Pahrump Point, Nopah Range, New York Mountains


By: Steve Smith


We were able to drive to the base of the Nopah Range on a recently constructed dirt which is not yet shown on the topographic sheet. This road leaves Hiway 52 about 11 miles north of Shoshone, and leads on to the mouth of the canyon which may then be followed upward to attain the summit of Pahrump Pk. by walking 1-1/2 miles up the wash, and then reaching the ridge on the right (being south), it is an easy climb to the summit. Just follow the ridge up to the high point which can be seen from the hiway and from the ridge. At a distance, this ridge appears to present a different climb, but this is not so. The view from the summit is one of the finest I've seen of DPS overlooks and fascinating geological features are prevalent. It's a very worthy one for our list.

Nopah peak is more of a challenge: Bill Banks and I began walking from Tweleve-Mile Spring in Chicago Valley between the two high and prominent peaks at the southern end of the Nopah range. From this canyon, one must do some rather difficult class three rock work. After 2,000 feet of climbing this ridge out of the canyon, the main and easy summit ridge is reached. From here it remains only a stroll up to the summit.

It is necessary to be very careful on the return trip via the same route as there are many small canyons and it is easy to become trapped in some of the steeper areas. Also, cactus foliage is plentiful and impedes canyon climbing. New York Mtn was done on Sunday by driving in the two miles from the New York Mtn road to the south. This road seems to be in good condition and is passable for any car. Most cars should stop when reaching the mine buildings but we were able to drive our "bomb" another half mile and arrived quite close to the Giant Ledge Mine (copper). Remember this mine as it makes an excellent landmark! The New York Mountain summit lies almost directly eastward just about a mile away. Yes, we missed the true summit the first time since we climbed the lower pinnacle lying about 1/2 mile to the northwest of the real one. NY Mtn requires some class 3 work but nothing too difficult.

The view from this peak is quite good, and coupled with the flora specimens, geological features, and mining artifacts makes it a fine area to visit. Bill and I both agreed that this is worth of closer government protection. Perhaps it would be possible to instigate a program to promote the saving and preservation of this rather unique area.

After reaching the summit we discovered the register was pencilless, but we found one wedged in a nearby crevice.

This reminded me of a preceding climb of Burl Parkinson Pk which is supposedly equipped with an expensive register and eulogy of our late DPS Member. We could find no such marker plaque. Does it appear that someone, hopefully not from NOTS, is a souvenir packrat? MORE SMATKO SCRAMBLES- -Andy Smatko Mar 25-26 This weekend Ellen Siegal, Bill Long and I went into the desert area near Kelso to help further my ambition to climb the high points of all the desert ranges in San Bernardino County. After camping well off the highway leading to Las Vegas on Fri nite near Mountain Springs, we began Sat by ascending the high point of the Mescal Range which lies just to the south of Clark Mtn. This is a rocky summit and a wonderfully striped mountain, being 6493'. It is class 2 from the southeast up any suitable ridge.

About noon we drove thru ideal high-desert country to the west base of Kessler Pk at el 6163', this being the high point of the Ivanpah Mountains and lying at the southern end of the Range. Warm but crisp weather made this an enjoyable sojourn. Bold outcroppings stud the mountain as warts and one may pick out several class 3 routes if so desired. The basic route is class 2.

Then we drove to the east side of the Mid Hills and high-desert again, past Pinto Peak, a long colorful cliffy bluff extending easterly as an offshoot from the main axis of the Mid Hills. Camp was chosen 200 yards downroad from Bathtub Springs, where cow droppings made the evening somewhat unpleasant.

The next morning, via a devious route we headed thru rocky and open tree country, toward the two pinnacles which are the high points of this Range. One cannot discern the true higher summit even when on top, but the one further to the NNE seems to be the correct one. We also left a register on the SSW one, the more spectacular. The actual top, fifty feet is high class 3 and possibly class 4 in one pitch on both pinnacles. Good Granite prevai1s in the area. The SSW one is vertical on the W & N & E sides and was climbed via the SSW ridge-many good holds but with exposure! A rope was used. This is + or - 6440'.

The Marl Mtns came next, lying just north of Kelso at 4,520', and class 1. This route was from the power line road.

These mtns-especially the Mid Hills make for pleasant climbing and more of our DPSers should interest themselves in exploring Desert Peaks in our own country, and local counties. Many are rugged and precipitous, just as much as those south of the border!

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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