McCullough Mountain, Potosi Mountain


By: Dick Akawie


Fourteen or us met Saturday morning at Nipton for the climb of McCullough. We drove about 8-1/2 miles east into Nevada to the road junction in section 15 (McCullough Mtn topo), took the dirt road to the power line road, and followed that northeast to the crossroad in section 30. There we left one car and drove west to the junction in section 26 and then north and west, following the most used tracks, to the end in section 28. When I had been there 3 years before, there had been a corral at the road end at Pine Spring; since there was nothing where we were, I figured we had taken the wrong road. We drove back about a mile to the last junction and followed a road up the next canyon. When there was no corral there either, I decided to start to climb from that point anyway. It turned out that we were just east of the point where sections 21, 22, 27 and 28 join. We followed the side canyon northwest, north and then northwest, reaching the ridge just east of 6425' in section 16. We dropped into the canyon and took the ridge northwest to the peak. After lunch, we came back by descending into the canyon east of the peak. We followed it around, over one relatively easy waterfall, to where we'd come down from 6425', and then retraced our route to the cars. I think this is an easier route than the one used before, which had several ups and downs, since this one has only one drop into a canyon.

We drove back to the pavement, then east to Searchlight, north on US 95 to Henderson, west on Sunset Rd to US 91, briefly south and then west on the Pahrump Rd to the junction with the Potosi Pass Rd. We caravaned to Potosi Spring (what a disgraceful dump this is), where we met Don McLean, and camped. About 2:30 am, John Backus and Duane McRuer arrived after a 14 hour climb, through the snow, of Palmer Peak.

Next morning the group of 17 went south and east (at first along a poor road to an abandoned mine) and climbed up to the ridge at the saddle just above the number 12 in section 12. From there we generally followed the ridge all the way to the peak, except for some variations. There are 2 bumps that are gradual on the west side but have large drop-offs on the east side, so we went around them on the south; these were the second bump east of the saddle where we reached the ridge and the bump just west of where the power line reaches the ridge. After this latter point, we followed the trail along the buried power line until it started down hill, and then went back to the ridge to the peak. The view of Las Vegas from the top was tremendous. The trip back to the cars was uneventful, and everyone left for home, some by way of Tecopa Hot Springs.

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