New York Mountains, Clark Mountain


By: Alex Amies


We climbed these two peaks on the spring weekend of March 25-26, 2006 in great weather. I found the approach road into New York Mountain to be too rough from my 2WD ininivan so we left the cars at the turn off from Ivanpah Road. John Cheslick (being a seasoned DPS’er) would have driven all the way to the end of the 2WD approach road as described in the DPS guide but I felt better hiking it. The additional hiking added about 3 or so hours — a nice addition to what would have been a half day hike.

Ten of us left the cars just before 10 am. lulia and Cornelia Mihaila, our youngest participants at age 15 and 17, sped up the New York Mountain with ease. Their father, Bogdan, demonstrated Romanian tie-in style on the summit block but I preferred the standard Sierra Club bowline on a coil. Most participants appreciated a belay on the way down. Mother, Ioana, did just fine. We returned to the cars at about 5:30 pm.

We car camped just off Ivanpah road to the south of the railway tracks. I forgot to suggest to participants to bring firewood but luckily always well prepared Greg Mason had enough for all. Ron Campbell created an exquisite salad that he shared with everybody for happy hour.

The next morning six of us (minus our family of four) left our camp to drive to the Clark Mountain trailhead. Jennie Thomas told us about the benefits of Antimony to the human body and environment as we drove past the tailings piles of Molycorp Mine, the leading western resource for Lanthanide (rare earth) products with additional interests in Molybdenum and Niobium (acknowledgement to Ron Campbell for the extra credit research). Although entertaining, the approach road proved to tough for the two minivans so we stopped part way along and all piled into Ed Morante’s high clearance 2WD SUV (thanks Ed).

The Clark Mountain climb was about a four hour round trip with a half hour break on the summit. There was a section of class 3 rock that everybody felt good about going up but all needed a belay down. On the drive back we found a better road out. I suggest that when driving in instead of turning off the dirt road paralleling the tailings embankment to the left following the power lines, continue straight to another major dirt road just short of the end terminated by a locked gate. At that point turn left along a good dirt road that joins the route described in the DPS guide. I would change the description to:

Turn right (keeping a mine tailings pile on your right) continuing until just short of the end terminated by a locked gate. At that point turn left along a good dirt road until the road switchbacks left...

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