WHEELER PEAK (11,664') CLASS 1
Location: 13 miles NNW of Bridgeport, CA
Drive: Same as South Sister, Route A, Drive. Park at Lobdell Lake.
Climb: See Mt. Patterson, Route A, Climb. From the summit of Mt. Patterson, follow the main ridge south along a jeep track to a point where the ridge turns left (east). Hike cross-country along this spur ridge to the summit of Wheeler Peak. This is the easternmost highpoint past a small false summit.
Drive: Take U.S. 395 to a marked intersection 1.1 miles south from the sign marking Devils Gate Summit. Turn left (north) on a good road marked "029" up Swauger Creek. In 0.2 mile, pass under a phone line. Ignore the service road to the left. After 0.7 mile more, pass a sign, "No Hunting Private Land Next Two Miles." Pass private homes. At a junction after 1.8 miles more, go straight, which will be the left fork. In 0.2 miles more, the road gets much rougher. Most will park on a wide section just before the road drops into a creek. Aggressive 4WDs could, but should not, proceed a rather short way further. The road is heavily washed out.
Climb: Continue to follow the sometimes muddy track up canyon, taking care on the washed-out sections. After about a mile, come to a sign, "route closed." Continue on the overgrown track, and shortly, climb cross-country right (northeast) and up to a ridge. Continue north, then to a saddle just beyond Pt. 10,150'. Follow the rocky, sagey ridge northeast to a large, barren plateau with some scenic, windswept trees. Continue east to the west ridge of Wheeler Peak and join Route A.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: Follow Route B, assuming there is enough snow to make a ski ascent worthwhile.
TRIP STATS: Route A, (see Mt. Patterson, Trip Stats) 400 feet extra gain from the summit of Mt. Patterson with an additional 400 feet gain on the return, 2 miles extra one way; Route B, 3,400 feet gain, 4 miles one way; winter ski ascent via Route B from U.S. 395, 900 feet extra gain, 2.5 miles extra one way.