Currant Mtn is a Nevada P2K lying in the White Pine Range and the Humboldt
National Forest. Currant is found on a number of peaks lists I've been working
on slowly over the years, along with nearby Duckwater Peak. I thought I would
visit the pair (and some near neighbors, too) on my way to Colorado. I had
driven the decent forest road from US6 to my campsite at 8,627ft the previous
night, finding the road a bit overgrown in the last stretch, but managable by
any high-clearance vehicle. My plan was to hike the two main peaks separately
as suggested by several previous visitors. I found neither hike particularly
memorable due to much scree/talus, poor views and temperatures too warm to
really enjoy. I spent about seven and a quarter hours on the five summits,
including the driving between them.
From my campsite (the only reasonable parking place, too), it's a 2,500-foot
climb to the summit in 1.25mi via the East Ridge. The understory is not brushy,
but the route is somewhat loose and not terribly scenic until one breaks out
of the forest near the top. Lots of rock and trees on this one. I had started
early, by 5:30a, knowing it would soon warm up. I took about an hour and a
half to reach the top. The summit does provide an outstanding view looking
south to Currant Mtn. The route between them looks deceptively benign until the
last half mile or so - I could see why the traverse isn't recommended. A
register dated to 2013, left by an LVMC party. A newer register was left in
2018 by John Hooper, with mostly familiar names recorded on its three pages. It
took less than an hour to descend back down the same route, finishing up
shortly after 8a.
I drove about a mile back down the dirt road to a saddle on the west side of
Peak 8,851ft. A pair of feral horses were grazing nearby, not all that happy to
see me stop and get out of the Jeep. They wandered off a short distance before
turning to watch me warily as I made my way up the slopes towards the summit.
The going here is modestly brushy to start, opening up about halfway up the
short distance to the top. A small cliff band is easily managed to get me to
the top in less than 15min. From the summit, Currant's summit can be seen more
clearly than Duckwater's, the latter appearing as a non-descript point well to
the north of Currant. Eight minutes sufficed for the quick descent back to the
Eagle Feather Peak - Currant Mtn
A half mile of additional driving saw me to the highest switchback before the
road begins to descend. I parked off the road (barely) and called it my
starting point for the meat of the day, a climb to these two summits. There are
some ducks which may or may not help one with the traverse from the initial
drainage to an adjacent one that can be followed southwest towards the summits.
I only noticed these on the way back and didn't think they were terribly
useful, at least to get to my trailhead. It was a bit annoying thrashing through
some trees and brush as I made my way between drainages, eventually finding
easier going after about half a mile's effort. The two peaks together require
about 3,700ft of gain over a roundtrip distance of almost six miles. The
middle section is the easiest, up through forested slopes that become
progressively steeper. There was no water to be found in mid-July of a very
dry year, though a few streambeds gave evidence of heavy flows in times past.
The upper section is a loose headwall of hardpack scree - not much fun and it
feels a bit dangerous, too. I moved from tree to tree where I could since
these provided better footing and a momentary rest. At the crest, the going
becomes easier. I turned left to hike to the top of Eagle Feather Peak first,
an easy ascent with a fine view in all directions. I then turned my attention
to Currant Mtn, a little over a mile to the north. It would take more than an
hour to traverse between the two, the most interesting scrambling of the day.
The route is mostly class 2, with limestone forming the bulk of Currant's
summit. A register was placed by a GBP party in 2015, with ten pages filled
since then - not too surprising considering its P2K status, definitely the most
climbed summit in the area. For the descent, I chose a slightly different
drainage to descend, saving me some time rather than traversing to the original
drainage. This northern branch had the same poor qualities at the headwall
immediately off the crest, but was no worse, and by the same method of using
the trees where I could, I got down well enough (if one were to skip Eagle
Feather Peak, this would make for the more efficient ascent route, too). I
rejoined my original route when the two drainages merged, following it back down
and across the other drainages to get back to the Jeep not long after 2p.
I drove back down the road about half a mile, then left on a spur road that
would take me close to Peak 8,288ft, an easy bonus peak on my way back. It was
getting quite warm by this time, so a short hike was about all I was willing
to give it. I parked on the west side of the peak where the road gave out and
hiked to the summit in less than 10min. Not much interesting to this peak.
There are a number of other bonus summits in the area given more time and
cooler temps, including Red Mtn, a P1K and Wilderness HP. I was done for the
day, however, and ready to take it easy.
After returning to the Jeep, I had much driving to do, with plans to meet up
with Tom in Great Basin NP that evening. I drove back out the southern route
to US6 (there is a shorter route heading east, but I took the longer, familiar
one), then on to Ely. I got dinner at the Denny's there, then continued east
to Great Basin NP. Tom would join me on the west side of the park shortly
before sunset with plans to hike in the park the next two days...