San Juan County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Peale

Date: May 29, 2004
Author: James Wedekind

We awoke to raindrops on our tent and couldn't drag ourselves out of bed until around 10 am. Then against all common sense, current weather, and weather predictions we headed towards Mount Peale. My thought process was, "Ahh hell, what else do we have to do, and how bad can the weather really be on a small peak in the middle of the desert?" The La Sal Pass road was snow free all the way to the pass but the creek ford was really raging at this time of year. When we arrived at the spur road, the sun was out and we had blue skies (well, maybe 75% blue). We threw some stuff into our day packs and headed up the road towards the looong snow gully.

All went well until we reached the ridge and started towards Peale. That's when the weather decided to change. Within five minutes we were engulfed in horizontal snow (not the soft cuddly kind, but the BB kind) and had winds that America's Cup participants would have loved! Visibility was about 20 feet. So obviously we continued on to the summit?! Fifteen minutes of hard-fought hiking led us to the summit and the convenient summit wind block, except the damnable thing was facing the wrong way!

After cleaning the ice off of the inside of my sunglasses and a "Let's get the hell outta here", we began running down the mountain, propelled by the wind and hoping the gully was closer than we remembered it!

By the time we made it back to the car it was once again sunny and the temp was pushing 50 degrees F.