Freds Mountain P1K
Hungry Mountain P500
Orleans Hill
Mt. Abbie
Ophir Hill 2x
Middle Hill

Sun, Apr 27, 2014
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2 3
Ophir Hill previously climbed Tue, Jul 1, 2008


I had a few hours in the morning before heading to the Reno Convention Center for another day of girls club volleyball with the ratio of estrogen to testosterone well over 4:1 (it would be over 20:1 if the Dads didn't come watch) and the average sound level hovering around 85db. Getting a little outdoor sunshine time was going to go a whole long way towards making me feel better about sitting on my butt in a noisy gym the rest of the day.

Freds Mountain

Located 20mi north of Reno, Freds Mountain sports almost 1,500ft of prominence, rising as a long ridgeline above the desert floor, mostly unconnected to the surrounding hills and ranges. Much of the mountian lies on BLM land and there are all-public access routes from the east side as I found later (see the SummitPost page for more details). I chose to approach from the west in the vicinity of Animal Ark, a sanctuary for injured and non-releasable wildlife. It appears that all of the land on the west side at the base of Freds is private property, so I figured the animal sanctuary would offer me the least trouble. I found the land immediately adjacent to Animal Ark owned by the Nevada Trust for Public Land. A sign indicated that permission was required, but at 7a on a Sunday morning it seemed a safe bet to use the convenient dirt road I found leading from Deerlodge Rd (which itself is off paved Red Rock Rd). The route bypassed the main compound of Animal Ark (not open until 10a), going through what looks like an old area of abandoned kennels once part of the sanctuary. The kennels were crude plywood boxes and there was plenty of other junk such as appliances littering the area. The old road ended shortly past this area at the foot of the mountain and I was very quickly gaining altitude cross-country up the slopes above Animal Ark.

The mountain is very lightly vegetated, making for easy cross-country travel, and without any significant obstacles it took but 45min to reach the summit. There were some small patches of lingering snow from the previous day's light squall. The summit featured a squat cairn with a cross made of rebar protruding from its center. Along with a USGS benchmark, a small plastic bottle held a register mostly filled with names of those that had motored their way to the top on one of several motorcycle tracks available for the OHV fans. The summit offers a good vantage from which to view Petersen Mtn to the west and Warm Springs and Hungry Mtns to the east. Looking north, one sees across the stretch of Freds Mountain extending in that direction with the Dogskin Mountains rising behind it. To the south could be seen Peavine with a fresh coat of snow and the higher mountains around Mt. Rose obscured by lingering clouds. I noted plenty of wild horse poop about the summit, but saw none of the animals on my brief visit this morning. I descended via a similar route, utilizing a dry canyon to the south of the ascent ridge for a short time until the brush clogging it became annoying. I passed once again by Animal Ark and through the abandoned area before returning to the van where I had parked it just outside a home on the west side of the road.

Hungry Mountain

25min of driving saw me south and around to the east side of Freds to Antelope Valley and the west side of Hungry Mtn. Like the west side of Freds, most of the the land at the base of Hungry Mtn is spoken for in private hands. I drove up and down Antelope Valley Rd until I found a dirt road open to the public. Unsigned, it is shown on Google Maps as Filer Rd. I drove it a short distance and parked at a junction where the continuation of the road becomes an OHV route. I followed this up a canyon leading to the main crest of Hungry Mtn in about 20min, taking another 10min to reach the north summit which I initially took as the highpoint. As I was heading back I decided to pay a visit to the rockier, more pointed south summit which I found to have an old survey tower and a Barbara/Gordon register from 1999. They had used a hand level to determine the south summit as the highpoint (my GPS reported them to be roughly the same). The register was filled with many entries, mostly from those riding to the summit on motorcycles. There were a few names I recognized, including Sue and Vic Henney who had visited only a few months earlier (as far as I know, they were the first to complete the five Sierra Club lists from Southern California - SPS/HPS/DPS/LPC & the San Diego club list). My return down the west side followed the same canyon I had taken on the way up, utilizing a combination of horse trail and OHV track back to where I'd started from. I was easily back in Reno in time for the 10:30a start of my daughter's first match at the Convention Center.


