Tucki Mountain, Pleasant Point, Nelson Range
By: Dale van Dalsem
Paranoid after being cited by the Park Service two weeks before for parking 10' off Racetrack Road, we crashed Friday night in barren, ugly Wildrose Campground & parked on the Skidoo road where the side road goes north, east of 6074 (All references to the Immigrant Canyon 15' topo). We walked over two gentle saddles, dropped down the canyon SE of 5834, joined the east bound dirt road at about 4800', followed it east almost to the high point & then north up the narrow wash. Exit at the duck & NW over 5200'+ saddle, then NW across a mile of flat between 5532 & 5643. Continue NW over 5680+ mesa & follow the up & down ridge system to the last bump (of course) and register of Tucki. Cold, overcast. Cars by 3:15, 71/2 hrs after start, 16 people, pleasant hike, 10 or 12 miles, about 4500' gain with the ups on the way out added. Some tarried at the Panamint Springs Cafe (limited menu, good chili & burgers, no beer & wine license yet at this time) before we gathered at the campsite, the junction 3.7 mi down the "White Mt Talc Rd" off the Saline Valley Rd (Death Valley Auto Club Map). Several bundles of good $3.79 supermarket wood, liberally doused with gasoline enabled a roaring fire to ward off the low 30's (with slight wind) cold. Edna's hot dip & Will Colston's wines were the stars' of a campfire that had no music, singing, or gross jokes (Camel IV, The Pretzel, et al, had a rest), but did have some good conversation.
Sunday A.M. we drove up the road to the mine just below 7386 (Ubehebe Pk 15') & ascended Nelson, short & sweet, great views, 1300 gain, a mile and 21/2 hrs r.t., 19 people. All routes go; we went up a ridge & postholed thru snow at the top, angling down to a good gully on return.
A big storm was on its way in, so a lot of people didn't need the peak as we turned to Pleasant. San Lucas Canyon was 4WD only, so we drove around to Keeler & up to Cerro Gordo mine & got permission from the caretaker to drive up to the repeater station. This road shows on the New York Butte 15' as going to Shaft, north of the 9200' closed contour. No problem for cars in summer; snow & ice made it 4WD only. The route contours around 9046 and just below the false summit on the left, otherwise stay close to the ridge, We had freezing gale-force winds on the west side, snow drifts on the east. 800 gain, 31/2 mi r.t., 9 people, 21/2 hrs r.t. & we were headed down to Keeler at 3 PM. Heavy rains chased us back to L.A. as we got into the enchiladas & margaritas at Tres Hermanos in Mojave.
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