Homer Mountain P750
North Peak RS
Little Peak RS
Peak 4,921ft P900
Peak 1,900ft
Promontory Point P500 RS

Mon, Dec 6, 2021

With: Eric Smith

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profiles: 1 2

It was the start of my birthday desert roadtrip, a 13-day romp through the tri-state area of CA/NV/AZ. Various folks would be joining me during the trip at different times, though this morning I was on my own. I had driven out the day before to camp west of US95 near Homer Mtn. I was up early to do this and a few other peaks before joining my pal Eric in Boulder City, NV.

Homer Mountain

This is a standalone mountain found west of the Dead Mtns and US95 in eastern San Bernardino County. It has just over 800ft of prominence and has been visited by the likes of Smakto, MacLeod and Lilley. I followed a utility road to the southeast side of the mountain, leaving me with about 2.5mi of hiking each way to the summit. I started on foot soon after sunrise, following a sandy wash that eventually narrowed, with a few easy class 3 dryfalls before starting my climb out. The slopes I followed were all class 2, approaching the summit in a roundabout way from the south and southwest. It took about 1.5hrs to reach the top where views spread out on a clear, crisp December morning in all directions. I had hoped to find an old register from one of the Sierra Club folks, but that seems to have disappeared. Adam Walker had left one a year earlier, and I was the only other apparent visitor since then. There was a generic USGS benchmark with no name imprinted. On the descent, I took a more direct route off the summit, heading southeast and south, then down a ridgeline just north of the ascent gully I'd used. I eventually ended up in the original wash and followed that back to the Jeep by 9:30a. During the descent, I spied another road on the northeast side of the summit that one could drive even closer. I had seen this in the satellite view previously, but it seemed a much longer drive on lesser roads. Others might want to explore this option.

Newberry Mountains

Back on US95, I headed north into Clark County, NV, and then east on Christmas Tree Pass Rd. This is the popular road used to access the DPS summit of Spirit Mtn. I was after a small collection of peaks around Christmas Tree Pass that are found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. These are exceedingly minor summits that I might be embarassed to subject others too, so now seemed like a good time. North Peak and Little Peak both have telecom installations, most easily reached by the service road that forks off Christmas Tree Pass Rd. The high-clearance road is in decent shape, but gated about three miles below the summits. Others have reported starting their hike from here. I got out to examine the gate and was happy to find the padlock unlatched. It was simple enough to detach it and open the gate, allowing me to drive to both summits. I visited North Peak first, with its stunning view of Spirit Mtn to the north, across Christmas Tree Pass. There are several points vying for highpoint, so I visited both before driving over to Little Peak. Like North Peak, it has several towers, including cellular service, explaining why cell reception is so good up here. The more interesting summit is unnamed Peak 4,921ft, a near-P1K about a mile to the southwest. This one is not found in Purcell's book, but it was to this that I next turned my attention.

I drove partway back down the service road, noting a white truck making its way up, about a mile down the road from me. I parked just off the road northeast of Peak 4,921ft's summit and got started up the steep slope before the truck had a chance to cross my path. I watched it drive by without stopping, so likely just a technician heading up to do some work, not a security guy on patrol. The climb to Peak 4,921ft is short but steep, with loose rock in places. I worked around several rocky outcrops to keep things at class 2 and make my way to the top in less than 30min. Good iviews from the rocky summit. A register had been left here in 2014, with only a few visitors, including a LVMC party in 2017 led by Kevin Humes with his famous green ink. The technician was still working up on Little Peak when I returned to the Jeep just after noon. The gate was still wide open when I passed through a few minutes later, so I left it for the technician to deal with (or not) upon his return.

Promontory Point

Back on US95 once again, I drove north to Boulder City to meet up with Eric at the Starbucks there. He had originally planned to arrive around 5p, but an early start from Albuquerque had him in town only a short while after my arrival. With a few hours of daylight remaining, we set out for a 5mi hike in the Lake Mead NRA, just north of Hoover Dam. Promontory Point is the highpoint of the pennisula jutting into the lake. We parked at Lakeview Point and set out around 2:15p. This isn't the easiest starting point for Promontory Point. That location is probably the Hoover Dam Visitor Center which has closer access via the Historic Railroad Trail, but we didn't know this at the time. We hopped over the stone wall at the overlook and made our way east towards another summit we were interested in, Peak 1,900ft (Peak 1880 on PB), which was on our way. No trail via the route we used, but it was standard class 2 with a few bits of class 3, going over a few intermediate points before reaching the summit in about 35min. There was a large rock cairn and a view overlooking Lake Mead and the Hemenway Harbor to the north. We made a short class 3 downclimb off the east side of the summit to continue towards Promontory Point, joining the route described by Candace Skalet that goes around a rusting fence corner. We didn't find the described use trail until we were returning, but it isn't really necessary. We went around the north side of the ridgeline, circling back to visit the PB-only J-Hill on our way. This is a minor point with a benchmark and a view of the Hoover Dam and Bridge, better than the one obtained from Promontory Point. Another 30min saw us to the higher Promontory Point. This higher summit has better views looking into Lake Mead, and around the NRA surrounding the lake. There is a benchmark here, too, along with a busy register dating to 2015, most of the names recognizable among the usual suspects.

It was getting late and a bit chilly - the blue skies of the morning had been replaced with increasing overcast and a change of weather. We beat a retreat back along the route we'd used from the fenceline, finding the use trail (or rather, pieces of it) that would take us down to the Railroad Trail. This made for a much easier return to the Lakeview Overlook, no headlamp needed on the wide, flat trail even as it grew dark. It was nearly 5:30p by the time we got back to the overlook and the Jeep, ours the last vehicle remaining in the usually busy lot. We drove back to Boulder City where we found dinner and a place to camp for the night. It wasn't one of our better finds, so I'll not reveal its location - suffice to say that the neighborhood dogs knew we were there as it wasn't quite far enough out of town...

Continued...


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