Miller Mountain P2K DS

Thu, May 28, 2015
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Miller Mtn is a non-descript P2K in Nevada's Mineral County, near the Esmeralda County border and about 5mi north of US6. I'm not sure exactly how I ended up doing this on the day I was heading home, but I think it had to do with the fact that I was ahead of schedule on the Mono Peaks I had been pursuing the previous days and was looking at the backup list of places to visit. In any event, there it was on my GPSr as a route I had downloaded, a peak whose time had come.

I attempted to follow the dirt road described by Zdon in his guidebook that gets one about halfway to the summit from the highway, but I didn't get very far due to excessive brush dragging across my undercarriage. I pulled off only a short distance from the highway and followed the remaining 2mi+ on foot. The summit has no dramatic rise and isn't visible from the base of the mountain. One has to take it on faith that there is a highpoint up there somewhere and head in the right direction. The vegetation along the roadway is typcial desert basin scrub but the slopes of the mountain have a bit more green with a collection of juniper and pinyon that grows thicker on the shadier slopes, less so on the sunnier ones. I followed Zdon's directions into a canyon SW of the summit, following the meandering dry creekbed through a small slot canyon and more forested areas upslope. I missed a turn at a fork and spent a few minutes traversing back into the main canyon, eventually climbing to the SW ridge which I followed to the summit. Steep but open cross-country lead up to the top which I reached after about two and a quarter hours. An old wooden survey tower still stood (but barely) above the benchmark left by the USGS in 1950. Gordon and Barbara had left a DPS register back in 1998. It was not as popular as I had expected though it did contain a number of the usual suspects including Bob Packard & Adam Helman from 2013 and more recently, 2015 visits back in March from Mark Adrian and Sue & Vic Henney. Boundary Peak is the most notable summit visible off to the southwest, the only snow that can be seen in all directions limited to the Whites. I descended the West Ridge, mentioned as an alternate route by Zdon, and I found this the better of the two routes with easier gradients and more sure footing. It was almost 11:30a by the time I returned to the van and normally it would be only the first half of the day's adventure, but today I had to get home and called it a day. There would be plenty more time for return visits to the vast spread of mountains across Nevada and the Great Basin...

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