Avawatz Mountains, Clark Mountains, McCullough Mountain

19-Mar-94 (Private trip)

By: Erik Siering


Saturday morning, to vigorous nonverbal gestures amid a driving downpour, Bob and I parted company with the Dan Richter/Asher Waxman DPS group near the Kingston Peak trailhead. We had originally planned on Clark and Avawatz. but were dissuaded by the thundershowers. Ten resolute DPSer's nonetheless trod off in the wetness while we drove to Stateline, Nevada in search of more hospitable environs. This we found at the Ppfima Donna/Whiskey Pete's casinos where after a filling breakfast buffet, we waited for a break in the weather while appreciating early morning draft beers and the lithesome waitresses. A tour of the complex included a balky monorail ride over the I-15, the infamous Bonnie & Clyde "death car" and plans revealed for a major casino expansion and immense roller coaster park (Buffalo Bill's). Our thoughts occasionally touched on the Kingston party's fate and evident insanity.

It cleared somewhat at mid-morning, so we headed to the northern side of McCullough Mtn. The drive consisted of good dirt powerline road, favored by a loitering herd of doleful sheep, which was followed by a long stretch of sandy and rocky 4wd wash to the trailhead cabin. The short hike up followed easy ridges to the summit, where more heavy weather was seen approaching from the west. Our descent was rapid and dry. We were back to Whiskey Pete's by two for an early happy hour. As evening drew near and the storm clouds parted, we drove to the Avawatz turnoff. soon joined by the DPS group back from its successful, if wet, Kingston ascent. Camp was a good windy flat spot a mile off the highway. Our Sunday morning drive into the 4wd trailhead south of Avawatz was uneventful: the canyon rock slide obstacle had been cleared (thank-you!) and the crux car move was less than so. The ridge top hike went quickly under clearing skies (E. Avawatz does seem more distinctive), so Bob and I were at the Clark trailhead by noon. It should be noted that the 2wd drive into the campground has been supplemented by numerous new powerline roads criss-crossing the area. The climb followed the primary route through healthy pinyon pine on loose, muddy slopes. After hesitating, I followed Bob up the now slippery steep c13 move onto the ridgeline. From here we saw Dan and Asher approaching on the road, sans group, having finished their lead. The summit vista was expansive. On our descent we met Dan and Asher at the c13 crack. Their rope being available, I used it on the down-climb here; however, consensus had it easier than the upclimb and the rope unnecessary throughout. Everyone took the neighboring ridge down to view the airplane crash wreckage: Dan and Asher found it by traversing high enough. It was then back to Los Angeles, and news of an aftershock to close an entertaining weekend!

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