I was on my way to Colorado to meet friends in Telluride for what has become
a yearly event before the Sierra Challenge. As usual, I had plans to spend
some time tagging various summits along the way. I had spent the night camped
outside Fallon, NV, starting early on US50 (known as the World's Loniest Road).
None of the hikes today were substantial as these were mostly drive-ups with
a few short walks. Temps were hovering around 90F at 8,000ft so it was a good
day to take it easy. For most of these, I followed routes gleaned from
Mt. Callaghan/Peak 9,261ft
Located north of Austin, NV and US50, Mt. Callaghan
is a P2K and lands on the WSC list though it is a drive-up
for high-clearance vehicles. The summit has
several telecom towers though the highest point was not used. Some old wind
breaks are found among the highest rocks along with a register that was
unreadable since it was left exposed to the elements. I found
a reference mark
but was not able to locate the benchmark - it might be under the tower
foundation. As one might expect from a P2K, views are pretty good, though
today there was a lot of haze. Peak 9,261ft lies to
the southwest, connected
to Callaghan by a saddle that can be driven to by high-clearance vehicles.
The spur road passes through a wooded area in a canyon with evidence of a
campsite found in the middle. In 4L gear, I drove a very rough road even higher
from the saddle to just below Peak 9,261ft's summit on the north side.
It made for a short walk that took but a few minutes. To make it all
the more worthwhile, I spotted several dozen wild horses on
the slopes off the west side.
Prospect Peak/White Mtn
These two summits are located in the hills south of Eureka, NV and south of
US50. As others have pointed out, Windfall Canyon Rd
is in excellent shape and
reaches further than indicated on the topo maps. A rough road (high-clearance
recommended) forking north of this heads up
to the summit. There was a herd of sheep found along the rough road,
a sheepdog that was none too happy to have me drive through his herd.
I didn't see any shepherds, but by the looks of things, the dog had everything
One can drive to the very highest point where a collection of
towers can be
found, including some new cell antennae - 4G is finally coming to Central
Nevada. Looking west,
I noticed a ridgeline leading to another named summit,
White Mtn. After driving back down the road to near the saddle between the two
peaks, I enjoyed a nice stroll of less than a mile to the second summit.
Dozens of turkey vultures and a few ravens were using the wind coming
over the ridge from the north to glide about in apparent play along the length
of the ridgeline. I've seen ravens do this on many occasions, but this was the
first time I'd seen buzzards so engaged. I found this bonus peak such a
delight that I left a register here for the one or two folks that might
visit over the next few decades.
When I got back to the Jeep I was alerted to a low tire pressure on one of
my tires - seems I'd sprung a leak. I was able to drive back down to Eureka
without the pressure dipping below 20psi. After inquiring about where I might
find someone to fix it, I was directed out to SR278 and a repair facility.
Unfortunately no one was there when I pulled in though it wasn't yet 2p, well
within the posted hours. A propane truck pulled up a few minutes later and
asked if anyone was home. After giving a negative reply, he commented, "Never
is..." I'm guessing the owner isn't hard up for money. I ended up
swapping the tire '
with the spare (damn, it was hot out) and decided to drive to Ely to
get it repaired. An hour and a half later I had found the
Big 8 Tire store
with a couple of rather filthy bikers working the place. They did a great
job fixing it, and for only $12. I haven't paid that little for a tire
repair since the 1980s.
Ely BM/Squaw Peak
After my tire fix, I noticed a couple of highpoints around town and did some
quick research to find that they were nearly drive-ups. Ely BM is a P1K to
boot, so bonus there. It's not exactly a drive-up, but the hike from the
telecom tower took only a few minutes. Andy Martin was among a small
collection of peakbaggers to leave a register in 2009.
No one had found the
small pill bottle under the rocks since then. I then paid a visit to the
slightly lower Squaw Peak
less than half a mile away. It had some easy rock scrambling to
the highpoint with a very fine view of Ely spread out below
the summit to the southeast.
Murry Rock/Saxton Peak
Not yet tired, I drove back down to US50 and then up to Saxton Peak on the
other side of the highway. Along the way, I passed by Murry Rock
found just off US6 heading southwest from Ely. This limestone outcrop is about
30ft high and looks quite difficult. I found a class 4 route up
the west side
on what turned out to be pretty solid rock - I don't think I would have
attempted it if it hadn't been limestone. After topping out on
the airy perch,
I took a few photos and returned to the bottom and back to the Jeep.
Definitely worth a stop if you're driving along US6. Saxton Peak turned out
to be just so-so. I was able to drive up to the very summit where
is found. It was then that I noticed the much higher Ward Mtn about a dozen
miles to the south. This one hadn't even been on my radar, but it has over
3,000ft of prominence. I will have to add that to tomorrow's agenda...