Nopah Range, Avawatz Mountains
By: Pete Yamagata
The group met in Shoshone at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning in cool conditions. The leaders, Greg and Mirna Roach, and Julie Rush, organized us to drive to the western dirt road approach for Nopah. We drove about two miles off Highway 178 to a ditch across the road where the passenger cars were stopped. We consolidated into the high clearance vehicles and drove another quarter mile or so where the road ended. Starting at 7:35 a.m., we made the long walk across the playa toward the route up the peak. It took about an hour and a half to reach the base of the range. Greg and several others deemed to try the high third-class cliff variation in the wash to the left of the regular Guidebook route. I chose to go with the remainder of the group to photograph the "standard" class 2 route. Julie and Mirna led us up a steep gully which emptied upwards on a more gradual slope which climbs steadily up toward the peak. Both groups met on the ridge, with then only about 2,000' gain left to the top. We climbed up together, then at the sight of the last several hundred feet to the top, the faster climbers took off and summitted as much as 30 minutes before I gained the summit at about 12:30 p.m. The views were nice, with Charleston Peak and Pyramid Peak quite visible. I took a hit of gorp from someone as I began to get low on energy. We descended starting at about I p.m., taking the easy slopes back down the ridge. There was some uncertainty about the descent route, but the leaders found it, with some help. We were back to the playa at 3:30 p.m., and then had the three mile walk across the desert flats to the cars. We were all back by about 5 p.m. We all headed for Tecopa Hot Springs for a nice soak. Then, we caravanned over Highway 127 to a dirt road almost opposite from the Tecopa Road. About one or two miles west was a nice car camping spot, with a view of the Ibex Hills to the west. There were plenty o salads, chips, and sweet goodies for our group dinner. Sunday, some left for home, and about ten of us chose to do Avawatz. We drove south on 127 to the dirt road that climbs up the peak from the east. At one point, the road was narrowed by a small rockslide which occurred at a steep, loose spot. We stopped about 300' below the solar facility due to a couple precarious wash-outs off the side of the road. Starting at about 9 a. in., we took the dirt road another mile, then headed cross-country up to the main ridge. The supposed use trail was not as distinct as I was led to believe, but it helped to get us to the top at 11:45 a.m. A breezy cool wind and overcast skies slightly dampened our fun. We began down at 12:30 p.m. and took the same route back, where someone found the rock with the DPS emblem ram's head, which should make this a DPS holy mountain! We were back to the trucks at 2:40 p.m. After a long tailgate party, with more of Julie's yummy Rice Krispies bars, we caravanned back to the main highway by about 4:15 p.m. I drove back to Sac by 1:20 a.m. Monday. Other participants were Ron Hudson, Gene Mauk, Sigrid Sexton, Mary McMannes, Anne Marie Schober, Cathy Reynolds, Tom and Tina Bowman, Murray Zichlinsky, Judy Hummerich, Jan Brahms, Dave Reneric, Eric and Lori Beck, and Ruskie.
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