McCullough Mountain, Potosi Mountain


By: Mark Adrian, Dennis Richards, Bill Stevens


Dennis and I arrived late Friday evening and camped about 0.25 miler E of Potosi Spring on a spur road. The camping/parking area at the Spring is littered with broken glass bottles, shot-up aluminum cans and gun shells, amongst other various trash. However, the Spring was flowing as good as ever.

Saturday morning, in cool and hazy weather, we started for Potosi via Variation Route A about 7:30 A.M. as gunfire from nearby shooters and braying donkeys serenaded our ascent. After an uneventful ridge run (don't stray far from the ridge line), we arrived at the summit near 10:30 A.M. This was my third time on Potosi, and, since my previous visit(s), a new can-over-can register has been placed, as well as a large antenna structure 50' from the summit cairn - a sign warning :'HIGH ENERGY EMMISSIONS'. Due to the haze, views were unimpressive, except for the growth of metropolitan Las Vegas and its newest landmark: the distinctive, pyramid-shaped, Luxor. Leaving the summit near 11:00 A.M., we returned to the truck and were headed for Searchlight, NV, by a:30 P.M., where we rendezvoused with Bill Stevens about 4:00 P.M.

Our plan war to bag McCullough via the 'elusive' Route A. First, though, a mileage correction for Route A's drive in : Following the power line road 3.9 miles N to a junction, turn left (W) on a fair dirt road and go 1.5 miles to a fork. Then, go right (N) for 2.2 miles and park. The last 2.2 miles has numerous rocks and deep sand which MAY trap 2WDs.

We awoke Sunday morning to a clear sky and mild weather. As we prepared for departure, the rising orange Sun painted the peak tops and warmed the crisp, chilly morning air. After a few last sips of Dennis' legendary, fresh-perked coffee, we set off for McCullough at 7:00 A.M. Armed with maps, compasses and altimeter, wet were determined to conquer Route A, evading all deceptive ducks and "false' routes. We carefully picked our way through the frayed system of forested washes and successfully reached the saddle E of Point 6425, where, we sighted McCullough. Continuing on, the route finding erred and we were on top by 10:30 A.M. Since the haze/high clouds of Saturday had cleared, we had exceptional views In all directions. This route on McCullough is very scenic and gentle, most of it in sandy wash beds.

A sealed PVC pipe canister had accumulated a significant amount of water and soaked the register - - I've seen this phenomenon before. We let it dry, signed In, and placed it back into the pipe, leaving one end open. Then, open-end first, placed it into an existing metal can and back into the cairn, weighted with a rock. The can-over-cars allows evaporation and is preferred to an air-tight sealed container. Also, someone has removed/stolen McCullough's Bench Marker since there is a hole and cement remnants in a rock under the decomposing wooden cross.

After snacks and pictures, we departed McCullough at 11:10 A.M., reversing the Route. We prematurely pulled up, out of the wash, about 0.4 miles N of Point 8425, undershooting the preferred saddle. But, this was inconsequential to our progress. We returned to the vehicles by 1:30 P.M. and were on pavement, heading W far Nipton, by 2:15 P.M.

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