Mon, Apr 8, 2019
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Mineral Ridge later climbed Mon, Apr 8, 2019|
I had traveled to Nevada to finish up the list of peaks found in Andy Zdon's Desert Summits. Bob Sumner and I had been separately working on this list for several years now, though neither of us had put any real priority to it, despite knowing that not even Andy Zdon had climbed them all yet. Some months ago I had traveled to the Gold Butte National Monument near the UT/NV/AZ border to do a handful in that area, leaving me just three peaks in West Central NV and a lone summit in Death Valley. The weather in that part of Nevada stayed very cold for a number of months and I let the project simmer. Sumner had asked me in December if I was going to be finishing it anytime soon to which I indicated probably not until March. This would give him some months to have a crack at it, but he had other life distractions keeping him from the task. And so in April I noted the weather and timing had finally come together and I set out with a four-day window to finish it off. I had other peaks in mind as well, some from Walt Wheelock's Desert Peaks Guide as well as Courtney Purcell's Rambles and Scrambles, and some bonus peaks, too.
It would take me well over two hours to make my way up 2,500ft over the course of two miles to reach the summit from the east. The snow started around 9,000ft, spotty at first but more uniformly by the time I reached 9,500ft. The warm weather had meant that the snowpack had not frozen for several days and it was now a wet, heavy mess. Though the snowshoes weren't needed or really wanting, it was impossible to keep my boots dry in this snow as they would sink in 6-8" with almost every step. I found the benchmark and a survey stick a short distance east of, and below the highpoint. I found no register there nor at the highpoint that I visited next. Hoping to find a drier way down, I decided to descend more directly off the summit, south and then southeast following a steeper but drier subsidiary ridgeline off that side. This worked nicely enough that, had I used it for the ascent, my boots would have stayed relatively dry by the time I got back. Luckily I had brought two pair of boots, so I wouldn't have to spend the rest of the day wallowing in the wet ones. It was well before noon when I finished up back at the jeep, leaving me with plenty of time to get ahead of the schedule I'd set out for the next few days.
I drove down to a more protected spot in order to shower, then headed back out of the mountains to US6/US95. I was well ahead of schedule for the trip and knew I'd have extra time. So I drove north into the Monte Cristo Range to do a couple of summits there in the morning. There is a small network of long, dirt roads that wind their way into the range and it was not hard to find a quiet spot to spend the night...
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