Grand County High Point Trip Report

Mt Waas (12,331 ft)

Date: June 7, 1998
Authors: Jennifer and Gerry Roach

This is the 4th highest peak in the La Sals, which is a very enjoyable area. Once you get "hooked" on the La Sal Mountains, you will want to do more of them! If that is the case, buy Jose Knighton's book "La Sal Mountains." You can get it at the Back Of Beyond Bookstore in Moab, Utah. A good accompanying map for this whole area is F.A. Barnes Recreation Map for the La Sals.

The Dan Miller - Mike Weibel book, "High in Utah" did not exist at the time we did Mt. Waas, but I doubt that we would have used their route, as it has you on a much longer northern approach up Castle Creek. Instead, we did a much shorter eastern approach. Having a 4WD vehicle really helped accomplish this route. Parking a 2WD vehicle lower down would add 3.5 miles to the hike.

From Moab, drive 2.5 miles north on Hwy 191, turn right (east) onto River Road and go 15.8 miles. Turn right (south) onto Castle Valley Road, go 10.9 miles, and turn left onto Castleton-Gateway Road. Go another 10.4 miles to the Beaver Basin spur road, turn onto it and go another 1.6 miles. 2WD cars should park here. A 4WD vehicle can rumble on another 3.5 miles to the road's deteriorating end in the forest. We parked at 9,800 feet, 0.75 mile before the road's end, almost directly east of Beaver Creek Peak. We hiked west on the old road for a short distance, and then bushwhacked north up through aspen, pine, and then loose talus slopes to the summit of Beaver Creek Peak (11,841 feet). This peak provides a nice preview of Mt Waas, and we got a bonus peak to boot! Follow the easy talus ridge southwest then south to the summit of Mt Waas.

There is a cairn and a register (unless it has disappeared, so bring one just in case). The views are wonderful from the top. Late May or early June is a nice time to hike up these mountains, as we did on this trip. We utilized a lot of snow, which covered up the tedious talus slogging.