WELLS PEAK (10,833') CLASS 1

Location: 5.5 miles NE of Sonora Pass

Drive: Same as White Mountain, Route A, Drive.
Climb: See White Mountain, Route A, Climb. From the point about 2 miles from the start, one continues and climbs right on the faint trail up the small hillside from where White Mountain is visible. One can now climb cross-country directly and steeply up open slopes to the right (northeast) to connect with the summit ridge, with any number of variations.
Otherwise, the trail climbs up northwest to the pass, which is apparent from below, that leads to Silver King Creek canyon. Whitecliff Peak can be done from this trail. A sign, "Carson-Iceberg Wilderness" marks this pass. Head cross-country right (northeast) straight up along the ridge to the rocky outcrops, then turn right (southeast) along the sagey, then rocky, slopes, heading for the peak, now visible to the southeast. Pass the first, sharper, false summit on its left. Drop some 30 feet elevation across a rocky plateau, then head for the broad, rocky, gently sloped highpoint. The true highpoint is the first one reached from the pass. A lower summit a hundred feet to the southeast, marked by a blank sign, provides a good view of the slopes to the south.
For a quicker, cross-country return from the top, descend to the first canyon to the east. After climbing down class 2 rubble off the summit proper, connect with sandy, open slopes that lead south past the right (west) side of some granite pinnacles. A few faint animal tracks can be followed for short distances. Continue dropping down, staying to the right and heading south/southsoutheast through Lodgepole pine forests. If navigation is good, one will eventually come to open, sagey slopes, and a narrow, rocky gully. Continue cross-country down and south. One should come to the cabin or the Silver Creek Meadows to turn left (east) and arrive in minutes to the signed trailhead.

WINTER SKI ASCENT: See White Mountain, Winter Ski Ascent.

TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,200 feet gain, 5 miles one way; the short descent, 1.8 miles one way.

Notes: See also White Mountain, Notes.
The descent route described in Wells Peak, Route A, Climb, can just as well be used as an ascent route. One climbs directly north up a steep, sagey hillside from the cabin near the trailhead. The peak is not visible from most of this route. Any number of variations can certainly be taken. If navigation is good, the peak will be a sharp hump to the left, with class 2 rubble to climb up its last hundred feet.

Back to Northern Sierra Peaks Home Page