Mt. Wilson P2K LVMC / RS
Sarada Devi P300 RS
Kenny Peak RS
Willow Beach Peak P1K RS

Wed, Feb 14, 2018
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

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I had intended to spend the day doing more desert summits in California, but the ones I had picked out seemed to have a sketchy starting location, possibly on private property, and I decided to drive into Nevada and look for something else to do. My online wandering settled upon Mt. Wilson in Arizona, a P3K near Hoover Dam that had somehow escaped my attention previously. It's been almost 10yrs now since those AZ speeding tickets went unpaid, so I wasn't so afraid to wander back into the forbidden state. To be safe, I camped the night in Nevada and only drove into AZ for the day - no need to push my luck. The other summits were all clustered around a P1K near the CO River, Willow Beach Peak. All of the day's peaks can be found in Purcell's guidebook, Rambles & Scrambles.

Mt. Wilson

Judging from PB, the most common approach seems to be via the Black Joe Mine Rd from the west off US93. My van was not up for the high-clearance recommended road, so I parked at the edge of the pavement and hoofed it from there. The first hour was spent hiking the remaining 2.5mi up the rough dirt road (more rock than dirt), passing by a Toyota truck parked near the start, the occupant sleeping, I assume. Once I reached the end of the road the climbing starts, following a ridgeline just to the left. The ridge continues for just over two miles, views improving as one climbs, overlooking Lake Mead to the north, the Colorado River to the west, Boulder City to the northwest and countless rocky peaks and ridgelines in all directions. It took most of three hours for me to reach the summit from the highway, about 3,500ft of gain all told. With unsettled weather, I could see rain falling down in various places around me. Though it made me nervous, I was happy that it was holding off for Mt. Wilson. The sun made a few efforts to come out, but the clouds ruled the skies for most of the day. A geocache had been placed at the summit in way of register, but most of the entries were from peakbaggers. There were too many to bother photographing, but I snapped a few pictures of the familiar names that caught my eye while thumbing through it. I found remnants of the old survey tower but couldn't locate the benchmark, even with the help of one of the reference marks. My descent route was very much the same, save for a gully I used near the end to return to the road a bit more directly than the ridgeline. There were dozens of prospecting drill holes found in the gully. They were about 1" in diameter and would be drilled 1-2" deep, usually into granite. Nothing seems to have come of it, though.

Sarada Devi/Kenny Peak/Willow Beach Peak

Back at the van, I drove south on US93 about 7mi to the Willow Beach access road. There is a pay station near the entrance, part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Federal Lands Pass works nicely here. The road winds down to the Colorado River where there is a large marina, launch facilities and picnic areas, but no actual beach that I could find. I parked off Jumbo Washington Rd, a dirt road that seems popular for accessing Willow Beach Peak from the southeast. Rather than attempt to drive this road with my limited abilities, I chose to hike to the summits more directly from the pavement, which worked well. The terrain is very steep here, either up narrow washes or along narrow ridgelines, and makes for some fine scrambling, none of it harder than class 2. There are cool views of the Colorado River to the west and north during the hike. Not actually a river, but the upper reaches of Lake Mohave which is formed by Davis Dam in Laughlin. I used a combination of wash and ridge to reach the first summit, Sarada Devi in a little under an hour. The threatenting rain was not going away, but in fact getting closer, and I wondered if it could hold off until I made it to the last summit. From Sarada Devi, I followed the ridgeline to Kenny Peak with a 300-foot saddle between them, taking about half an hour from one summit to the other. Willow Beach Peak is much closer to Kenny Peak and has a higher saddle, and the last peak would take only another 15min to reach. All three summits had registers, the one on Willow Beach Peak being the oldest, a John Vitz register from 2004. Adam Walker had visited all of these peaks less than a month earlier. I spent almost no time on each of the summits, eager to beat the rain. It finally caught up with me as I was starting my descent off Willow Beach Peak and it would keep up with a slow, steady drizzle for more than an hour. Nicely, it stopped for the last 30min I was descending back to the car and though I was pretty wet, my fleece had kept me fairly warm without resorting to a rain poncho. Much of my stuff would spend hours drying out in the car. Rather than take a cold shower at the end of the day, I chose instead to take a dip in the Colorado River at Willow Beach (ok, at the rocky shore next to the fish hatchery at the end of the road) since it was conveniently nearby. I believe it was my first time ever in the mighty river, though admittedly nothing to write home about...

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