Gunshot Peak RS
Trench Peak P300 RS
Mount of Caves P300 RS
Painted Prow P500 RS

Mar 13, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


My last day in the Las Vegas area had me back to Hidden Valley and the Arrow Canyon Range. I just did a half day outing, a 5.3mi loop in the middle portion of the range, taking in four summits. All of them are found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. From US93, I followed a BLM road for a little over a mile across an alkalai flat to position myself between Gunshot and Mount of Caves. The area is littered with all sorts of trash and appears to be used as a shooting range regularly - thus, the likely source of the name, "Gunshot Peak." Thankfully, there was no shooting today, following a weekend of hiking with gunshots blasting almost continuously from the many informal shooting galleries around the area. In a clearing among so much trash, was left a camper that did not appear abandoned, at least it hasn't yet been vandalized. No sign of its owner while I was in the area today.

My first stop was Gunshot Peak, only a quarter mile to the southwest. Easy class 2 up the NE Ridge had me on the summit in 12 minutes. It was the lowest and easiest of the four summits, and the only one that held a register. The green ink at the top suggested it was placed by Kevin Humes, but his name was missing. The only entry was from David Miller in 2020 at the start of the Corona outbreak which he referenced. I next headed to Trench Peak, a little over a mile to the southeast. It was a pleasant excursion between the two peaks, through a lovely little valley with none of the trash found where I'd parked. I ascended the West Ridge of Trench, taking a bit under an hour from Gunshot's summit. There is a good view to the southwest of the higher Dry BM I had climbed the previous day. To the northeast was the other summits on the day's agenda. I followed the crest of the range to the north, then descended the NW Ridge on my way to Mount of Caves, about 1.4mi to the northeast. Climbing Caves' South Ridge, I spent just over an hour getting to the summit from Trench Peak.

The last summit, Painted Prow, is the highest of the four and about 3/4mi northeast of Mount of Caves. I did not take a direct route, instead descending to the east to cross the shallow saddle between them, then up a steep West Face to reach the long summit ridgeline about 0.6mi south of the summit. The scramble along the ridge was an enjoyable one, easy despite some steep dropoffs, particularly on the west side. The highpoint is found at the north end of the ridge, beyond a false summit that is nearly equal in height. Another hour was spent getting to this last summit. For the final descent, I went down the west side of Painted Prow, alternating along ribs and in gullies to work through some cliff sections and keep it all class 2. Once at the base of the peak, I had another mile and change across the desert flats to work my way around the north and west sides of Mount of Caves to return to where I'd parked just before noon. Btw, if there were caves on Mount of Caves, I completely missed them - none anywhere on the routes I went up and down.

Rather than find some other summits in the area, I decided to call it a day early and head back to town. My wife would be finishing up with the volleyball tournament early, so we would have a chance to get dinner together...

This ended up being the last day of the trip, unexpectedly. When we got up the next morning to drive my wife to the airport, the engine wouldn't start. Fortuitously, the guy parked next to me at the motel happened to walk out and ask if I needed a jump. I made it back to San Jose in about 8hrs, having to shut the engine off only once - luckily it started again. After diagnosing it at home, I determined the main battery had gone bad. Seems it was three years old, not the two years I had assumed...

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This page last updated: Tue Mar 21 09:23:16 2023
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