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Diamond Peak is the highpoint of Eureka County in east central NV, not far off US50. The peak lies on the border with White Pine County, but that county's highpoint honors go to Nevada's second highest summit, Wheeler Peak. It was the fifth day of our nine day romp around NV chasing county highpoints and DPS summits. For the next two days we were living out of my van while Adam's car was being repaired back in Austin with a blown spark plug. We'd followed the directions in Bob Sumner's book to reach the TH at Newark Summit, easily negotiated with a low clearance vehicle. Adam had slept here in his tent while I was cozily ensconced in the back of the van. Sunrise came early, before 5:30a, and we were up and on our way shortly afterwards.
The hike north to Diamond Peak is pretty straightforward, starting with a walk of a bit more than half a mile to Poison Spring. Despite the name, there are watering stations set up for the cattle that are pastured here during parts of the year. We saw none during our visit. From Poison Spring we followed a track heading uphill towards the crest, following a fenceline running up the slope. There are two named summits south of Diamond Peak and our plan was to tag these along the way. The sagebrush gave way to talus heaps as we neared the summit of Bold Bluff. There's not more than about a 20-30 feet of prominence on Bold Bluff, but it stands out strongly from Newark Summit (and in fact blocks the views to Diamond Peak). We were about 45 minutes in reaching the easy summit. The best thing about the summit is the fine view of Diamond Peak it affords, about three miles further north.
Twenty minutes further north was Alpha Peak, a trivial traverse along the main crest from Bold Bluff. Not sure why this summit was even named, but there is an old single-pole tower lying on the ground, probably blown down in a windstorm. It must not have interrupted anything too important since no one thought it was worth fixing.
The next two hours were spent hiking the ridgeline to Diamond Peak, straightforward with a combination of use trail, talus hopping, a bit of scrambling and some snow to cross. The snow was firm and easy enough in just our boots. The best part of the climb is the ever-present views off the west and east sides of the ridge. It was chilly with a stiff breezed, but a fine day for views. There was a register dating to 2003, placed by Richard Carey and Gail Hanna of San Diego, names I recognized from many summits in the San Diego County area.
Our descent varied only in bypassing the two lesser summits, as we dropped down to an unnamed spring east of Alpha Peak where we could pick up a road to follow back. There were a dozen wild horses milling about the spring when we popped over a small side ridge to view them, but it took them only a few minutes to spot us in return and hightail it out of there. We stopped for another short break here where we found considerably less wind and mild, sunny conditions. The return road headed up over a small saddle and then down to Poison Spring, following a small creek which appears to be the real source of the spring's water.
By 11:15a we were back at the van where Adam proceeded to pack up his tent now that it had dried out. Before driving back down to Eureka, we decided to climb to Pinto BM, an unnamed summit on the south side of the road. We drove a short distance down the road where an old jeep track made easy work of making it through the desert brush. It took only 45 minutes to make it to the highpoint, again with fine views. In particular was a great view of Diamond Peak to the north. We also visited a nearby communications tower before dropping back down to the van. It was only 1p by this time, but we were ready to call it a day.
The rest of the day was spent driving east on the Lonliest Road, through Eureka and Ely on our way to the TH for Mt. Grafton in the eastern part of the state. We stopped at the Ely Visitor Center to get water, the best they could offer (that we gladly accepted) was from a garden hose out front of the building. We ate a decent dinner at the Hotel Nevada and spent some time photographing the historic town, one of the stops along the Pony Express Route. Our drive east and south from Ely took us by the 13,000-foot Wheeler Peak. We had hoped to have time for this summit as well, but were going to come up a day short in our schedule to fit it in. We spent the night just off US93, near our TH for the next day. It was a bit noisy with the trucks passing by during the night, but it would have to do...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Diamond Peak
This page last updated: Tue Sep 7 16:21:32 2010
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