Peak 3,153ft P300 RS
Mt. Newberry P900 RS
Iguana Peak P300 RS

Sat, Dec 7, 2019

With: Eric Smith
Scott Barnes
Jim Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2
Iguana Peak later climbed Sun, Dec 8, 2019


Peak 3,153ft - Mt. Newberry

We were a party of four camped off SR163 in the southern tip of Nevada, near its borders with CA and AZ. The Newberry Mtns Stretch for some 30mi along the western edge of the Colorado River. The highpoint is the DPS Spirit Mtn, a summit I'd already climbed twice. I'd brought the group here to chase down some peaks found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles, in particular Mt. Newberry, a near-P1K a few miles east of Spirit Mtn. We drove in a few cars so we could leave Scott's nearer to Spirit Mtn, to allow him the option of traversing to it after Mt. Newberry. We then returned to join the others where Christmas Tree Pass Rd makes a 90 degree turn. A spur road forks off at this point, driving about a quarter mile to the edge of the Newberry Wilderness from where we would start.

Peak 3,153ft is a short distance from our starting point, really nothing outstanding about it other than it lets you bag a first peak in less than half an hour. Ahead of the rest of us in a spurt of morning energy, I found Jim waiting at what he thought was the summit after 20min's time. I pointed to the northeast where a slightly higher point was still another 5min away. Off we went. Once atop Peak 3,153ft, we had almost 2mi to get to Mt. Newberry with a drop of some 900ft to the Pipe Spring Wash, followed by a 1,400-foot climb to the summit. We started by following the NE Ridge of Peak 3,153ft, but about halfway down diverged to drop into the wash more directly to the north. Scott was out ahead and would easily beat us to Newberry's summit. Knowing he had a long day planned in traversing to Spirit Mtn, I suggested he didn't have to wait for us at Newberry's summit. Our ascent route went up the steep southwest side, some class 3 but no real dangers or difficulties as we negotiated our way up a series of chutes and gullies. A false summit is reached about 1/3mi southwest of the highpoint, but the traverse between the two is pleasant enough with views off either side. The three of us were ten minutes from the summit when we passed Scott on his way down. We had a brief chat before he left us, the last we'd see of him until evening. We reached the top at 10a, finding a register left by Adam Walker less than a week earlier. The views here stretch over three states, the Colorado River visible to the northeast and southeast. We chose to descend down the easier northwest ridge of the false summit, a class 2 route that would lead us down to the Pipe Spring Wash. Once in the wash, it was a matter of simply following the wash upstream for a mile and a half back up to our starting point where we finished around noon.

Iguana Peak

After returning to the jeep, we drove about a mile west on Christmas Tree Pass Rd, parking in the same spot where we'd left Scott's car earlier in the morning. We were a mile almost due north of Iguana Peak, an unofficially named summit in Purcell's book. I had left the book at home so we were pretty much winging this one and would pay a price, namely the summit. Though it certainly looks tough from a distance, we didn't know exactly which of several possibilities was the highpoint and sort of assumed there'd be a scrambling route up it. We aimed for a saddle to the west of where I thought the highpoint was, not the best way to approach the peak, it turns out. Getting to the saddle was a bit of work, but after that it just got harder. The summit turned out to be almost a quarter mile southeast of the saddle and we would spend hours exploring around the west, south, and north sides of the peak. There were large granite blocks piled on top of each other, very intricate route-finding, tunnels, brush and all sorts of good stuff, but no way we could find to the summit which seemed massively vertical or overhanging from the views we had of it. When we decided to turn back, Eric and Jim were of the opinion that we should head down the northeast side which looked easier than the convoluted route we had taken to get there. This became another difficult adventure (not entirely unwelcome, mind you) that took us down though tight squeezes in tunnels, heavily sloped slabs and other such fun. Each time it seemed we were about to reach easier ground, a new obstacle would present itself. The amount of tough scrambling seemed endless for such a small peak. It was 3:40p before we finally did reach easier ground, more than three hours after we had started out. It would take another 30min to get ourselves back to the cars. Though disappointed in being turned back from the summit, we all thought it was a very fun adventure and well worth the time invested. We had contacted Scott via text after we'd decided to turn back, letting him know not to try reaching the peak late in the day. He was still up on Spirit Mtn and would be a few hours behind us in getting back, doing most of the descent in the dark. We spent a second night camped along Christmas Tree Pass Rd, this time with a campfire and a quieter spot away from the highway. We would take another crack at Iguana in the morning...


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