Sheephead Mountain


By: Bob Michael


One of the most prominent peaks near Shoshone (home of the Crow Bar) is a steep, colorful yellow and brown pyramidal crag southwest of town, in the Ibex Hills, a small range with no Listed peaks at the southeast comer of Death Valley. I remember seeing it many years ago and thinking, "Neat peak! Wonder if it's named? Must do it someday."

On my way to Beatty to meet up with "Vegas" George Quinn, I did a little topo map research, and found my crag bore the name of Sheephead Mountain, and looked like a short fun scamper from Salsberry Pass. It was about a 2-hour round trip including a nice summit stay to watch the sun setting behind the southern Panamints and soaking the Ibex Hills (including myself) in a rich gold-pink alpenglow radiance. The simple route climbs the little bank above the roadcut at the 3290' pass, and follows a ridge crest all the way to the summit ridge NW of the peak. The mountain is entirely made of andesite and rhyolite lava, which tends to weather, in the steeper portions near the summit ridge, into those annoying little ball bearing cubes a few millimeters on a side. The rugged final summit massif - the "sheep's head" -looks quite 3rd class, but goes steep, loose cl 2 via my route which keeps just W of the crest. Very nice views of some mighty lonely country - the desolate south end of the Black Mountains, and the mysterious Owlshead Mountains.

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