Clark Mountains, New York Mountains


By: Ron Jones


Seventeen of us sampled the culinary delights of the Bun Boy Coffee Shop in Baker, our Saturday morning rendevous. John Castel, formerly active DPS and SPS climber (#4 senior emblem holder) joined us there for his first climb in eleven years. The Zzyzx off ramp south, 5 miles west of town, is a recommended overnight stop near Baker.

That morning we caravaned east on I-15 to the Mountain Pass off ramp where a large rare earths mine belonging to Molycorp is located. To reach the Clark Mtn. roadhead one drives past the gasoline station in Mountain Pass and nearly to the gate of the mine where a left turn is made and the road followed through the mobile home residential area. Staying on the main dirt road one drives straight for an electrical sub-station where a left turn is made. Keep on this road to its end at an unimproved BLM campground.

The climb of Clark Mtn. can be made via the main ridge to either side of the prow-shaped summit. Don't attempt the main canyon as it leads to a 50 foot dry waterfall. The prominent diagonal band of light colored rock above the waterfall also has some difficult climbing.

Our approach was made by the east ridge. When we reached the top of the diagonal band we stayed below the ridgeline on the south side to an obvious point where there is easy third class leading upward to the ridgeline. It is an easy walk from this point to the summit. All seventeen made the top in about three hours.

There was a lot of bighorn sign on the mountain and on our descent we came across photographers with a large viewfinder camera and telephoto lens who were hoping to see some of the sheep.

That afternoon we caravanned back to I-15, east to the Nipton turn off, then south on Ivanpah Road, passing the Vanderbilt mine and the little settlement of Barnwell. We took the right fork at a point 1.2 miles beyond Barnwell and travelled about three miles stopping at a large area suitable for camping just short of Live Oak Canyon.

The campfire that evening included a clean up of the local desert by the burning of several old tires found nearby. Dana Burkes and Bruce Maynard led the jokes for the evening, spending hours in trying to top one another with a lot of new (and old) jokes. Bill and Giesela Klewin and Kathy Crandall played "Uno", a card game, in order to escape the campfire humor.

Sunday morning 15 of us continued up the dirt road for about a half mile where it branches. The right branch leads to Live Oak Canyon, the left fork goes up to a talc mine on the ridge. We went left to the mine and then followed the ridge up and down to the summit of New York Mtn. All 15 persons made the summit and three people celebrated their sixth qualifying desert peak for joining the DPS. On the descent we dropped directly into Live Oak Canyon, passing several interesting copper mines and claims in the canyon en route back to our cars.

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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