Re: trip to area 51

Message posted by X 51 on January 13, 2013 at 21:45:49 PST:

I climbed tikaboo about 2 years ago...

But without rechecking...I cannot recall specifically what month...( If I can find my flight details I will confirm)

I thought that it had been in May..

I did chance going solo, with some preparation...
But probably not enough if I had to do it again after the experience and having researched it a bit more.

I cannot say that I found it easy even finding what tracks to take... as I don't think it was obvious and there were a few occasions where I was unsure if I had took the right direction even when I got on the rough track that heads to the Tikaboo parking area. But a GPS did help me stay on track !

I went along the track from between the Lakes south of Alamo.

I did end up going twice... the first attempt I was late in going after poor or inexperienced preparation
slowed me down..I attempted to climb it but after so far I realised that I was not going to make it and get back down in time within the time that I I had to abandon it..

I was up earlier next day and already I was able to arrive relatively early...but not as early as perhaps I should... as I know many climb it before daylight...but without being greatly familiar with the area, I thought that was unwise.

When I initially had arrived, I was unsure just how far one had to go to park...and there was part of the track that seemed quite uneven..and I was unsure if even my 4 wheel drive that I hired could handle it.

If I recall... I didn't chance it and settled for what looked like a small parking area. BUt I think if one had a better type of vehicle that they could have gone further down the track towards what is the main starting point where there are or were colored ribbons on trees to guide you.

At the time I did not know about this and did not start from there.

I was relatively unfit compared to my youth, but determined to try and climb it as the desire was so great the motivation and excitement kept me keen.

I found some sort of trail, but part of it was very steep and parts hit the gravel that just slips under your feet for quite a distance...guess maybe for over 100 to a few hundred feet height wise once you reached that level. and I was taking two steps up and one step back as I tried to climb it..

What I had not accounted for was the SNOW !... I really did think that at that time of the year in the desert that it would had melted... but I had not realized how the altitude effects the temperature on the mountains ...IF I recall I started at about 5000 to 6000 feet and it climbs to over 8000 feet.

It took me longer than I expected, and my GPS helped keep me close to where I wanted to aim for...otherwise I think that I would had got well and truly lost.

It was the 1st time that I had ever used one.( my brother borrowed it to me after showing me briefly how to use it). and I did at times forget what I was doing with it and had moments of despair! ..

Luckily I was able to find a path that had little snow..BUT I did hit patches of it and it was a bit concerning at times as one was never sure if I could pass by or get around it...

Eventually I got to the initial lower peak where you can see the main peak from... and that feeling was exhilarating ! It was still a bit of distance from that point, but much easier to follow...

I spent several hours on the peak.... and it was an amazing experience..BUT IF I recall it was on a SUNDAY... and that is not a good day to climb it...
as little activity happens at the base..

On the way back, I had left myself about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to climb back down..

I had noted the correct trail when I was at the top...
BUt upon returning, I lost the trail...and was unable to find it....BUT I had noticed that the SNOW level was very thick and least at the higher level..

I was able to find a less snow covered path way down, but was able to meet up with the correct path as I decended by cutting across at a lower level to it..

Fortunately I was just able to get down before dark...

Its hard to say just how bad the snow may be during around May seemed that the SUN does hit part of the mountain in parts and melts it much more than the area where the main path is....which is somehow shaded more...probably from another nearby mountain as the sun sets at a certain point..

So You may be able to still climb it if you can weigh up the mountain sides snow zones..and find a lesser snowed up area to climb... but do take a GPS and be careful on the scree....

Mid week would be better and the earlier the better if you want better daylight and viewing conditions.

I did see the light shine early morning a year or so before in November which was absolutely stunning on that day...Talk about dreamland... it was amazing to see the sun cast shadows on the mountains around tikaboo valleys when driving down the 375 ighway...and it is completely different to May..

so time of year and the position of the Sun and time of day makes quite a difference to the quality of the light..

Ideally you want the sun behind you..

as it sets in May... its behind Area 51 and vision and photography will be poor.

Hope this helps.

In Reply to: Re: trip to area 51 posted by Mark on January 11, 2013 at 2:40:07 PST:


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