Queen Canyon 11.3.07

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      [Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum]
      [By: Ben Knorr on November 6 2007 at 3:28 PM]

      We drove from Salt Lake City on Friday morning and arrived at the Queen Canyon mine with no surprises along the way. The weather was terrific and we only found one other vehicle at the mine. After setting up camp and walking around a bit, the owner of the Suburban came down and we chatted a bit about the hike, the horses, the fire in the Sierras just across the valley (that this guy was the first one to report!), and about living in Fairbanks Alaska and southern California.

      The sun set and we finished dinner, walked up the road to explore for the next day’s hike, and got to bed early. We only found moderate breezes during the night, and the temps probably never dropped below the mid 20F range. We awoke on Saturday and made breakfast, then soon discovered that our battery was dead. Ruh Roh! We decided the best choice of action would be to call for assistance from the next cellular window (somewhere up the mountain hopefully).

      So we began our journey and made good time up the road on foot to the standard Queen Canyon trailhead. We forked left immediately after passing the blank sign, and lost the trail. Lucky for us, we ran into a herd of mustangs while off-trail in the knee high sagebrush covered hill. What a fantastic sight! We climbed further and eventually merged back onto the trail. The wind was a near constant 15-20mph breeze, but wasn’t too uncomfortable (especially after the colder/faster winds on Humphreys a few weeks prior).

      We took a short break (after slowing numerous times to admire the awesome views of the Boundary Massif) at the Trail Canyon saddle, and applied sunblock/ate a bit. We saw a little bit of snow on the north slope, and briefly discussed our plan of action should we run into the “ice on the traverse” we’d heard from the hiker who turned back the day before. It looked like it could definitely be icy, especially considering the aspect of the hill and the lack of recent snow. We pressed ahead and climbed steadily south with Trail Canyon Saddle to our backs. I didn’t bring crampons, an axe, nor did I even bring my yaktrax (dumb idea to forget these!). We never encountered the “icy traerse” we’d heard so much about from yesterday’s beta, but only hard snow at worst and mostly a clear trail/good granite to detour around.

      Once reaching another saddle, Boundary’s summit came into view again. We were now quite optimistic that we wouldn’t run into show-stopping ice, and continued along the trail. Never did we encounter anything worse than hard snow that we could generally kick steps into, or easily walk around. We arrived at the summit about 3.5 hours after we started from the mine entrance, and celebrated.

      Only when sitting in the summit windbreak could I get a verizon signal on my phones (wow!), and we called a few folks and scheduled a towing service to jumpstart us upon our return to the car. We signed the log, admired the views, got chilled in the ~20mph breeze, and took off. We bumped into a couple that had was ascending from Trail Canyon, and wished them luck on their way.

      The way down was uneventful, and we were more easily able to find the trail this time (isn’t this always the case, finding the trail on the way down!?). I did step on a reliable looking hunk of granite in the middle of the trail, which dislodged and let loose a mini-gravel slide, causing me to fall and one of my poles to bend quite badly. Crap! I repaired it and continued, emptying my shoes from pebbles every few minutes.

      We reached the trailhead in something around 2.5 hours, and ran into a bunch of folks that were quite kind and willing to give us a jump. What great people! We drove down and waited for the towtruck at US6 for a while, and never saw one come at the pre-determined time. We drove towards Tonopah and still never saw a truck heading westbound. Oh well.

      Overall, I was most impressed with the relative quality of the trail, considering the geology of the mountain, and the location of it. Few granite monsters seem to have such well defined trails all the way to the top around the Salt Lake area.

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