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. Thertte
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.
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.
More driving, with the last several miles up a gravel wash
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
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 P29>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.
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
There's an exceptional view of Copper Mtn East to the west and a
decent one of Salt & Pepper Mtn to the north.
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.
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
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...