False Coffin Peak P300 RS
Coffin Peak 2x DS / DPG / RS
Peak 3,370ft P300

Wed, Nov 8, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX
Coffin Peak previously climbed Thu, Dec 15, 2011

Iris and Tom were planning a long roadtrip to Northern Nevada and invited me to join them. I told them I would be able to join for the second half and began to make plans for peaks around Reno and places to the east. As the time was approaching, the weather up that way was taking a nasty turn with temperatures forecast as low as 23F. I suggested a redirect to the Pahrump area where the weather would be better, and we agreed to meet up on Wednesday evening. I left San Jose early, around 4:30a, so that I might have some time in the afternoon for a few summits after 8-9hrs of driving. The shortest route via SR127 north from Baker was closed, so I had to take the longer route through Trona, Furnace Creek and Death Valley Junction. Between these last two settlements, I paid a visit to a few peaks near Dante's View, then a last summit near Pahrump before sunset.

False Coffin Peak - Coffin Peak

These closely-spaced summits are located in Death Valley, southeast of Dante's View in the Black Mountains. I had visited the officially named Coffin Peak in 2011 when I was busy collecting summits in Andy Zdon's Desert Summits. False Coffin is an unofficial name given by Courtney Purcell in his later book, Rambles & Scrambles. It's not clear which is higher - PB has Coffin as the higher while LoJ anoints False Coffin, the difference due to PB using clean prominence and LoJ using average prominence. I had known nothing of False Coffin on that first visit and had bypassed its summit by a hundred yards on my way to Coffin Peak. Today, I drove most of the paved road up to Dante's View, stopping short of the final steep climb when I was almost due west of False Coffin, and parked just off the roadway. I made the short hike to False Coffin in less than 30min and continued on to Coffin Peak, only 15min further. I picked up the use trail traveling between the two, and would use it for most of the return as well. There was no register atop False Coffin that I could find (there are several points vying for highpoint on the flattish summit), but there was one atop Coffin Peak. It was not very old, the most weathered scrap dating only to 2019, left by my nemesis, Laura Newman. I suspect she may have absconded with the older register once she found my name in it.

Peak 3,370ft

I spent the next hour driving east out of the park and through Death Valley Junction on paved Bell Vista Rd that continues to Pahrump. I had planned to meet the others off this road to camp for the evening. Since I still had some daylight upon my arrival, I decided to visit nearby Peak 3,370ft. This somewhat isolated and low summit lies at the southwest end of the Last Chance Range. A dirt road runs to the south of it, lined with a dozen informal shooting ranges. There were several parties practicing with various weapons as I drove by. These would continue until sunset when the parties packed up and headed home to Pahrump. The hike up the South Ridge is short, taking less than 20min to climb about 600ft. There is a nice view of Pahrump to the southeast and the surrounding peaks we would be climbing over the next four days. I was back down by 4:20p, shortly before sunset. I took a shower and then drove back out the dirt road about a mile to where I was to meet the others. I spotted Tom's truck turning off Bell Vista Rd within a minute of my arrival at our campspot - impressive timing...


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