Kingston Peak, Avawatz Mountains
By: Dale van Dalsem
We parked at the big mine parking lot 1.5 mi w of Horsethief springs & 1/4 mi E of "Summit 5100" on san Berdoo Cty AAA map & walked south up the middle canyon, just E of "1900" & "1950" on Kingston Pk 1984 71/2 to top out on the E-W ridge at 2030+ (Why are they making the new 71/2 in metric when all, our altimeters, guides, etc, are in feet???). We went right up to join the ridge that runs S to Kingston & walked S to Kingston, keeping to the E on most bumps & gendarmes. Interesting hike, with a couple of easy cl 3 moves which probably could have been avoided. The N facing slope coming up out of the canyon almost required crampons & ice axe, as there was some hard snow from the storm of a month ago. Back to the cars by 3:15, 8 hrs total incl 40 min lunch, 22 people, gorgeous, windless, clear day. 3600 gain, 9 or 10 mi r.t.
Most of us then caravanned to Tecopa Hot Springs for the great, free hot shower & skinny dip soak (but they do separate the sexes, sadly). Some went to the cafe in Shoshone (recommended), but over half went directly to the Avawatz campsite. The drivable road into Old Mormon Spring is not on the AAA map or the old 15' topo, but is on the 1983 Silurian Lake 71/2. It leaves 127 19.1 mi N of Baker, and 2.5 mi S of "Renoville(site)" (slight bend in road; nothing else) on AAA map. There is a marker at 19 mi. We camped about a mile in off the paved road & had a clear, cool, windy night, with a campfire of course.
Sunday at 7 AM we piled everyone into 5 high clearance vehicles & drove W up the road. Just before the road forks just S of Old Mormon Spring, we left the one non-4WD vehicle (at about 4.5 mi from pavement; all cars could have made it this far) and drove up the canyon for another mile. Two 4WDs stopped at the first crux move, a steep, boulder strewn, narrow section, and 2 continued, bearing R at a fork, then up the first switchback where we were stopped by a slide (Could have gone further with 10 min of shovel work, but forgot shovels) at 1300m (1,265'), about 7.7 mi from pavement. It was 9 A.M. before we assembled the walkers and the riders & continued up the road to where it starts down into the canyon. We then got on the ridge system just above the road & hiked it to the summit. To quote Maris Valkass in Sage 168, "you sill find a light use trail". Some, but not all, of the many bumps can be traversed around. We saw 2 bighorn sheep and much evidence of many more as tank gun practice in Camp Irwin disturbed an otherwise pretty, but slightly breezy day. We were back to the top trucks by 1:45 P.M. & back on pavement by 3:15. 21 people, 5 hrs hiking r.t., plus 3 hrs driving and assembling and hiking alongside trucks. Probably 2500 gain, including bumps, and 8-9 mi r.t. from truck high point, closer to 4500 gain, 13 mi r.t. from car stopping point near Old Mormon Spring. Without 4WD, best route is probably the canyon just north of Old Mormon Spring, not the ridge system we took. This canyon would be 4000 gain & perhaps 11 ml. r.t. -Dale Thanks to Lou Brecheen for ably filling in for an ill Ron Young as assistant!
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