Rubies Day 8
10 September 2011
After a week in the Ruby’s we were finally hiking Liberty Pass, the most famous trail in the area. We knew this was going to be a long day and we had plenty of sleep the day before, so we were ready to hit the trail at 5.20am.
Getting off the car was more difficult as we thought because of the cold temperature; hard to believe that there is even a single spot in the state of Nevada that is _that_ cold in September.
The trail to liberty pass is nice and well maintained. It took us 1h10 to get to the actual pass, which was way further than we initially though.
The other side of the pass shows a completely different wilderness; north of if (the way we were coming) is an alpine rocky terrain, whereas south more brushy. That part of the Ruby mountains is the prettiest, no doubts about it and that justify its popularity.
There were several cars at the parking lot and we thought we would find lots of back-packers, but to our surprise that turned out not to be true. So the question about where all those people went is still unanswered.
Few up and downs, but always easy trail to follow. That’s what we were expecting and that’s what we found.
Our walk was pretty brisk that morning and I was surprised by how quickly we reached the summit; it was only 8.45 when we found the broken jar containing a McLeod register dated back in the eighties.
It was windy on the way up and the wind chill was uncomfortably cold. Ephrat had to stop a couple of times trying to bundle up with the extra layers she brought; when I talked to her, her hands were nearly frozen (a problem she often has). I even thought she was going to bail from Wines, but she proved me wrong and reached the top with me. My hands were also cold and I ended up using the work gloves generally designated as “scrambling gloves”.
It was too early to have breakfast, so we continued to Lake Peak with no break. Also, we were expecting thunderstorms in the afternoon and getting back early may have avoided being wet.
The ridge between Wines and Lake has little/no vegetation and the easy stroll took less than 1 hour. Near the summit there was a little route-finding in order to avoid some towers, but we managed to keep it second class the whole way.
It was about time for a morning snack, which we consumed with one of the most spectacular views we had in the Ruby’s. We could see at least 3 alpine lakes, definitely a different story compared to the dry southern part of the range we started with.
I am not sure whether we chose the best way down; we could have stayed on the ridge and head north towards Favre lake, but we just wanted to minimize the risks of getting stuck in the rain, so we headed south-west and hit the trail again.
The detour to Liberty Peak was totally worth it; the rewarding views from the tiny summit allowed us to spot all the routes of the previous few days, including the impossible-looking slope we scrambled on our way to Verdi and the approach to Snow Lake.
We knew Liberty Peak was going to be popular given the vicinity of the pass, but that happens to be _far_ more popular than we thought. Even the register box was the more “serious” green ammo-box usually found in more difficult peaks. The way down to the pass, compared to our way up, was a joke and we found ourselves at the pass in just a matter of minutes.
The way up on Liberty saw us in pretty good physical shape, since it took us 30 minutes to cover more than 1000 vertical feet from the moment we left the trail (I know… there are people that always keep that pace, but not us).
Being back at the car before 2, we once again escaped the rain. Go us!
Stats: 19.2 miles, 8 hours, 5800 feet elevation gain.
We drove to Elko in the afternoon. I don’t want to spend too many words to say how much I detest Elko and that’s it, after that day I rather fast and have no water rather than spending one more minute in that town.
We ended up in a motel in Wells, the same motel where we slept months before in our first Ruby adventure. We used the extra time to meditate on what to do the following day while drinking cocktails in a sketchy casino-bar next to the motel…