Bald Mountain P2K

Thu, Aug 9, 2012

With: Tom Becht
Laura Molnar
Sean O'Rourke

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


There isn't all that much to Bald Mtn. Though it sports more than 2,000ft of prominence, it doesn't have all that much else going for it. Even the cows make light of it with periodic visits when the grazing is in season. That I got three others to join me, none of whom profess to an interest in prominence peaks, is a testament to either my charm or my persuasive skills. Or perhaps the others just didn't have anything better to do. In any case, our four vehicles converged on a lonely strip of SR338 in Nevada at a place called Long Doctor Spring. I had picked this summit because it was "sort of" on they way from Ebbetts Pass to Twin Lakes where the Sierra Challenge would start the next day. It was also easy enough to serve as a good warm up without beating ourselves up. The others were also on their way to the Challenge, though the peak was only really convenient for Sean who was driving down from Reno. We spent the night sleeping in our vehicles, rising the next morning around sunrise.

We took the two vehicles among us that actually qualified for 4WD up Nye Canyon for some eight miles. Had I been by myself and started from Long Doctor as would have been necessary, it would have been a 10-mile RT effort with 3,000ft of gain. With the 4WD access road, it halved both the distance and elevation gain. Stronger vehicles could drive have driven further (Sean's 4Runner among them), but the Honda Element begged us to stop where the road grew increasingly rough.

The mountain is covered in low density brush that makes for little bother on the lower slopes and gets thinner as one nears the summit. It took us all of an hour and ten minutes to cover the 2.5 miles to the summit, half on the rough jeep track and half up the bouldery slope on the NE side of the mountain. Along with a benchmark we found a register left by the intrepid MacLeod/Lilley duo in 1992, the second one I'd found in two days (the one on Airola the day before had been left a month after this one back in 1992). There was about one entry per year in the 16 pages of register entries, with some familiar names like Bob Sumner, John Vitz, Dean Molen and Dennis Poulin. The weather was quite fine and with nowhere in particular to go, we lazed about for half an hour enjoying the mountain air. The best views on tap were to the west where one has a fine display of all the major summits of the Sweetwater Range.

Our descent went down the east side of the summit to the road we had spotted from above. We hadn't realized that the road we'd started on continued to very near the base of the summit on this side. We didn't save any time however, taking about the same on the descent as we'd taken on the way up. Back at Long Doctor before noon, we sat around in the shade created by our tailgates to have some snacks and a few libations. Later we would drive off to Bridgeport where we spent a few hours at the library taking advantage of the free wifi (while others among us took up more cerebral reading). Dinner at a local dive commenced immediately after the libary closed up at 5p. Later we drove up to Twin Lakes to escape the heat of Bridgeport, looking for a cool place to spend the night. We found it near one of the campsites along Robinson Creek, a turnout with a nice place to park some 50yds or so from the road. An early bedtime was on the menu in preparation for the requisite 5a wakeup...


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