After visiting Zion National Park, drove to Cedar City and slept in the Walmart parking lot before heading west to Great Basin National Park. I stopped in at the visitor center, saw the rifle that had been found leaning against a tree for over a hundred years and while the Park does not require any permits, I did fill out an plan with  the park staff.

From there I drove up to the trailhead and parked, there was basically no one else and the roads to the upper campgrounds were still snowed in.

From there I organized my gear, loaded my backpack and hiked up the trail to the upper campground as that was as close as I could camp. The hike up was rather uneventful, there were a couple of French tourists and some birds.

I set up camp underneath a picnic table, it made it easy to put my tarp over me and was one of the few places where the ground was both flat and dry. I had a dinner of boiled hotdogs and then crawled into my sleeping bag.

Day 2

I woke up shortly after midnight and began hiking up the mountain. It was dark and the snow was frozen solid, I lost the trail once but was quickly back on track. On my way up and across the first big ridge, I slipped and whacked the back of my leg with my crampons and tore my snow pants.

Just before sunrise I was making my way up the peak itself, but a lenticular cloud formed on top of the peak and the wind really picked up. I tried to continue, but the wind and snow was too rough and so I turned round and headed back down the mountain.

Looking towards a socked in Mt. Wheeler

As you can see, the peak was completely socked in, although it did clear off later in the day.

I hiked all the way back to camp and took a nap then just hung out for the rest of day.

Day 3

I got up again right after midnight, put my gear on and headed back up the mountain. It was easier this time because I could follow my tracks from the day before, and it was not nearly so windy. I passed the point where I had turned around the day before and followed the snowed in switchbacks up. At the base of the summit block, I pulled out my ice axe, it was steep enough that I was going to need it.

I could see a few tracks preceding me from a while back, but otherwise it was snow covered. At about this point I started getting altitude sickness, my head was hurting and I was feeling nauseous. I stopped and  had some water, my bottle had a thick layer of ice all round the inside, but there was still some left unfrozen.

I finally made it to the top, dug a small hole with my ice axe and waited for the sun to come up.

Watching the sunrise from the top of Mt. Wheeler

I watched the sunrise and how it slowly lit up the mountain range to  the south before heading back down the mountain.

Looking south from the top of Mt. Wheeler

Going down, I could see Bald Peak in the distance, and since it wasn't too far out of my way, I decided to climb it before I went back camp.

On the top of Bald Peak there was a frosted in weather station and great views of Wheeler Peak.

Weather station equipment on top of Bald Peak
Looking back to towards Mt. Wheeler

From there I headed back towards Mt. Wheeler into the valley and from there back to  camp. I decided to head out that day, so I packed up and hiked out passing more hikers and trees that had been carved many years ago by sheepherders.

Tree carving on the way down from 1933

I made it back to my truck and drove down the mountain, stopping in at the museum and then driving west on the highway until I got to a campground where I saw a bullsnake and watched the sun set on the peaks I had climbed.

Looking south towards Mt. Wheeler and Bald Peak from where I camped.