Piute Mountain, Nelson Range
By: Maris Valkass
Six persons met Saturday morning at the site of Kearsarge. From there, we continued along the Mazourka Canyon Road to Barrel Springs. There is a "ranch house or miner's house" with people occupying it, to be bypassed on the way to the springs. As a courtesy, we told them what we wanted to do and of course, they said "no problem." You turn right, off the Mazourka Canyon Road and drive up about 1/4 mile where there is a wide area for parking. On the other side of the spring (bushes) you will find a trail (as shown on the topo) going as far as the saddle at 7760 feet. From there the trail leads south over fairly gentle ups and downs until you are due west of the monument and approximately one mile from it. Go straight for it. An alternate route, which we took is from the saddle at 7760 feet heading for the ridge and the large rocks. This route will take about an hour to an hour and a half longer but it is a fun bouldering route. If snow is present, it will be slippery. The monument is 5.4 friction. There are two bolts for protection half way up and bolts on top for rappel anchors. All of us made it up. The trip took about seven hours which included a considerable amount of bouldering.
Sunday morning, we went for Nelson. From Olancha drive on Highway 190 to Saline Valley turn off, turn left and follow the road to the large fork east of Santa Rosa Hills. Take the left fork and go to where the Auto Club map shows what looks like a three pronged fork in the road. Take the middle one and go for 3.6 miles to the windy road, turn right and drive up to the mine and park. Head up the canyon above the mine for the peak. This is one of easiest peaks, but the view is very rewarding.
The participants were: Norm Rohn, Jay Holshum, Susan Hanna, Matt Bell. My appreciation to Art for assisting on Piute, and Norm on Nelson.
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