Muddy Highpoint, Eagle Mountain #2, Wilson Peak, Battleship Mountain, Black Mountain


By: Ted Brasket


Jeanette Vincent's son Ken Hedges from Telluride, Colorado is putting together video films from different climbs we do for a Film Festival held in Telluride each year. In September, 1997, he filmed a really fun day on North Guardian Angel with Tom Sumner and Linda McDermott (who needed the peak to finish the list), Sue and Vic Henney, Jeanette and I. For January 17, we'd planned to do the entire length of Eagle #2 in Death Valley from south to north. I thought it would make good footage for Ken's project.

On January 18, we would do the colorful Mt. Wilson in Nevada, the Red Rock Recreation Area high point. The summit is 2,000 feet from the valley floor. We climbed it from the Spring Mountain side. For an added bonus, because Ken was driving down I-15 from Telluride.

I thought about shortening up his long drive to Eagle Mountain by meeting us at the Muddy Mountain campsite and we could do the Class 4, 4,240' peak for some good video film. We met there on January 15. I told Neal Scott about this peak and he wanted to do it with us. Having soled this peak two months earlier, I knew what to expect and it went well. We rapped off to avoid climbing back down the ridge. Ken got some great video footage. Because it was Jeanette's birthday, Neal suggested we call this Jeanette Peak. I shortened it, and we decided on Jenny V P Peak. About 1/2 mile from camp, we were down early and on our way to Eagle by way of Spring Mountain pass and Pahrump. Linda McDermott and Jim Hinkley met us over there Friday night.

Ted had given directions to meet him near the usual route for Death Valley's Eagle #2 Peak. The powerline road and roadhead are still 2WD accessible. We left some cars here, then early Saturday morningdrove south for a short distance on the road to Shoshone, then turned on a small dirt road to head for the south ridge of Eagle. We are able to park then hike to the base of the obvious ridge, following the class 2 and 3 rock to the top of the peak.

Ted did an excellent job of finding routes and we were able to stay on top of the ridge all the way. He gambled on me not requiring a rope; everything went so well that there really was no need for a rope. We were on top about noon, and had time for a good lunch before continuing down the north ridge. Ted's intention was to do the entire south-north ridge.

Jeanette Vincent and her son Ken were on the trip. Ken was filming the trip to enter a film contest about his incredible mother doing these peaks (I won't say how old Jeanette is, but her birthday was this weekend, and it is astounding that she is more spry than someone nearly 20 years younger - namely, me). Jim Hinkley, Ken and I all left the group to go down the regular route while the three veterans who are in their 60's (Ted, Jeanette and Neal Scott) all continued down the ridge and off the north end, getting back to the cars about 4:00 pm.

The next morning we left for Nevada and the Red Rock Canyon area to do Mt. Wilson with it's Impossible Ridge. Leaving as early as we did was eerie because there were clouds on the pass as we ascended the road, and an incredible sunrise to boot. I had to keep remembering that the early morning time really was justified because of what we saw. I really don't like to get up before sunrise.

For Mount Wilson, we ascended an easy ridge and headed north (left) up the main ridge to what Ted called the Impossible Ridge. He had a rope along for me, so I could only imagine what was in store. The ridge really went fairly well, and really only required that I be spotted in one area, though I did choose to hold the rope for a security blanket. There was just a bit of snow on the north slope, and I tend to steer clear of snow when possible after breaking my ankle.

The ridge descends to a wide saddle before gently leading to the peak. Because this was Sunday afternoon, and work called on Monday morning, Jim and I didn't spend a lot of time on top of the peak, electing to leave the group early. We waved to the lounging retirees who were still near the top of the peak from on top of the Impossible Ridge once we got back up. Ascending the spot where the rope was turned out to be no problem.

Unfortunately, there was an accident which looked like it involved a fatality, so we were in stopped traffic near Baker for two hours, adding to the long drive back. One thing I will say about the driving and these trips is that when I look back on the trips, I really don't even think about the driving time. The climbing is always the important, memorable part. My thanks to Ted Brasket for putting together this trip. Participants included: Ted Brasket, Jeanette Vincent, Ken Hedges, Neal Scott, Jim Hinkley and Linda McDermott.

January 20 - Battleship Mountain, Arizona. After the young folks went home to work, the three on Medicare climbed Battleship Mountain in the Black Mountains of Arizona. From our camp,.8 miles off Silver Creek Road, it was a short approach to the base of vertical, exposed cliff bands, class 4. Another great Black Mountain range climb.

I want to thank the participants on Ken's project. It makes longer days with the filming, however it is all worth it because Ken is an expert with his camera always in the right place. A great trip with good friends!

Directions for Battleship from Oatman, AZ: Drive 1 mile NE on historical 66 to excellent dirt road, signed Silver Creek Road. Turn left (west) for .9 miles, then turn right toward the mountain. Stay on the main 2WD high clearance road .8 miles to its end. From the parking area, the high point is at about 30 degrees. It's on the left end of the mountain, separated by a large, steep notch from the right end. The right end looks higher, but itisn't. We climbed the low end and climbed into the 4th class notch to reach the summit. Three miles round-trip.

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