Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ruby Traverse

On Sunday July 14th Bethany and I completed the Ruby Crest Trail from South to North, starting at Harrison Pass and ending at Lamoille Canyon.  South of Elko, the Ruby mountain range is a remote, largely untraveled range within the Humboldt National Forest than runs in total about 90 miles.  The Ruby Traverse is an approx. 36-40 mile section that runs from Harrison Pass to Lamoille Canyon and includes a wide range of terrain from low elevation sagebrush and wildflowers to higher elevation passes and ridge lines.  We started at approx. 6:30am (MST) from Harrison Pass, parking at the pass itself and running the 2.8 miles up the 4WD double track to the proper trail head (which was a good call for our Subaru).  Kirk Thomas and his wife Judy had generously offered to shuttle us back from Lamoille Canyon to our car, which allowed us to not have to drive two vehicles or, alternatively, set up what would have been a very long bike ride back to our start point. Graciously, Kirk and Judy waited around for our sorry asses considerably longer than any of us anticipated, having to drive down canyon in the afternoon to get reception to check our Spot tracker updates.

My Suunto read 36 miles in total, which took us nearly 11.5 hrs given how slow-going sections of this route were with the snow conditions.  While the first 15 miles or so were generally snow free, from Overland Pass onward forward progress was significantly slowed given the conditions and associated route finding challenges. A couple steep snow fields necessitated some variation from the trail itself and added some spice to the day.  The trail itself is very well marked and easy to follow, however given that a majority of it was buried we were very grateful to have a gpx track to follow on Gaia. There will be plenty of snow on that route well into August by my estimation.

We didn't see a single other human being for the entire day, which was fairly remarkable, as well as a testament to the ongoing winter conditions at elevation.   As advertised, this route was absolutely stunning and quite challenging with approx. 10k elevation gain in total.

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