Peak 4,422ft P300
Turquoise Mountain 2x P300 DS / DPG / RS
Peak 4,678ft
Peak 4,563ft P300
Gem BM P300

Thu, Feb 10, 2022
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

This was the start of an extended road trip to the Las Vegas area. My wife would be joining me for the first two weekends before she headed to Hawaii for a week for volleyball reffing. I would be hanging out in the LV area while she flew back and forth. I was up early today, before 4a, so that I could get some hiking in during the afternoon on my drive from San Jose. I got off Interstate 15 at the Halloran Springs exit to visit these summits north of the highway. I had been to this area eight years earlier to tackle a collection of summits found in Zdon's guidebook. Today's visit would sweep up the other summits in the area not found in the book. All of them were easy class 2, all but one less than half a mile to the top from where I parked. It was windy today, but with temps in the low 70s, the wind was most welcome.

Peak 4,422ft

This summit is located just north of Turquoise Mtn. I drove the deteriorating paved road that leads to the telecom installation atop Turquoise Mtn, turning off on an unmarked spur road that I had seen from the satellite view. I was surprised to find a truck parked back here near the end of the spur. A guy and his dog were puttering about when I pulled up, pausing because he was blocking the road. He seemed as surprised to see me back here as well. He quickly tossed his stuff in his truck and moved it off the road. I drove past with a wave and parked a short distance past him where the road ended. After I'd changed into some hiking gear, I was ready to head off. I noticed him with a small bucket only a short distance away picking through rocks on the ground. We chatted only briefly, but he seemed much relieved when he discovered I was here to climb some random summit instead of competing with him for the rocks. It took only 15min to find my way to the summit. Richard Carey had left a register here in 2016. John Vitz had visited a month later. When I got back, the guy was just getting in his truck and driving off. He didn't seem to spend much time looking for rocks, and I was suspecting that was just a cover for some undiscovered purpose. Desert folks are a funny bunch.

Turquoise Mtn

I'd been to this one previously, but it was only a 15min diversion to drive up to the end of the road and make the short hike to the summit. I found a benchmark but no register. It was nice that the very top was left unmolested by the construction crew. As the highest summit, it had the best views.

Peak 4,678ft

This summit is found a few miles to the northeast. It lies just southwest of Squaw Mountain (which may have already been renamed, for PC purposes). An easy hike got me to the top. With only 299ft of prominence, it didn't draw the attention of Carey or Vitz, so no register was found.

Peak 4,563ft

Another short, easy hike to a summit a few miles further east. While the other summits had much limestone, this one had dark volcanic rock at the summit. Vitz had left a register here in 2016. His jar contained the badly damaged Smatko register from 1973. While I was on the summit, I got a text from my pal Eric in NM. It said simply, "Distinguished Company" with a picture of a register that Vitz had placed in 2021. Eric's was the only other signature. So I sent him my version of the same thing - separated by three states, but our summits had John Vitz to glue them together.

Gem BM

This one could have been a shorter hike, but I ended up making it 1.5mi each way. I had spied a rough road driving closer to it when I'd looked at the satellite view, but I had trouble finding in on the way in. I ended up parking and starting my hike, only to "discover" it less than five minutes later. I decided not to go back for the Jeep since I really could use the extra exercise. I followed the wash and old road until I was about 2/3mi from the summit, then made an ascending traverse to the top. It, too, was crowned by dark volcanic rock with a short ring of cliff. There was an even more badly damaged Smatko register here along with another Carey one that Vitz had also visited. Seems they had done a similar circuit as mine, only six years earlier. There are decent views of the Kingston Range to the north and the Clark Range to the east. It was after 4p by the time I got back and it seemed a good time to call it a day. I would shower where I'd parked before heading back to the Interstate and continuing on my way to Nevada. A good day...

Continued...


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