Rubies Day 5

By Luca

7 September 2011

I really thought that one could find any sort of information on the Internet. Well, you can find almost all the information you want, unless it’s about Verdi Peak.

I saw a picture of Verdi Peak and Verdi Lake on Wikipedia and decided that was a must-do. The usual unknown was how to climb Verdi. There is a remarkably long trail on Talbot Canyon that was taking to the Verdi Lake, but it seemed an overkill and I wasn’t sure the trailhead would be 2wd passable.

I found some web pages that were talking about getting to Verdi Lake from Terraces Campground (which is not a campground), so I was pretty confident it could be done.

Another point from starting from terraces was the elevation: we started at 8435 feet, making this option very appealing.

While driving the Lemoille Canyon road, we were trying to figure out how to go up since I didn’t have a track. We parked along the road (since terraces charges 5 bucks for dayuse) and headed up a steep slope with some ledges (some of them tricky to bypass). The initial part was on a faint gully which later became a very evident gully.

There were several facts to consider. First of all the “real” name of the mountain was Verdi Peaks, not Verdi Peak, so we knew there was more than one peak. Which one was the highest? The Garmin maps I use are very inaccurate in these circumstances.

Assuming Garmin had the correct location of the highest summit, we decided to gain the ridge just south of it and just scramble up the ridge.

We gain the ridge at around 10am, less than 2 hours after we started, but the ridge looked impassable by means of class 4. It looked a serious rock traverse over class 5 sketchy rock and we decided to retreat from that route.

Now, Wikipedia said the easiest way up was a scramble, so I was sure there was an easier way. We descended 100 feet or so and headed north. The terrain looks scary but turned out to be a lot better than we thought.

One hour later we were at what Garmin thought it was the summit. It was definitely a high point and definitely one of the Verdi Peaks, but I was convinced the peak north of it was the highpoint, so we scrambled there. Ephrat had to go back to the false summit because she forgot her hat and I was the first one to reach the real highpoint.

From the real summit, we could see the beautiful alpine Verdi lake. There was also a summit register and a plaque dedicated to somebody that died at almost 80 years of age.

11:15am, both of us not too tired. I proposed to climb Mount Talbot, on the other side of the lake and so we did.

Going down to the lake was over easy terrain and didn’t take long at all. The slope to Mount Talbot looks extremely stiff, but it’s actually pretty easy. We got to the summit of Talbot at 12.30pm and we had a snack.

The view of Verdi Lake and peaks from the summit of Talbot may be the best view of the entire trip; I bet nobody would ever guess that alpine lake and beautiful peak is just few miles from Elko.

There appears to be a more difficult and interesting peak than Verdi just next to it (I don’t think it’s one of the Verdi Peaks); I don’t know if anybody ever even climbed it… we’ll give a try next time (roped).

The traverse from Talbot to Smith is eventless but proved to be longer that we thought. We reached the summit of Smith in about 1 hour and had our lunch.

We reversed the way back, although I am pretty sure that the slope north of our gully would also lead down to the road and may even bypass the ledges. The gully looked long, but we were able to bypass some of the difficulties found on the way up. We were back at 5pm.

Stats: 9.5 miles, 9 hours, 5500 feet elevation gain.

We drove to Lemoille and we stayed to the picturesque Lemoille Hotel. Their price does not vary from weekday to weekend or Holiday and is not particularly low, but it’s well worth it. We had dinner in the little park in front of the Hotel (which, for some reason, has a locked gate on the main road but is accessible from the side). Once more Ephrat surprised me with a delicious dinner prepared in about 10 minutes. We finished the night having a hearty 3-layer chocolate cake (obviously shared, I think the portion is suitable for Hulk Hogan).

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