It was the start of a month-long road trip to Colorado that would finish back in
California with the annual Sierra Challenge. I had chosen US6 as my route of
choice across Nevada, primarily because it would allow access for some
prominent NV peaks found on several peak lists I'm slowly working on. It is a
lonely road, with only two real towns along its entire length through Nevada -
Tonopah and Ely, both of which are small by most measures. I left San Jose
early enough to tag a couple of peaks across the California border at
Montgomery Pass, and a few more later in the afternoon in Tonopah. My route
took me through Yosemite which had just started allowing cars to pass through
the park without a reservation. While waiting in line at the SR120 entrance,
I noticed the artist that had made the Dept. of the Interior sign for the park
had taken liberties with the depicted scene - it was clearly the iconic view
of Yosemite Valley from the west, but Bridalveil Fall had two completely
fictious water courses drawn on either side of it. How this got by the approval
process is a bit of a mystery. I drove SR120 through the park, around the south
side of Mono Lake and through Benton before coming to Montgomery Pass in the
Peak 7,820ft - Peak 7,860ft
These two summits are located on the north side of US6, west of Montgomery Pass.
A forest road (high-clearance recommended) at the pass goes up and around the
back side of the peaks, making each a short hike. It took less than 20min to
climb Peak 7,820ft from the north with easy cross-country travel. I found many
obsidian chips around the summit area where a hazy view of Boundary &
Montgomery Peaks can be had looking south (fire season had started and smoke
would be a common feature for much of the next month). There are several spots
vying for the peak's highpoint honors. The point with the spot elevation "X"
marker on the topo map (though no elevation is reported) seems to be highest.
The slightly higher
Peak 7,860ft took about the same time, starting from a saddle NE of the summit.
Again, easy cross-country travel through dry scrub and juniper country
A steel stake marks the highpoint among a collection of volcanic rocks.
Gold Hill - Booker Mtn - Peak 6,809ft
These three summits are found in or around the Tonopah area. It was nearly
4:20p by the time I had reached Tonopah after the previous two summits. Gold
Hill is a small bump in town adjacent to US6. I noted that the Laura Newman
clan had all summited it a year earlier, and immediately set about matching
the feat. I drove up Court House Rd and parked on the west side of the peak. A
fenceline partially surrounding the hill is easily defeated by walking around
one end before heading uphill. A small telecom installation is found at the top
after a full minute's effort. The other two summits are drive-ups, depending
on your vehicle. Any high-clearance vehicle can make it to the top of Booker
Mtn, about three miles NE of town. A good dirt road goes around the north side
of Peak 6,809ft, then up a service road to reach the larger telecom installation
found at its summit. A benchmark is found just outside the surrounding fence.
Peak 6,809ft requires high-clearance and 4WD and is a considerably tougher drive
than Booker. I went up the NE Ridge and down the SW side, stopping only a
moment to survey the summit as I drove over it. A lesser vehicle makes this a
10-15min hike, so still pretty easy. After the exhausting effort, I drove
myself back to town for dinner at the Tonopah Tap Room. Satiated, I spent the
next 2.5hrs driving further east on US6 and into the White Pine Range where I
planned to hike the next day. It had been warm most of the day, but was
sufficiently cool (in the 60s) to sleep comfortably at my 8,627-foot campsite.