Nopah Range, Smith Mountain


By: Bill T. Russell


Nineteen climbers met at the Chicago Valley road junction with Hwy 178 on Saturday morning at 0715. This junction is about 5. 5 miles northeast of Shoshone. The Chicago Valley. road leads about due east for around 1-1/2 miles and then turns south and goes by some residences. At the turn a dirt road continues eastward and ends just beyond an abandoned water well, shack and the end of a power line. This road end, where we parked, is in the middle of Chicago Valley and is about due west of Nopah Peak. The roads are not as shown on the topo. We hiked across the east side of Chicago Valley to the base of the Nopah Range and then ascended a shallow but steep gully which is due west of the peak. After climbing perhaps 600 ft we came to a 30-ft pitch of high class 3 that brought us into an easy hanging gully that lead to the plateau at 5100'. From here it is a straightforward scramble to the summit. Three people turned back at the 3rd class pitch and 16 made the summit. We descended by the same route and returned to the cars at 5:00 p. m. Several carloads then went to Tecopa Hot Springs for a relaxing time. We all met for the evening at the dirt road junction (3090' on the topo) leading to Smith Mtn.

On Sunday morning we drove into Gold Valley from the Greenwater Valley road, down to the junction at 3249', then southeast up the wash to about elevation 3800 ft, where we parked. The road is okay for moderate clearance, short wheelbase cars but would be quite tough for standard American sedans or low-slung imports. From our parking area Jim lead up the canyon which is south of poInt 5386' and then more or less directly up to the summit. We enjoyed the view and then descended down the side of the hill to the south of our ascent route. We returned to the cars by about noon and were back to Shoshone by early afternoon for the long drive home. It was a good weekend and 8eemed to be enjoyed by all.

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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