Nelson Range


By: Ron Jones


Twenty-one of us gathered at the Coso Rest Stop on 395 where we met BLM biologist Joan Oxedine. She took us 4 or 5 miles north on 395, just south of Little take, where she spent 2 hours showing and explaining to us the Rose Springs Indian cultural site. This included three large midden areas, many places where pot hunters have recently dug, zillions of obsidian flakes and one unique petroglyph site. Rose Springs (now dry) is unusual because it has a complete unbroken range of projectile points covering a 10,000 year period.

Later we drove the Inyo County Saline Valley Road to its fork with the White Mountain Talc road. Presently the road into Saline Valley is closed for massive repairs due to summer damage from flooding but it is open weekends. We took the left fork to the Lucas Canyon intersection. Here one takes the center fork for the Nelson Pk (7701') roadhead and this road, normally in my last 3 climbs easily driveable by regularly autos, had been seriously eroded by the summer storms. It took us 1-1/2 hours to drive the last 5 miles and then we couldn't drive to the usual roadhead just west of the peak, bit ended up at the newer mine cabin 1/4 mile north (which is for sale).

That afternoon 15 climbers made an uneventful ascent of Nelson Pk and upon our return we enjoyed an enormous spread of Italian cuisine back at the cabin. I've never encountered any greater participation at a party outing before. There were 13 DPS guests ad many newcomers are convinced that we are a friendly climbing section.

The next day we spent more than an hour driving out. Jim Conley was particularly impressive driving his 1990 Pontiac over these roads. We drove to the south end of the Nelson Range where we walked 2-3 miles across the alluvial fan to a canyon which has an astonishing collection of Indian petroglyphs. Enroute we found a projectile point, 2 metates and a scraper blade. The highlight of the Indian art was two seven foot tall human figures inscribed high on the wall of the canyon. There must have been at least 100 other petroglyphs in the area.

My thanks to Lou Brecheen for his usual good assist and a special commendation for serving as "chef" and coordinating the meal activities. Congratulations to Evelyn Chadwell, fried of DPSer Ron Grau, who climbed her first DPS peak. She's hooked now on peak-bagging!

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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