Davidson Peak


By: Wes Shelberg



The East Mormon Mountains are a north/south trending, Great Basin range in southern Nevada north of Lake Head and east of the Mormon Mountains. The East Mormon Mountains and the Mormon Mountains are distinct ranges separated by a deep flat valley about two miles wide in the region of Davidson Peak. Davidson Peak is highest at 5320-ft. in the East Mormon Mountains, is at the extreme south end of the range, and is approximately 8.5 miles north, as the crow flies, of Interstate 15 ( the freeway between Las Vegas and St. George, Utah) when the freeway location is approximately 17 miles east of Glendale, Nevada.

The East Mormon Mountains are a tilted crust block more than seven miles long and roughly 1.5 miles wide. The western edge has been uplifted to form an abrupt, vertical, westward-facing scarp which is about four miles long and 1500-ft. high. While Davidson Peak is the highest elevation on the escarpment, other peaks come close.

Jack Grams and I explored the East Mormon Mountains and climbed Davidson Peak. A short Class 2 route was selected, and the awesome close view of the long escarpment from the upper edge was well worth the effort. From Davidson Peak summit we saw badland, mesa and mountain topography reaching into Nevada, Utah and Arizona. There were fine views of the Mormon Mountains to the west including Mormon Peak.

Road and climbing directions follow. Proceed from Glendale, Nevada on Interstate 15 for about 19 miles to the East Mesa Interchange. This interchange and its adjacent road systems are detailed well on the Moapa Peak SE Quadrangle (NV, 7.5-Min) and this topo is recommended for finding the access road to the east side of the East Mormon Mountains. Cross under the freeway at the East Mesa Interchange and continue north on the excellent, wide gravel road that leads to Radio Towers for 14 miles. This brings you at or close to the Davidson Peak "route-head" (the side of the road) which is shown on the accompanying topo map, and which is perhaps one mile from the end of the road at Radio Towers.

The accompanying map shows the route-head and the climbing route taken on Davidson Peak. It reproduces a section of the Davidson Peak Quadrangle (NV, 7.5-Mm). After climbing Davidson Peak, we proceeded northward along the escarpment (retreating from the scarp edge and losing some elevation as necessary to avoid some cliffy impediments) to gain the elongated summit depicted on the map by a closed 5200-ft. contour line just east of the letter E in the word EAST, and just west of the contour number 5000. From there we descended back to the route-head via the approximate route shown by the dotted line on the map. Be advised that, although the topo map suggests a benign descent, there are a couple of cliffy places that could be Class 4 if you were not fortunate enough to find an easy ledge as we did.

The Davidson Peak ascent outlined is rated Class 2. The one way distance from vehicle to summit measures two miles on the map. The elevation gain is 2120-ft. A register was left on top.

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