This was one of the least pleasant experiences I’ve had in the mountains.
I’ve been putting off writing this trip report for 7 months now because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to put in words how much it sucked. I’ll try.
The plan was to drive several hours to a remote part of western Utah (near the Nevada border), climb Ibapah Peak (the tallest mountain in the area at 12,087’), maybe climb another mountain nearby, and then drive back. All in a day, and all by myself (as I prefer when I’m climbing mountains).
That’s not quite how it went down.
I drove out there. There are no towns with any services anywhere close to the mountain. All of the roads out there for a couple hours in any direction are dirt. I climbed the mountain (5200 ft of elevation gain and 12 miles round trip). I was a lot more tired and lethargic than I usually am when hiking. I started getting a massive headache. I threw up on the way down.
I got back to my car, drove a few hundred feet down the road, and got a beast of a flat tire. I got the jack and the spare out, jacked up the car, and removed the flat tire. After I’d gotten the flat tire off, the weight of the car shifted and the car bent my jack so that it wouldn’t work anymore.
So now I couldn’t get the car back up off the ground to get the spare tire on.
It was getting dark. I walked a couple miles to a spooky ranch house and knocked on the door. I knocked several times. No one answered. There were peacocks wandering around in the yard and dilapidated buildings and burned-out cars everywhere. There was a big dog that just stood and stared at me without barking. The whole thing was super creepy.
I went back to my car. It was now dark. I ended up spending the night there in the car. This is the desert, but the high desert (I was at about 5,800 feet), so it gets cold at night. I wasn’t expecting to spend the night on this trip; the plan was to do it all in a day. So I stupidly hadn’t brought a sleeping bag or really warm clothes. I spent an unpleasant night sitting in the passenger seat with my feet above the dashboard, turning the car on to keep warm when I got too uncomfortable.
The morning eventually came around and I decided to go down to the “main” dirt road and wait for a car to come by so I could get help. I just needed to borrow a jack. I waited for two hours on the road and no cars went by.
I hoofed it back to the ranch house to try again. An older woman answered the door. I told her the predicament I was in and she said, “They’re in the shed.” So I went over to the shed and there were an older man and what turned out to be his 18-year-old grandson there, working on a truck.
This is where things start to go much better. Both the old man and his grandson were really nice. The grandson (who was there visiting for the summer from Indiana) grabbed a jack and drove me back to my car. We got the spare tire on and I drove it back to their place. The grandfather saw the spare and knew that it probably wouldn’t last all the bumpy dirt road driving I’d have to do to get back home. He went around to a pile of tires behind his shed and found one that would fit my rims. He took the spare tire off, grabbed the old tire and rim, took the tire off of the rim, put the new tire back onto the rim (he had a machine that made it really easy), filled up the tire, and put it and the rim back on my car.
I gave the kid $20 (that’s what I had on me), drove to Wendover, Nevada, and then across the Great Salt Lake Desert and back home.