McCullough Mountain, Potosi Mountain
By: Lou Brecheen
We (leaders, Donn Cook, Bob and Marta Hethmon) met in Jean, NV @700 (which I claimed on the trip sheet was 800 in Nevada) Saturday to try a convenient route to McCullough. From the stop sign in Jean. go right to the prison road, note odometer and turn left on the paved road. Continue across the tracks until you come to a dirt road on the right. That road quickly forks - the correct fork is to the right, following the railroad tracks. Follow that road to a point exactly 10 miles from the prison turnoff, where there is a water tank and corral. A small dirt road takes off to the left and soon enters a stream bed. Follow that road approximately 3 miles until it gets too soft or it nears the saddle and the peak route is obvious. The main dirt road has numerous detours at stream xings and could be washed out after a flood. Deep sand on the final road could mire 2wd or even 4wd if completely dry. but we had no problems. Hike up the major canyon left of the peak until a major fork, where a large cairn is hidden behind a tree on the right fork. Then go up the ridge on a direct route to the peak. It is advisable to lose some altitude at one point to pick up the most direct ridge. 10 mi. RT. 4wd tracks follow the initial canyons probably starting from a little turnoff below the softest sand in the road - we did not trace it back. The roads are not shown on the 15' topos. Nice view from the top, where someone mentioned that Nevada and California share the same time zone and it was earlier than I thought. Pleasant weather, little wind, Lou found his altimeter on the way down, out at 4, excellent dinner at the truck stop restaurant on Hwy 160 just off the freeway on the way to Potosi.
(Needs a different register container - notebooks are sopping wet.)
We drove to the Potosi road in the dark, then made the mistake of following Past guides and proceeded to Potosi Spring for camp. Good campsites are plentiful just west of Potosi Pass, well worth bringing water in the car rather than sleeping in a dump.
Potosi was a loop trip with car shuttle, up from the pass to the power-line saddle, then down along the ridge to Potosi Spring.
It is preferable to start east of the pass and pick up a trail and power line road; we didn't but reached the saddle approach anyway. The route is a bit to the right of the saddle and is VERY steep and rocky. Weather prediction was windy and just over 60 in Vegas, so we expected the high wind and under 50 at the top. The strong Santa Ana blew L.A. air out to sea, so we could see San Gorgonio and cloud-capped San Jacinto over 200 mi. away! Great view of Vegas and snow-capped Mt. Charleston, and Lake Mead, and . . . I nearly missed the direct ridge to the spring, but Donn saw it and we were back to the cars at 4. 10 mi. RT, all on provisional metric 7.5 minute topo Purchased wholesale from USGS. The four people who went straight back to I-15 saved just a few minutes and missed Tecopa Hot Spring.
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