Pyramid Peak, Smith Mountain


By: Sue Holloway


It was under sunny skies on Saturday when our small group met at the "trailhead" for Pyramid on Hwy. 190. The DPS guide states 8 hours for the climb; I allowed 9 so we wouldn't have to rush and could have plenty of time on the summit. We ascended via Route A which went well, though we did encounter plenty of loose rocks while initially gaining the ridge. It slowed some of us up though the climb went without incident. We enjoyed the views from the summit of the many DPS peaks that are in the area, especially Eagle #2 which we knew Ron Grau was climbing. We guessed (correctly) that he had already finished his climb by the time we had summitted Pyramid. For variety, we followed Route B back to the cars.

Then came the long drive to be in position for our climb on Sunday of Smith. The approach from the north is on excellent road and we reached the intersection of Greenwater Valley/Gold Valley Roads just before dark. Our campsite was "fair" but we made the best of it and quickly set up our tables and had the now legendary DPS potluck.

The next morning we were off to an early start to drive the rest of the way to the Smith trailhead. The driving time (from pavement) to/from the trailhead takes longer than the climb itself but I think Smith's a fun peak. The route went well though once we saw a small rattlesnake about 1/2 way up the steep loose chute we (okay, Ellen and F) stopped talking so much and started paying more attention. Smith was Ellen's 50'h DPS peak so we had a small celebration and again enjoyed the spectacular views. The last time I had climbed Smith it was January and it was so darned cold and windy on top I only stayed 5 minutes. I made up for it this time!

Once we were back at the cars, Cliff and I hurried off as I had to be back in San Diego to start week 6 of my jury duty early Monday morning. (The Monday before I had trouble staying awake so I was determined to try to get a couple more hours of sleep.)

Thanks to the participants-Linda McDermott (Pyramid only), Ellen and Ron (Smith only) Grau, John Strauch, Cliff Jones and my assistant, Gail Hanna, who did her usual good job as sweep.

Notes on Camping:
Pyramid: About 1/4 mile past (west) of the parking for Pyramid off Hwy. 190, turn left (south) on an excellent dirt road. There are numerous options for car camping along this road. Excellent for late Friday night arrivals! Smith: Turn west on Gold Valley Road (from Greenwater Valley Road) and within 150 yards there's a large flat area suitable for DPS groups. Unfortunately, we didn't see this until Sunday morning.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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