Eagle Mountain #2, Brown Peak
By: Sherry Harsh
Wiping the toast crumbs from our chins, seventeen stalwart climbers met at the Shoshone Cafe at 7:30 a.m. (opens at 6:00) and caravanned out 178 just under 6 miles to the unsigned, unmnarked turnoff to the Greenwater Valley Road. We proceeded slowly up this mediocre, rocky, but passable road about ten miles with only one major impediment, a sandy wash about five miles in, where we detoured thru the wash to avoid a bad drop-off and spun our wheels merrily; one car needed a push but we all made it through. Noted the many E-Z access nice flat desert hard-pan areas, some with fire rings, right off the road for campsites. At about mile 10 the Deadman Pass road (sic) meanders in from the right; a marker post a bit beyond the turnoff along the C-V road is a clue. The Deadman road deteriorates rapidly; we spent 21/2 hours from Shoshone to the summit of the pass, mainly in road building and maintenance work to get the low clearance vehicles across the ditches, washes, gullies, etc. At least four shovels were energetically employed . Decent "parking area" at the summit of the pass for the cars. Took off about 10:15 for the peak, recognizable by its brown, banded cliffs; contoured up ridges, circling counterclockwise, and side-hilled around front of the pointy peaklet to the s-w of Brown, into the saddle, dropped down into the canyon and followed it up N-E toward the peak, veered left along the high ground and up the left ridge to the peak. Some loose rock but basically class 2 to the summit. (Tin can register box, book about half full.) We dropped down about fifty yards to eat lunch out of the wind, which blew with abandon all day and most of the night. Our return route to the cars retraced our route as far as the saddle, at which point we set off on a line-of-sight back to the care, which involved a lot of up-and-down-and-up, not necessarily the best choice. Back to the cars by 4, and a cautious caravan back down our re-built road to the C-V road, where we selected a nice campsite and the winds kindly diminished enough for a jolly Happy Hour with impressive hors d'oeuvres, and a good campfire with song, poetry and guitar. Ferocious winds for the remainder of the night and morning led to the Wise Leadership Decision to retreat to the Shoshone Cafe for Sunday breakfast. Two climbers left to try for Avawatz; the rest, revitalized, caravanned up 127 to the Eagle "roadhead" , another unmarked dirt road turnoff about 17 miles from the 178 junction, and headed in for the concrete abutments described in Mans Valkass' write-up. One bad ditch to traverse just before the "parking" area. Fearless Leader, armed with Mans' write-up and her own fading memory, headed confidently (sic) toward the large notch just left of the summit where in due time the three watercourses became apparent, and we started left of the left one, and as it ended, steered right into the next, which in turn dwindles and ducks lead you into the next. We followed this up, crossed right below the large dark bump on the ridge ahead, up into a saddle. From this saddle, a use-trail of sorts leads around behind the rocky ridge and out again onto another little saddle, and from here we headed diagonally up the slope toward the obvious notch, well-ducked, from which the summit is (gasp!) readily apparent. There are two possible routes from here: bearing right, keeping at the same elevation, leads you to a saddle and around behind (west) of a rocky gendarmey pinnacle; this route gets VERY airy and exposed, definitely high class 31tho lots of fun if you like exposure. The better part of valor is to drop down from the notch, go below the gendarme, and scramble up to a small notch just beyond the pinnacle. We saw two fine young bighorn scooting up this route just ahead of us, so determined it was the "route of choice." From the notch we headed directly up the ridge line to the summit: the first pitch is sort of exposed but very comfortable class 3 with many good hand and footholds; a few climbers felt more comfy with a belay here, so we were glad we'd carried our 100' of 7mm rope and a few slings. George Toby gallantly did the honors. Onto the windy summit about 12:30; a brief windy lunch and back to the cars, and off for a refreshing soak in the Tecopa Hot Springs and a group dinner at Pike's (steakhouse not coffee shop - huge fried chicken dinners!) Thanks to Owen for a very able assist; to George1and Jack Koshear for helpful unofficial assisting, belaying, navigational advice; ditto to Tom Ferguson, Doug Nevell, and Donn Cook for additional navigational assistance, Keats Hayden for her 4x4 Blazer and poetry recitals, Margaret Baldwin and Terry Rivera for their marvelous singing, Jeff Wilson for his guitar work; congratulations to Margaret Baldwin and Alan Toedter for their first DPS peaks and to Dorothy Callison for her DPS-qualifying peak; and thanks to everyone for their marvelous campfire munchies and good spirits and road-building and firewood and for making it a super trip!
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