Moapa Peak, Virgin Peak


By: Bill T. Russell


Our trip to the new addition to the DPS list and its neighbor Virgin, turned out well. Following Dick's write-ups in SAGE 151, we met at the corral on the dirt access road to Moapa on Saturday morning. Actually, most people slept there Friday night. The access road starts at Exit 100 from I-15; one drives under the freeway to the north side, right for about 50 meters and then left on the dirt access road. The corral is shown at the bottom edge of the topo, it is a little over a mile from the freeway.

On Saturday, we drove to the road end just south of Jacks Pockets. We hiked northwest up the wash and then north into the canyon that bends to the west and feeds into the saddle just northwest of pt 4542'. From here our route was up the ridge and broken ledges (some 3rd class) to the shallow saddle at 5160'+ east of pt 5246'. We continued on the easy terrain up the ridge to the northeast, then along the base of the cliff, and up to the flat saddle about 200 meters east of the summit. The final leg is a hike along the knife edge ridge to the summit. The knife edge is easy technically, but has enough exposure to make some people nervous. Our descent was by the same route and was uneventful. We had 24 people on the hike and 22 reached the summit; all agreed that Moapa was a worthwhile addition to the list.

After returning to the cars, we drove on I-15 to Exit 112 (Riverside) and then south on the New Gold Butte Road. east on the Pakoon Springs Rd and then north on the 1 mi. dirt road shown on the Auto Club map and on the topo at 4 mi. south of Virgin Pk. We camped at "water" in section 18. We found an old tire and introduced some recent DPSers to a classic tire fire. On Sunday, 15 stalwart hikers did the peak. We hiked north up the road to a point southeast of the peak, then up to the west to reach the main ridge at about 7000' and thence north along the ridge to the top. The crest of the main ridge is nice walking so on descent we came south on the ridge to 6000', then went down the easy slope to the east and intersected the road at UTM 599515. A structure is shown on the topo in the northeast of section 6 at this point. Our descent route is the best route to ascend the peak, it is class 1 all the way.

The dirt road into Virgin has one narrow rocky spot about 1/2 mi. north of "water" which could be tough for a low slung or long wheel base cars but ok for short wheel base vehicles like VW's, trucks. etc. Other than that, the road is in excellent shape to the vicinity of UTM 599515 mentioned above where there is plenty of good room and firewood for camping. From this spot it is about 3 mi. and 2700' to the summit. A vote was taken on the desirability of adding Virgin to the list with 13 yes's and 2 no's, with me being one of the no's. The view from Virgin toward Lake Mead is excellent but in my opinion, the climb itself would rate in the bottom quartile of our list. Perhaps Virgin's chief attraction is that "it goes well with Moapa."

Participants on Saturday were:

Dick Akawie
Dick Banner
Harry Brumer
Al Campbell
John Castel
Elizabeth Cohen
Donn Cook
Jack Grams
Eugenia Hathaway
Henry Heusinkveld
Bob Hicks
Ron Jones
Adrienne Knute
Krista Knute
Joe McCosker
Duane McRuer
Ted Pinson
Anna Lou Pinson
Chuck Pospishil
Norm Rohn
Bill T. Russell
Wes Shelberg
Ed Tracy
Maris Valkass

It was a most enjoyable weekend with good people, good weather and good country. The register cans and register books on both peaks are ok.


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

DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section