This hike was part of a hastily arranged roadtrip to Nevada to escape the wildfire smoke that was smothering Southern Oregon. It was also an opportunity for me to visit a few localities I’d missed in years past, such as the Ruby Mountains Wilderness, which is located on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest about 30 miles southeast of Elko, Nevada. Almost 40 years ago, I drove into the Thomas Canyon Campground at the mouth of Lamoille Canyon, got out of the car, gazed in wonder at the surrounding glacier-carved escarpments, got back in car, and drove off. Because, in those days, I believed, with the ineffable hubris of youth, that I had places to be and things to do that were more important than wilderness. Oh, what foolishness. Well, those other places and other things have now come and gone, and it was finally time to visit this wilderness which I had so easily (perhaps too easily) spurned back in the day.
Mount Rose, at 10,776 feet, is the highest peak in Nevada’s Tahoe Basin and the 3rd highest mountain in the Lake Tahoe Basin (Freel Peak at 10,881 feet is the highest and Jobs Sister, at 10,823 feet, is the second highest). The very well-used trail to the summit of Mount Rose is typically described as “…the most popular trail in the State of Nevada…” owing to the proximity of all the people in Reno and Lake Tahoe (and probably Sacramento and San Francisco too). This proximity seemingly results in the trailhead parking lot overflowing on summer weekends – which is impressive given that there is space for 50 cars! I figured my chances for a less crowded hike would be best early on a weekday so, after a short drive up from Reno, I left the trailhead at 0630 on a Wednesday, with only six cars ahead of me in the parking lot.