Magruder Mountain, Shadow Mountain, Mount Perry


By: Fred Camphausen


The mountain was always seen there at Lida Pass on the way to Vegas. A few miles from the Cottontail Ranch brothel, and it needed the proper moment to be climbed. No real snow had come; there was none at 9000 feet anywhere by late February, except for Kratka Ridge, and it looked like we were into a fifth drought year.

Delores Holladay showed up and we drove to Magruder in warm sunshine. The Magruder Mtn NV-CA 15' topo is the one usually looked at when climbing Last Chance Mtn., located a dozen or so miles to the southwest. We took a dirt road into the pinyon forest just before the pass and parked at a place where we could see a good route to the ridge.

It was windy when we cleared the trees. We followed the ridge for about a mile to the summit, which had a register. The hike one way was about 2.2 miles with 1700 feet of gain. On our way down it was starting to get a little cold. The Palmetto Mountains, in which Magruder lies, were apparently named by gold seekers after the Joshua trees seen in the lower elevations, which were thought to be a kind of palm.

Shadow Mtn (5071'), 6 April

We had some pretty good storms in March. The drought was still on, but now there was durable snow on most of the mountains of the area. Conditions called for skiing of course, and then bagging some lower elevation peeks near Death Valley. Shadow Mtn is an attraction because it stands at the north end of the otherwise almost overlooked Resting Spring Range not far from Mt Stewart, bordering also the Ash Meadows area of former brothel fame and with Devils Hole, home of a rare desert pupfish.

We drove on Stateline Road east from Death Valley Junction, passed by the north end of the range, and then took the dirt Pahrump road south to a point abreast the mountain on its east (Nevada) side. The peak was about four miles away and there were lower foreground hills of uncertain affiliation. The Ash Mdws CA-NV 15 sheet applies only to the final mile or so of the distance.

We approached within a system of shallow gullies leading slightly to the right (north) of the objective summit and climbed to a low point on the fronting line of hills. Our view was blocked by intervening bumps but it appeared that if the peak had a meandering northeast ridge, we were now on it. It was getting windy and the clouds were flattening into lenticulars.

Our ridge did indeed join with the summit, which we reached after hiking for four hours in what became a very strong wind. The register bad been placed there in 1978 by a small party of DPS climbers. The wind pinned us down behind a rock during lunch and we watched billowing clouds of dust rising from the desert near the Amargosa Opera House.

Mount Perry (5739'), 6 April

Mount Perry is the north high point of the Black Mountains which border southern Death Valley. Ski and I appeared at Dantes View at 9:30. We simply followed the ridge from the parking lot north for about four miles until the summit was reached. The ridge has five surveyed bumps along with several nondescript others, with accumulated gain of perhaps 2000 feet. We hadn't expected a trail. A use trail was followed most of the way and the final mile was marked by pink surveyor's tape. A thin can register had been placed on the summit only the month before. It was moved to there from a nearby but definitely lower summit on which someone had built at considerable effort a large rock cairn. Almost on cue the pm brought a cold wind which regraded our return ridge-walk to Assez Defictle.

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