Charleston Peak, Mummy Mountain
By: Les Stockton
CHARLESTON & MUMMY RESCHEDULED, REVISITED AND FINALLY CONQUERED
The following information was supplied each possible climber with the appropriate reminder that the rain which had been falling intermittently for nine days may have melted the snow and or become ice if night temperatures were low enough.
"Information Charleston Peak June 10-11, 1972.
Topo: Charleston Peak, Nev.
Time: Los Angeles to Campsite is 6-1/2 hours with dinner stop.
Proceed on Las Vegas Freeway (15) to end which leads to Tonopah (95) (keep in left lane). Continue 15 mi. to Hwy 95. Watch for Kyle Cyn. Charleston Peak sign (green). Turn left for 20 mi. Watch for dirt road on right as asphalt makes sharp turn. Sign at dirt road says Mary Jane Camp Ground 1 mi. (All other Campgrounds were closed on May 21st scouting trip, others May be open by June 10) (Kyle & Fletcher were! - Ed.).
Saturday morning we will meet at 7:00 a.m. at the parking area above the picnic ground on the continuation of the asphalt road (which you turned off to go to the Mary Jane Campground). The start of the trail is on your right and plainly marked. We are climbing the south loop as this is the easier climb snow-wise. Although a long haul (18 mi. r.t. and 4000' gain) the gain is acquired early and the long ridge climb (5 miles) is relative1v level with 500' gain at peak. Bring water, (Ice axe and crampons if have them). If we traverse via the north loop to Mummy on Saturday, we may encounter ice and hard snow. Last weekend, rain at Las Vegas undoubtedly brought snow on Charleston but cloud cover has prevented seeing the results.
We will climb Mummy (again, maybe) early Sunday morning and back to the cars by noon for a Las Vegas stop and early ride home. The Mary Jane Campground may be utilized, (30 spaces) and may be full. The ground in the area is rocky and the best bed is on the base of the tables (or the table itself). If camp is full, camp in flat immediately outside campground or try Deer Creek Campground or Hilton Campground on road to Lee Canyon which you passed 3 mi. back on the way in.
If you are coming in late, do what we do most of the time, pull over at some likely place and sack out until the a.m. See you there, be prepared for any kind of weather!
Always, Les Ex. 4-8954 or Gr. 4-0022"
The Ann Wianecki bombers (4) requested permission to go ahead but I knew we would see them again for directions to Mummy although the primary ridge to Mummy is apparent. Shirley Akawie was climbing again after a layoff and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of her two Desert Peak success. She climbed easily without effort. Nice to see you out again, Shirl.
The main party, climbing steadily along the well kept trail, reached the peak on time after the 5 mile whiteout. The, weather was brisk and windy. After a short food stop on Charleston we proceeded on the North Loop trail until the trail started to lose altitude (A Vitz saying). We then left the trail, and stayed on the ridge to Mummy. On this ridge, you can pass the rock on the left if you don't want to climb the friction type slabs, the summit plateau is gained by a short class 3 section on the east end. The appealing center break in the wall is not the easiest way to the summit. (Only 4 people turned back.) No ropes were used, although some non-class,3 climbers appreciated the help of Dick Akawie over the uncertain area on the descent. We proceeded back down the ridge to the saddle ran scree to the trail. Passed the dry spring where we expected water. (Fortunately, snow melt filled our canteens on Charleston, so no one was hurting.) We came to the trail branch down to Kyle Canyon and were back at the cars before 6:30 p.m. despite the non-appearance of our shuttle bus. Climbing both peaks on Saturday allowed the gamblers to indulge their weakness while the less venturesome returned to their campsites. Surprisingly (to the leaders) the only campground that was not open was Mary Jane because it was believed by the Forest Service that the road would be washed out if the rain continued. But many campsites were available in the Kyle campground and Fletcher campground about three miles away.
The campground in the opposite Lee Canyon (which is the quickest-though steepest of the four routes to Charleston) contains over 100 campsites and is open at this time but campsite spaces were not critical at this date. Scheduled two weeks earlier this climb would have been an ice axe, crampon climb. As it turned out, the rain undoubtedly melted the snow and the high night temperatures prevented any freezing.
This is a totally enjoyable (though long) climb and the long drive to Las Vegas was worth it. Will schedule this annually.
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