Peak 4,858ft P500
Peak 4,983ft P300
Peak 6,141ft P750
Peak 5,095ft P300
Peak 4,442ft P300

Feb 14, 2024

With: Tom Grundy

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2


For a few years now, I've been wanting to drive the powerline road on the north side of the Clark Range between Excelsior Mine Rd and Primm, NV, tagging a half dozen peaks along the way. The route is about 18mi in length, but I didn't really know what sort of condition the road was in. Tom came out to join me, but after driving his truck about three miles from Excelsior Rd, we decided it would not be prudent to push it further. So instead, we took the Jeep about 2/3 of way along the road, then came back and exited via Excelsior Mine Rd. We were able to visit four of the summits, leaving the two eastern ones for another day. It was good that we'd left Tom's truck, because the road gets quite a bit rougher as it goes over Keany Pass and we'd have had to come back to Excelsior road anyway. Towards sunset, we drove out to the Mescal Range on the south side of Interstate 15 for a last one that would finish in the failing light of the early evening.

Peak 4,858ft

This was the westernmost summit. We started about 3mi east of Excelsior Mine Rd, parking under a transmission tower, about one and quarter miles northwest of the summit. We spent a little under an hour and a half on the roundtrip effort, finding the gradient and footing easy, though lots of cacti on all these summits in the Clark Range. The previous week's storm had dropped snow down to about 5,000ft, and Clark Mtn to the southeast had a considerable coating of the white stuff. There was also a good deal of snow on the Kingston and Mescal Ranges, and other higher peaks in the distance (Telescope Peak, Mt. Charleston, Potosi Peak). We would have very little snow to walk on today, none of it of any consequence. Addam Walker had left a register in 2020 that also included an orignal Smatko register from 1977 though it was barely still readable - his plastic film cannisters don't have the staying power of the metal ones he left earlier in his career. This summit is called Spider Web Peak on PB, presumably named by Adam when he added it to the database.

Peak 4,983ft

PB has this one as Bullock Hill, though the person who added it did not record an ascent. It is the easiest of the day's peak, a short half mile climb from a road on its east side. We passed several signs that we had entered the Mojave National Preserve (now Monument) enroute. Interestingly, only street legal vehicles are allowed on the non-paved roads in the Monument. We also found cattle grazing both inside and outside the preserve. Evidently the higher elevations here are able to sustain grazing, with water provided by various springs. We were up and down the summit in about 45min.

Peak 6,141ft

We continued on the BLM road we'd used for the previous peak, to reach the Colosseum Mine on the south side of the peak (Colosseum Peak on PB). The mine is still active, though barely, a far cry from its heyday as a huge open pit (actually two pits) mine. Candace Skalet had used this same starting point, though she had reached it from the east side. We used her route that follows the fenceline around the mine and then a short cross-country bit up to the summit. There is a pool of water at the bottom of the southern pit, as well as some equipment and a truck near the bottom. Some noise coming up from the pit suggested the owner was there working today. This was the only summit that had some snow, though only a few inches in a few places. Most of the snow on this southern route had melted off over the past week. We found another register left by Adam in 2021. There were a few other entries, including Candace's from six months earlier.

Peak 5,095ft

We drove back down to the powerline road and then east another 3.5mi or so, stopping on the east side of Keany Pass, about a mile and a quarter southeast of Peak 5,095ft. This one had no recorded ascents on LoJ (and was not yet on PB). We crossed a few minor drainages to reach a wash that rises to the saddle between Keany BM and Peak 5,095ft, pausing at a mineshaft we stumbled upon enroute. There was a nice burro trail in the wash and we followed it upstream for about 1/3mi before ascending the SE Slopes of Peak 5,095ft. The upper crown of the summit is dark gray limestone, the summit featuring fine views looking north into Mesquite Valley and snowy Mt. Charleston on the horizon. To the south rises the higher Keany BM and the Mesquite Wilderness HP which I had climbed in 2015. Tom would continue from our peak to visit these while I went back to the Jeep and moved it to Keany Pass where I would pick him after half an hour later.

Peak 4,442ft

We drove back out to Excelsior Mine Rd, picking up Tom's truck on the way. We then returned to I-15 and headed towards Las Vegas, stopping at the Nipton exit about 10mi from Primm and the Nevada border. We left the truck and took the Jeep south on Ivanpah Rd and then an unsigned BLM road on the east side of Peak 4,442ft in the Mescal Range. We drove this somewhat overgrown road to its end, about a mile from this last summit. This was probably the hardest summit of the day with some 1,200ft of gain. It didn't help that the route I chose had us sidehilling almost the entire way to the summit. Much of the slopes were loose and sloppy, not exactly fun. We got to the summit only a few minutes before sunset. It would be nearly dark by the time we returned. The return to the north of the ascent route proved better footing, mostly following a rocky gully down to easier ground.

After finishing up, we had some trouble following the road back out to the pavement, but eventually got our bearings straightened out. We headed to Primm where we camped on BLM lands behind the Whiskey Pete casino on the north side of the highway. We drove about 3/4mi further to get away from all the casino and truck stop lights. More fun tomorrow...


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