Light BM RS
Bill Gays Butte RS
Black Mountain P300 RS
Copper Mountain West P300 RS
Copper Mountain East P500 RS
Indigo Peak P300 RS
Dupont Mountain P300
Peak 3,286ft P300

Dec 1, 2018
Black Mountain
Copper Mountain West
Copper Mountain East
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 5 Profile


I had such a good time in the Searchlight, NV area the day before, that I decided to stick around for a second day even though I hadn't planned to. There were plenty of interesting peaks in the area to keep me busy but the one I was most looking forward to was Copper Mtn which I had seen quite a bit of that first day. I was mostly tagging a bunch of summits found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles, but with extra time at the end of the day I picked up a few others not described there. Dupont Mtn turned out to have the best scrambling, though short compared to Copper Mtn.

Light BM

I had spent the night parked on a dirt gasline road just east of this minor summit, not far from Searchlight and not far east from US95. It was little more than a quarter mile and 300ft of gain to the summit, an easy warm up. With overnight temperatures dipping to the upper 30s, I was most happy as the sun decided to rise on my way up. At the chilly summit, I found the benchmark and a register left by Barbara Lilley in 2014 - love finding these newer ones - she was 85yrs old at the time! Gives me hope that I can keep this up a while longer.

Bill Gays Butte

After returning to the pavement, I headed east on Cottonwood Cove Rd. Just past the Lake Mead NRA entrance station (not manned this time of year) I turned right onto a powerline road in good condition, following it for a few miles until I was due west of Bill Gays Butte, about half a mile away. It makes for an easy class 2 scramble, the roundtrip taking 30min. There would be good views of the Colorado River from the summit, but these were washed out in the early morning.

Black Mountain

Black Mtn lies just north of Cottonwood Cove Rd, about half a mile from the pavement. This one had more gain than the previous two, but still a fairly short outing, taking 45min roundtrip. I went up the steep SW Ridge and then down a gully found just south of the ridge, a decent scramble.

Copper Mountain

More driving, with the last several miles up a gravel wash (still good condition though, as I found most of the roads in the NRA), got me within 2/3mi of Copper Mtn. There are two summits separated by 0.7mi, and it was to the west summit that I headed first. There was a lot of cholla while crossing the wash as I started out, requiring care, but these faded out as I started the steep 900-foot climb up the southwest face. Upon gaining the summit ridge, I found myself south of the summit, but an easy 10min hike along the ridge got me to the highpoint. I found a register in a tiny aluminum can and guessed before opening it that it was courtesy Adam Walker. I'd seen other creative register containers from him in the past and wasn't surprised by this one. He and Tracy Foutz seem to have gotten to most of the summits in this area over the past few years. I next turned my attention to the higher and far more impressive east summit, following the connecting ridgeline in a large arc to the south. There is a 400-foot drop to a saddle, then a 600-foot climb up to the east summit along the SW Ridge. The ridge featured some nice class 3 scrambling, a large cholla garden in the middle, and a 6-foot hole in the ridgeline with a knife-edge section going over the top of it. I had scrambled along this spicy section before realizing there was a hole underneath it when I happened to look back after completing it. I paused to take a photo through the hole before continuing up (and would take another on my way down). The summit had a register in a sturdier container this time, mine making the fifth entry in 4 years. After a short stay, I returned back along the ridge to the saddle, did some sidehilling to get myself to a west-facing drainage, then descended this back to the main wash where I had parked the jeep. A little over 2.5hrs for the roundtrip effort.

Indigo Peak

This summit is located less than two miles east of Copper Mtn. I'm not sure why it was given this name, looking more like dark brown/black to me rather than a deep blue. Perhaps when the light hits it just right? It is another short, easy climb, this time to a flat-topped summit. I climbed it from the east side where the road comes closest, about half a mile. An LVMC party had left a register in 2017. Adam was the last person to sign it, about a year ago. There's an exceptional view of Copper Mtn East to the west and a decent one of Salt & Pepper Mtn to the north.

Dupont Mountain

This was a nice little gem tucked up in the drainage northwest of Salt & Pepper. It's the highest of 4-5 rugged little points sticking up from the desert flats with 400ft+ of prominence. The hike was about 3/4mi each way and the scrambling along the SE Ridge was the finest of the day, even if a bit short. Part way up the ridge I came across a huge cairn with a rusty tin holding a lode claim. The paper was far too brittle to read, let along open up, but it must have been quite a few decades old. The summit had a register, too, though only a few entries - mine made the fourth in a decade. Walker and Foutz made up two of the other entries. I initially started down the East Face for a change of pace but gave that up quickly when I ran into cliffs. I returned partway along the SE Ridge before dropping east into a wash that took me back out to the flats. I came across an old road (no longer driveable) that goes to a prospect side at the base of the SE Ridge. There are lots of prospects and mining items on the mountain as I found on the way up and down.

Peak 3,286ft

On my way back to Searchlight I stopped along Cottonwood Cove Rd to tag a last summit, unnamed Peak 3,286ft. Like most of the others, this one was short, less than a mile roundtrip, taking no more than 45min. The sun was getting ready to set and the wind had picked up, chilling the late afternoon air after a mostly pleasant weather day. There wasn't anything special about this one and I probably could have skipped it without regrets, but it kept me from finishing too early and finding myself with too much time on my hands before bedtime.

I showered off a dirt road on the west side of the last peak, surprised to find an SUV drive by in the middle of my shower. It was the first vehicle I'd seen off the pavement all day and only the third or fourth car I'd seen in total. They didn't seem to mind my nakedness too much...


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