Volleyball ended before 3p, giving me time to help pack up chairs, tables, and food from the team camp outside before heading off for some afternoon hiking (daughter and Mom had driven in a separate car, giving me extra time to play in the hills around Reno). I headed south and southeast on SR341 to Geiger Summit and the Virginia Range. This scenic drive leads to historic Virginia City a few miles below Geiger Summit to the south. I had come to visit a handful of minor named summits in the area whose highpoint is Mt. Davidson. As the highpoint of the Virginia Range and Storey County, I had visited it years ago with Matthew, approaching from Virginia City. Today's tour would visit from the north, a very different approach. In fact, I didn't even realize I was near Mt. Davidson until an hour into the hike when I happen to study the GPS a little more carefully. Most of the range south of SR341 where these summits are located is BLM land. North of the highway has seen a good deal of development with more found on the south side. Had I researched this area ahead of time I would have found that I could reach almost all of the summits by strictly legal means utilizing existing roads in the area. But as I was more or less winging this one at the last minute, I simply parked at Geiger Summit and headed south from there.

My route took me cross-country towards Orleans Hill, going along the edge of one undeveloped property and next to a developed homestead. Existing horse trails made it easy to get through some sections of heavy brush, eventually landing me on good dirt road north of the peak. With fore-knowledge I could have followed the fork heading southwest and eventually to the summit, but instead I turned left and headed southeast along the fork that goes around the east side of Orleans, but not to the summit. It made little difference in the end, because the 700ft or so of cross-country up the NE side was fairly easy to negotiate. Among a modest cairn found at the summit was an old tobacco tin that may have served to hold a register at one time, or perhaps a boundary claim for an old mine. I headed west off the summit, picking up a dirt road going southwest along the crest towards the other summits.

Of the four peaks, Mt. Abbie is the hardest to reach, though that is not so difficult as it might sound. The road I followed headed around the west and south sides of Abbie without going to the summit. Some modestly steep cross-country led me up the east side, reaching the summit about 25min after leaving Orleans Hill. Higher and to the south was a radio tower which I came to find was Ophir Hill from the GPS map. Sounding vaguely familiar, it was then that I studied the GPS more closely to see that I was on the backside of Mt. Davidson. Matthew and I had visited Ophir Hill as an easy bonus peak while climbing Mt. Davidson. I decided to pay Ophir Hill and Mt. Davidson a return visit as I set off down the south side of Mt. Abbie to return to the road network. In the flatish saddle between Abbie and Ophir I found a trio of wild horses looking not-so-wild. They did not run away as most do upon spying me, but rather turned to walk slowly in my direction. They came within about 20yds, probably trying to see if I was there with handouts for them (many of the horses on the east side of Reno in the Virginia Range seem to be used to people). Seeing that I had nothing to offer they kept their distance, unwilling to venture closer until I produced something to make it worth their while.

I continued on the road heading south all the way to the summit of Ophir Hill. The highpoint is found in a pile of rocks to one side, with two large communication towers found just below to the east. I had earlier decided to continue on to Mt. Davidson, but now that it was 5:30p, I had second thoughts. Though the skies were mostly clear, there was a cold breeze blowing and a quick calculation told me I'd get back to Geiger Summit after dark if I continued on to Davidson. The prospect of a cold shower in colder wind was enough to discourage me from the repeat visit. Instead I turned back, choosing to visit Middle Hill which was at least partially on the way back. Middle was the lowest and least interesting of the four summits I visited (though none of them was particularly memorable) this afternoon. Little more than a rounded bump off the east side of the main crest of the range, the best that could be said was that it had decent views of the other peaks including Mt. Davidson and Virginia City to the south.

I retraced much of my route back to Geiger Summit, doing a better job of utilizing the existing roads, though again not as much as I might have if I'd studied ahead of time. It was 6:45p by the time I reached the van, about 45min of daylight remaining (seems I might have gotten to Mt. Davidson and back around sunset). The shower was almost as unpleasant as I had anticipated - though the water was warm, the wind was not, and the van was only able to partially block its unpleasant effects on my outdoor shower. Such is life. Afterwards I drove back towards Reno and partially up SR431 to the Sierra foothills around Mt. Rose. I found a TH parking area near the base of Thomas Creek at which to spend the night. Though signed for Day Use Only, I didn't expect this somewhat remote lot to be patrolled. And so it happened I was able to spend the rest of the evening here undisturbed...


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More of Bob's Trip Reports

For more information see these SummitPost pages: Freds Mountain - Hungry Mountain - Ophir Hill

This page last updated: Mon May 19 10:13:02 2014
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