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Ophir Hill previously climbed Tue, Jul 1, 2008|
I had a few hours in the morning before heading to the Reno Convention Center for another day of girls club volleyball with the ratio of estrogen to testosterone well over 4:1 (it would be over 20:1 if the Dads didn't come watch) and the average sound level hovering around 85db. Getting a little outdoor sunshine time was going to go a whole long way towards making me feel better about sitting on my butt in a noisy gym the rest of the day.
The mountain is very lightly vegetated, making for easy cross-country travel, and without any significant obstacles it took but 45min to reach the summit. There were some small patches of lingering snow from the previous day's light squall. The summit featured a squat cairn with a cross made of rebar protruding from its center. Along with a USGS benchmark, a small plastic bottle held a register mostly filled with names of those that had motored their way to the top on one of several motorcycle tracks available for the OHV fans. The summit offers a good vantage from which to view Petersen Mtn to the west and Warm Springs and Hungry Mtns to the east. Looking north, one sees across the stretch of Freds Mountain extending in that direction with the Dogskin Mountains rising behind it. To the south could be seen Peavine with a fresh coat of snow and the higher mountains around Mt. Rose obscured by lingering clouds. I noted plenty of wild horse poop about the summit, but saw none of the animals on my brief visit this morning. I descended via a similar route, utilizing a dry canyon to the south of the ascent ridge for a short time until the brush clogging it became annoying. I passed once again by Animal Ark and through the abandoned area before returning to the van where I had parked it just outside a home on the west side of the road.
My route took me cross-country towards Orleans Hill, going along the edge of one undeveloped property and next to a developed homestead. Existing horse trails made it easy to get through some sections of heavy brush, eventually landing me on good dirt road north of the peak. With fore-knowledge I could have followed the fork heading southwest and eventually to the summit, but instead I turned left and headed southeast along the fork that goes around the east side of Orleans, but not to the summit. It made little difference in the end, because the 700ft or so of cross-country up the NE side was fairly easy to negotiate. Among a modest cairn found at the summit was an old tobacco tin that may have served to hold a register at one time, or perhaps a boundary claim for an old mine. I headed west off the summit, picking up a dirt road going southwest along the crest towards the other summits.
Of the four peaks, Mt. Abbie is the hardest to reach, though that is not so difficult as it might sound. The road I followed headed around the west and south sides of Abbie without going to the summit. Some modestly steep cross-country led me up the east side, reaching the summit about 25min after leaving Orleans Hill. Higher and to the south was a radio tower which I came to find was Ophir Hill from the GPS map. Sounding vaguely familiar, it was then that I studied the GPS more closely to see that I was on the backside of Mt. Davidson. Matthew and I had visited Ophir Hill as an easy bonus peak while climbing Mt. Davidson. I decided to pay Ophir Hill and Mt. Davidson a return visit as I set off down the south side of Mt. Abbie to return to the road network. In the flatish saddle between Abbie and Ophir I found a trio of wild horses looking not-so-wild. They did not run away as most do upon spying me, but rather turned to walk slowly in my direction. They came within about 20yds, probably trying to see if I was there with handouts for them (many of the horses on the east side of Reno in the Virginia Range seem to be used to people). Seeing that I had nothing to offer they kept their distance, unwilling to venture closer until I produced something to make it worth their while.
I continued on the road heading south all the way to the summit of Ophir Hill. The highpoint is found in a pile of rocks to one side, with two large communication towers found just below to the east. I had earlier decided to continue on to Mt. Davidson, but now that it was 5:30p, I had second thoughts. Though the skies were mostly clear, there was a cold breeze blowing and a quick calculation told me I'd get back to Geiger Summit after dark if I continued on to Davidson. The prospect of a cold shower in colder wind was enough to discourage me from the repeat visit. Instead I turned back, choosing to visit Middle Hill which was at least partially on the way back. Middle was the lowest and least interesting of the four summits I visited (though none of them was particularly memorable) this afternoon. Little more than a rounded bump off the east side of the main crest of the range, the best that could be said was that it had decent views of the other peaks including Mt. Davidson and Virginia City to the south.
I retraced much of my route back to Geiger Summit, doing a better job of utilizing the existing roads, though again not as much as I might have if I'd studied ahead of time. It was 6:45p by the time I reached the van, about 45min of daylight remaining (seems I might have gotten to Mt. Davidson and back around sunset). The shower was almost as unpleasant as I had anticipated - though the water was warm, the wind was not, and the van was only able to partially block its unpleasant effects on my outdoor shower. Such is life. Afterwards I drove back towards Reno and partially up SR431 to the Sierra foothills around Mt. Rose. I found a TH parking area near the base of Thomas Creek at which to spend the night. Though signed for Day Use Only, I didn't expect this somewhat remote lot to be patrolled. And so it happened I was able to spend the rest of the evening here undisturbed...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Freds Mountain - Hungry Mountain - Ophir Hill
This page last updated: Mon May 19 10:13:02 2014
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