Pahrump Point, Potosi Mountain
By: Paul Bloland
Paul and I decided to attempt Potosi again over the weekend of 5/9-10, and all who had been on the previous climb were telephoned and invited. Kaye Rowley, Anne Marie Schober, and John Thomassen, accepted. Steve Durkee joined us.
Having read in the "Desert Sage" about the Mad Greek Restaurant in Baker, some of us decided to have dinner there on Friday night. We discovered it to be a fast food place, with some of the popular traditional dishes not on the menu.
Pahrump Pt: Car camp was set up off the Chicago Valley Road, .6 mi in from SR 178 (roadhead for Nopah) after having attempted in vain to find a superior site remembered from a Dale Van Dalsem list finisher trip. The next morning we drove back to SR 178, then the short distance to the roadhead for Pahrump.
The Guide directions were clear and the route is well ducked, both of which helped the climb go smoothly. There was much variety on this short climb. Afterward, we drove to examine some historic ruins: miners habitats carved out of soft rock complete with metal chimneys thru the ceilings. There was a small boot hill nearby.
At the DPS Banquet on May 6, slides had been shown of the site, which is visible about approximately one half mile west of the southern intersection of SR 127 and SR 178 in Shoshone. (The proximity of the old Mojave River Trail to the town of Tecopa was seen on another slide.)
We then drove to Tecopa Hot Springs and from there again to the Saddle West Casino Restaurant in Pahrump, where this time the dinners were disappointing.
Potosi Mtn: Sunday morning, we retraced our route up the chute from Potosi Spring, and contoured directly for the junction of route B, this time attempting to minimize elevation changes, rather than contouring up and around. (We are now convinced that taking the main ridge is the best route.)
Ahead could be seen a saddle with large antennas similar to those we later found on the east side of Potosi Peak, located immediately to the north.
Looking down route B from the junction, could be seen what appeared to be a good dirt road leading almost to the foot of the steep portion. There was a large structure near the upper end.
From the junction, Guide directions were followed; we walked parallel to a cable on the ground. It had been severed; judging from the clean condition of the white strands inside, the damage had obviously occurred not long before our climb. This brittle appearing black tubing had also been crushed in another place. (Could the damage explain all the new looking, closely spaced, uniform size, red "No trespassing" signs along the length of road, route B would normally be started from?)
The cable route was indirect with little gain. There would seem no advantage in making the detour instead of heading up the ridge directly for the summit; the route drawn on the Guide topo. From the junction there is a chute just to the north of the topo route, which is probably used. Possibly causing further damage to the cable is another reason for not following the printed directions.
From the summit one has a unique view for a peak on the DPS List; that of a large city, Las Vegas, Nevada, almost within striking distance.
Five weeks had elapsed since our previous attempt, and the only snow that we saw on the ground was a 10 x 20 ft patch near the summit.
On the way down, we followed the main ridge. There were ducks at the turnoff for the Route A Variation. We passed a mine and crossed a road as we neared our vehicles.
It took three attempts (once by route A) for Paul, Anne Marie and I, to finally bag Potosi; but there is something appealing about the Peak and area; we may even venture there again to do some exploration.
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