I was camped along Gold Butte Rd in Gold Butte National Monument, NV. It
was the first of 3-4 days I planned to spend in the monument. I had been
here once before, briefly, to climb Virgin Peak with Matthew while chasing
DPS summits. This time I was back to do a more thorough investigation of
the fine offerings found in this corner of Nevada. It was raining lightly
in the morning which delayed my getting out of the sack. I was parked a
mile from the summit of Juanita BM which I had planned to visit first.
With the rain showing no sign of abatement, I decided to spend the time
driving further south into the monument while waiting for better weather.
It improved, such that I never got more than a few drops on me, but it
was very cloudy for most of the day (until a spectacular later afternoon
appearance of the sun) and I didn't get hiking until 9a. It was not a full
day, but my feet were needing some rest anyway.
Found west of Gold Butte Rd, a rough spur road forks off the main road
shortly before reaching Whitney Pocket. I drove the road some 5mi to the
southwest before stopping less than half a mile from the summit.
It turns out I could have driven even further, up to a saddle
southeast of the summit. I walked the remaining bit of road, then
climbed steeply up limestone slopes. There was a cool
10-foot limestone arch found along the way. The highpoint
is found a short distance west of a false summit atop the ridgeline. With
more than 900ft of prominence, it has a commanding view
overlooking the northwest portion of the monument. On the
return I made a small loop by following the ridgeline some distance to
the northeast before dropping back to the road and
returning to the jeep.
Black Butte is located less than two miles northeast of Bitter
Ridge. I drove back down the road about a mile to a large
near a wash on the west side of Black Butte. The distance
is less than half a mile to the summit, but features some
steep scrambling, easy class 3. A register placed in 2009
had ten pages of entries, though most of these held only
one party on a page. Nice little peak.
Billy Goat Peak
This summit is found in Zdon's Desert Summits at the south end of
the Virgin Mtns and south of Whitney Pass. I drove up to the pass and down
the other side in search of a spur road that I thought could get me
closer. I ended up driving through the Aravada Springs Ranch
(formerly the Whitney Ranch) and briefly into Arizona
before discovering this spur
road was gated closed. I then drove back through the ranch and parked north
of Billy Goat Peak, about 1.3mi away.
It turns out there's a rough spur
road (shown on the topo map) that I could have driven if I'd noticed it,
perhaps another 1/3mi closer. Billy Goat Peak is the highpoint of Whitney
Ridge, and after some initial cross-country and road travel, I began
following various ridges
heading generally south along Whitney Ridge.
Unlike all the desert stuff I'd been doing the past week, there were
pine trees along the route at an elevation over 5,000ft. I weaved between
these, over much limestone rock (some class 3 scrambling,
too, but it
could easily be avoided by moving to the side of the ridge). The low clouds
that had obscured the summit earlier cleared nicely, giving me
views from the top
when I reached it. The higher peaks in the Virgin Mtns to
the north were still partially obscured, however. There was an old John
Vitz register from 1983
with Barbara/Gordon visiting three years later.
Another register shows up in 2003
with 11 pages of entries. Not sure what
happened for the 20yrs between 1983 and 2003, though. I returned via much
the same route, save for some sidehilling on the east side to avoid the
class 3 sections.
This is an exceedingly minor point off the road between Whitney Pass and
Whitney Pocket. I parked a quarter mile from the summit and climbed up
the steep north side,
taking all of maybe 10min. I detoured a bit on the
return to take a safer route back - the north side is quite steep with
loose earth near the top.
This unnamed summit with more than 600ft of prominence lies above Whitney
Pocket to the northeast. I climbed the mile-long SE Ridge directly
from the road to the summit,
with a small descent to a saddle along the way.
Richard Carey had left a register here in 2015
with no other visitors
since. Because there was lots of sharp, somewhat tedious limestone along
the ridge, I decided to try another way down. I found it to the east, an
initially steep descent into a valley
on that side of the ridge that had
a spur road at the bottom. Had I known about it,
I could have driven this road to
make for a much shorter outing. I followed the road back down to the main
road where I'd parked.
Whitney Pocket Point
This is the large sandstone playground found at Whitney Pocket,
camp area at the main road junction. This was much like the scrambling
the previous day in Valley of Fire and I enjoyed the
and fun route-finding. I made it to the summit about 20min before sunset
and just as the sun finally came out from the clouds where it had hidden
most of the day. The peaks and valleys around me were
lit up in gloriously warm, late-afternoon colors. What a
difference since morning. Looks like
the weather is going to improve for the weekend...