Arc Dome, Mount Jefferson, Toiyabe Dome

30-Jun-95 (Private trip)

By: Vic Henney and Sue Wyman


The goal of this weekend was to try some new routes and some new peaks in this area of Nevada. We encountered a bit more high water, washed out roads, bad weather and snow at higher elevations than originally anticipated but most of us had a good time nonetheless.

Toiyabe Dome

Friday, June 30th. This unlisted peak, 11,361' is located about 6 miles ESE of Arc Dome. Our approach was up Jett Canyon, the entrance of which is directly west of the gold mining town of Round Mountain. The wilderness boundary is just inside the canyon but the barrier and gate had been dismantled and some vehicles had attempted to drive a bit further. Our hike proceeded up an old jeep road which deteriorated in about 3 miles to a good trail and then into a poor trail. This trail reportedly went all the way to the South Fork of the South Twin River at one time, but the upper reaches are difficult to follow at best. The canyon is beautiful. There are the remains of some old mining camps. Our biggest obstacle was high water and a rushing stream that we had to cross about 30 times in each direction. We hiked as far as a 10,000+' saddle to about a mile and a half southwest of the peak with a relatively clear route to the peak. But then the rains came and the lightning and thunder and we made a well considered and hasty retreat back to our cars. But someday we will return.


Saturday, July 1st. We had originally planned to try Arc Dome via South Twin River, but this is a long and not particularly easy approach under the best of conditions. The water in South Twin River was high and fast and we speculated that the "narrows" would be impossible to negotiate. We could also tell from the previous day that much of the climb would probably be through soft snow. So we looked east toward Jefferson. Our goal was to try to approach Jefferson via Pine Creek, but found the approach roads flooded and knew that we would encounter the same problems that we would have faced on Arc Dome from the east. So under the threat of a mutiny if we didn't get at least one listed peak, we climbed Jefferson via the usual route from above Jefferson Summit.

Arc Dome

Sunday, July 2nd. We conceded that our only possibility of climbing Arc Dome was probably by the normal route from Columbine Campground. Once again road conditions changed our plans. We drove north from Tonopah intending to drive up directly north and down through the Reese River Valley. All went well until we got to Indian Valley, about 16 miles south of the Reese River Ranger Station. We came to a very bad looking, very deep looking "swamp/lake", about a hundred yards across, that showed no signs of recent vehicle traffic and no way around and we weren't about to try it. It was getting late so we went back a bit to the south end of Indian Valley and drove into Cow Canyon Saddle, which is a camp area and trailhead on the edge of the Arc Dome Wilderness. We decided to try to do Arc Dome from Cow Canyon saddle which turned out to be a very good route with great views of the peak from along the entire route. We followed a good trail down into the Reese River Valley, crossed the river about a 100 yards west of the main crossing where the river spread out and split into 3 somewhat equal and crossable branches. We hiked to the junction with Big Sawmill Canyon, hiked up Big Sawmill Creek about 2-1/2 miles to a point where a prominent ridge comes down to the creek all the way from the peak and the entire rest of the route can be clearly seen. This is at about 2500+ meters. The ridge goes very well and even inspired Terry Turner to do a Julie Andrew's imitation of the Sound of Music on the descent back to the creek. We took time out for an extended dip in the Reese River on the way back. The round trip took us about 10 hours and I would recommend the route to anyone looking for a really nice alternative to the standard route.

We spent Sunday night again at Cow Canyon Saddle where Tom Sumner tried to show Bruce Turner how to build the "proper" fire. The next day we explored the Berlin Townsite and the ichthyosaurus exhibit and climbed Buffalo Mountain, 9036' aka Berlin Peak, nearby and then began our trip back to Los Angeles.

Participants were Terry and Bruce Turner, Tom Sumner, Ron Grau and Sue and I.

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