Pot Peak RS
Block Peak RS
Titanothere Peak P1K
Peak 5,744ft
Peak 6,056ft P750
Daylight Peak P750 RS
Prospect Peak P500 RS

Thu, Jan 14, 2016
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

Continued...

Nevada's SR374 heading west out of Beatty goes over Daylight Pass in Death Valley NP to become Daylight Pass Rd, descending more than 4,000ft down the west side of the Amargosa Range. Daylight Pass also forms the dividing line between the Grapevine Mtns to the north and the Funeral Mtns to the south (which together make up the Amargosa Range). I was interested in an officially unnamed P1K north of the pass today, Titanothere Peak, the parent summit to the lower DPS Corkscrew Peak about 2.5mi further south. The P1K lies closer to the dirt Titus Canyon Rd to the north than it does to Daylight Pass, but I was afraid my van was not up to the rigors of the one-way Titus Canyon Rd, a Death Valley classic. My plan was to make a full day of it starting from Daylight Pass and tagging a number of bonus summits on my way to and from Titanothere. The names of some summits were bestowed by Courtney Purcell in his book, Rambles & Scrambles, generally those lying close to one of the roads. While some make obvious sense, others are not so easily divined. The outing made for a most enjoyable adventure exploring a number of little-visited washes, valleys, ridgelines and summits in the southeastern part of the Grapevines.

Pot Peak

The naming of this one is a bit of a mystery, Courtney offering no explanation in his book. It is located close to Titus Canyon Rd, so it was first necessary to cross almost 3mi of desert terrain from Daylight Pass. Along the way I climbed about 300ft to reach the divide separating two drainages. From the south, Pot Peak is a colorful sight, with soft, yellowish rock at the bottom and a band of pink rock higher up. There are two summits, the west one being higher. It is a class 2 hike both up from the south which I ascended and the west side off which I retreated. From Daylight Pass it took an hour and a half, but it would be considerably shorter from Titus Canyon Rd.

Block Peak

Block lies two and a quarter miles due west of Pot Peak, also along Titus Canyon Rd. It too features dual summits, the higher again being to the west, and also the one with the crumbly volcanic cap rock for which it was named. As I was descending Pot, I debated whether it would be faster to head directly to Block Peak or make a diversion to hike along the Titus Canyon Rd. I'm glad I chose the road because not one minute after reaching it, Bob and Eric came by to give me a ride in their spacious SUV. This seemed so fortuitous that I initially thought I'd get a ride all the way to Red Pass and climb Thimble Peak before heading back to Block. But as we went over the first, unnamed pass immediately north of Block Peak, Thimble looked a terribly long way off and I quickly changed my mind. I thanked my new friends and hastily got out before committing to a longer day than I might have liked. The climb to Block from the road took all of 25min.

Titanothere Peak

The P1K is connected by a ridgeline to Block Peak about a mile and a quarter to the southeast. One first drops a bit more than 300ft along the ridgeline before climbing Titanothere's North Ridge. Like most of the climbing today, the ridge was enjoyable class 2. Some snow was found on the shadier sides of the ridge but not enough to be of any hindrance. Taking about an hour between the two summits, I found a single sheet of paper left by Sue & Vic Henney in 2012. The summit offers really nice views around this part of Death Valley, with Corkscrew Peak prominent to the southwest and Thimble Peak to the west. Pot Peak looked colorful but insignificant to the east. There was yet more snow to be seen on the higher summits of the Grapevines to the north including Palmer and Wahguyhe. As I was descending back down the North Ridge I spotted a rock arch on the west side of the ridge that I had missed earlier. It was about 20ft in height, formed by a giant boulder that somehow had become wedged between a rocky pinnacle and the main crest.

It was only a few months later that I discovered I had already climbed this peak back in 2007 in conjunction with Corkscrew Peak. Since I had climbed it by an entirely different route and had not considered it an "official" peak back then, it was not surprising that I didn't recall my previous visit. Probably not the last such summit I will discover...

Peak 5,744ft

I dropped to the east off titanothere's North Ridge to head for this lower, minor summit. While climbing up a gully on its west side, I came across the scattered bones of a bighorn ram. I reassembled the horn pieces and left it on a rock perch from which future visitors might better appreciate it. The highpoint of Peak 5,744ft is found to the north of several possibilities along a short, rocky spine. The summit has a good view looking west to Titanothere Peak and a rather nice one to the east of Pot Peak. To the southeast rose the higher summit of my next target.

Peak 6,015ft

This was the second highest summit visited on the day, about a mile southeast of Peak 5,744ft, connected through a low saddle at around 5,200ft. One must first climb over, or as I did, around Pt. 5,955ft to the west of the summit, providing the most scrambling opportunities of the day's peaks. The final summit rocks proved some challenging class 3 from the west, though fairly short.The descent off the SE side was far easier, leading to a flattish valley between it and the last peak of the tour.

Daylight Peak

This summit overlooks Daylight Pass west of the pass, it's naming obvious. The climb from the northwest out of the small valley I crossed was rather gentle, rising about 800ft over its mile-long length. The terrain was easy enough to be greatly appreciated towards the end of my day's tiring adventure. A register jar found in the summit rocks had been broken, its bottom half used to protect a shabby piece of scrap paper with a few names scrawled on it. I added my own before replacing it as I'd found it, but it probably won't last too long without a better container. I briefly considered continuing over the summit for a last bonus, Peak 5,010ft at the end of another gentle ridge, but the mile and a quarter distance dissuaded me (along with the much longer return to Daylight Pass). Instead, I opted to drop directly off the east side to the pass where I could see my van parked where I'd left it. I was back just after 3p, having covered about 13mi in about 7.5hrs.

Prospect Peak

I had planned to call it a day at this point, but as I was driving back towards Beatty, NV from Daylight Pass I noted that the road passes within about 3/4mi of Prospect Peak. What the heck. I parked at a small turnout and headed up, taking about 30min to climb it from the east up an easier ridge and something less than that via a steeper, more direct route off the Southwest Ridge and Southeast Face. The scenery was more vivid in the fading light of the late afternoon sun, the only real downside I found was that my shower water on the dash was cooler than it might otherwise have been after suffering in the shade for the last half hour. It would do - hardly enough to dampen an otherwise superb day...

Continued...


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Kirk D from Sparks comments on 01/25/16:
Continuing the 'morbid' theme. There was a German tourist couple murdered in the Daylight Pass area in the early 80's when I lived in Bishop. A grim tale to be sure, don't remember if that crime was ever solved ?
Joe Heumann comments on 01/26/16:
Perhaps Pot Peak, because of its colors, is the pot at the end of the rainbow.
Kirk D from Sparks comments on 01/27/16:
With numerous collegiate geologic field trips on a regular route down Titus Canyon in the 70's(mine included)there may be another explanation for "Pot Peak". As I recall the fore mentioned herb was standard fare on these junkets.
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