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I was in the area to tackle the mighty summits of the Marl Mountains, a tiny range of dubious status ("Hills" would have been more appropriate) that need a bit of help to even identify specific summits. The range is located on the sloping west flank of Cima Dome (itself a difficult to identify summit), making it such that the highpoint at the northeast end has hardly any prominence. There are two points not far from each other vying for the honor (Evan Rasmussen misidentified the higher one some years earlier on his CA Range Highpoint tour), neither rising even 200ft from the surroundings. The only summit with more than 300ft of prominence in the range is found closer to Kelbaker Rd on the west side of the range and that's pretty much it. The morning would be spent tagging these three summit before heading to more fertile grounds.
I took about 45min to hike the SW Ridge to the summit. It was not a particularly pleasant hike because of the great abundance of spikey cactus laying in wait underfoot. Constant vigilance was required to keep from stepping on one or another, detracting from what would otherwise be enjoyable views. Once at the top, the 6,000-foot summit offers far-reaching desert views across three states (CA/NV/AZ). A 1925 benchmark proved the old survey crew better spellers than the Nevada DOT (I recall another sign, "Boundry Peak" the same organization had installed along US6 before it was subsequently corrected). The register was a busy one, totaling some 23 pages in all since Mark Adrian had left it in 1999. I recognized only a few of the names, including Bob Sumner, John Fedak and Chuck Ramm. The return was a slight improvement that featured fewer of the prickly obstacles.
Located at the opposite corner, Doherty Mtn has an antenna installation at its summit and a road leading to it. The pavement ends after a particularly steep section past the last house found on the south slopes of the mountain. The road beyond here is too rough for low-clearance vehicles. I parked the van at the end of the paved portion and was immediately surrounded by a pack of three dogs that had come up hastily to investigate my intrusion. They belonged to that last house I had just passed but the owner did not come out to recall them or otherwise ask what the hell I was doing there. I almost decided to abandon the effort when I screwed up the courage to firmly shoo the dogs away. They didn't exactly leave but they seemed content to let me climb the peak, choosing to lie down in the shade of the van to await my return. I hiked to the summit in less than 10min and then came back to reanimate the dogs and their incessant barking. Only reluctantly did they let me reenter my vehicle after which I think I'd have happily run them over if they hadn't moved out of the roadway.
The third summit I visited was named Morning Glory Mtn by Courtney Purcell in his guidebook, Rambles & Scrambles. Located a mile north of Doherty Mtn, the summit is a half mile east and 500ft above US95. A turnout due west of the peak provides convenient parking off the highway. One needs to cross a barbed-wire fence designed to keep large mammals off the roadway, after which it is a straightforward 20 minutes to reach the summit with surprisingly nice views over the southernmost part of Nevada. It was 4p by the time I returned to highway. I tried to reach one more named summit - Fourth of July Mtn about 3mi east of town. I found a good dirt road heading south off paved Cottonwood Cove Rd but it quickly became a Private Property issue. I couldn't figure out what was BLM lands around here and had done no research. My heart wasn't really in it so I quickly gave up the idea. Instead I used the lonely stretch of road to take a shower before heading back to Searchlight. I grabbed a salad to go from the McDonalds and headed north on US95 for the Ireteba Peaks where I planned to hike the next morning. I managed to drive the van about 3mi east of the highway on a sandy, uneven road to the base of the mountains where I found a very quiet spot to spend the night - one of the better desert campsites I had on this roadtrip, actually.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Crescent Peak
This page last updated: Wed Feb 24 12:49:39 2016
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