free, but no water or "facilities") a few miles down-canyon off a side road to the right.

Wheeler goes almost per the guide. We had nasty fog and wind (no view), but made the summit quickly; we were going fast to outrun any possible t-storms. The DPS guide describes two trails leaving the trailhead, but there is actually only one obvious spot to step off the pavement at the large parking area at the huge parking lots at the Wheeler Peak CG; the trail forks just a short distance afterward. There is a separate "Summit" trailhead at elevation 10160, maybe 1/4 mile before this point; this is another possible route but is maybe 1/3 mile longer than the other route and is not much less elevation gain after accounting for "ups and downs".

No snow whatsoever on the Wheeler Peak trail.

There was plenty of space in both the Lamoille Canyon and Wheeler Peak campgrounds, despite the long July 4 weekend.

Bugs present, but not too nasty.

No driving "surprises" like road construction closures or the like...

If you want to tour the Lehman Caves near Wheeler, call in advance for reservations... 775-234-7331, x242. There is no fee to enter the park, but there is to tour the caves.


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