Mormon Peak, Moapa Peak
By: Maris Valkass
Mormon Peak has peaked my interest for a long time. Partly it is the name and also the location. Finally Suzanne Thomas, Igor Mamedalin and I put it together. Talked to Gordon McLeod about the roadhead, thought I had it figured out until we got to town of Moapa. We found J and Sue in the morning, (Karen Leonard was carpooling with me and Anna), but we could not find anyone else. Then after some accurate triangulation we determined exactly where the rest of the party should be. When we got there, we discovered that they were not exactly where we told them to be; they were several yards off the mark.
After telling both of my assistants that they should take a refresher course in navigation, I explained to them the possible difficulties to be encountered in finding the roadhead since Gordon Mc. could not remember all the finer points. Before I could finish, Igor handed me the Great Basin Handbook and told me to read the write-up on Mormon Peak. Before I could start, I was rudely interrupted by Bill Quinn from Nevada, whom I had never met, who told me that he knows precisely where this dirt road goes, but he was not sure which dirt road, of the several, it was that led to the roadhead. Aha!, I told them, this is why I am here. I am the leader, and I will take you there. Took the guide book away from Igor so as not to confuse him, and told Bill Quinn to drive behind me so that I can keep an eye on him.
The road starts out well graded and several lanes wide. In about 10 miles it narrows down to the usual one car width, and then runs side by side with the railroad track. (The road, from the very beginning runs parallel to the RR, but 20 yards away). The narrow part of the road crosses the track periodically from one side to the other. About 12 ml from Hwy 168, there is one bad spot that stops regular cars from going further. All of us had 4-WDs, except for Betsy and Jon Lutz, so they and Mario Gonzalez, who was riding with them, had to pile in with some of us. Jon made Betsy stay behind and guard the van, so she did not see Mormon Peak. Naturally she was mad, and would not cook the good soups that she is famous for, when we returned.
Well, like I promised, I found the dirt road leading to the roadhead exactly 18 mi from Hwy 168, according to my odometer. See drawing below. In the beginning, the road enters a wash. This is another problem area for two wheel drive cars because the gravel is pretty "soft" and you sink in. In about a quarter mile you gain a ridge and from then on there is no problem. At the end of the road is a nice place to camp.
There is only one "obvious" and easy route. You ascend the ridge to the right and follow it to the transverse ridge. Take the ridge line to the right, then contour to the next ridge going east for the summit. The trip is 8 mi, 3000' gain. Took us about seven hours to do. Some of the women folk rebelled, and would not do an unlisted peak. Karen Leonard came up with a lame excuse of having to write a book, Mary sue Miller could not make up her mind if she just wanted to sleep, or throw up since she did not get to the meeting place till after three am. Anna and Suzanne P. are still trying to come up with some reason.
In my book, it is a worthy peak and would be a good addition to the list.
Sunday morning at 9:00 we started for Moapa. Bill Quinn and Bob Michael went to do Virgin, but everyone else came with us.
Since the write-up is in the Peak's Guide there is not much to say about the route. We followed it. The ducks, starting at the first cliff make the ascent faster, however, Randy's estimate of the time is rather optimistic. It took us about 7.5 hours round trip.
List of participants:
My thanks to Suzanne and Igor for assisting, and the participants for following. I had a very good time.
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