Peak 8,208ft P300
Peak 8,205ft P300
Peak 6,460ft P500
Indian Hills

Fri, Jul 22, 2022
Indian Hills
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2


This wasn't the 22mi bike ride I had planned on. I was supposed to hit up four summits in Nevada's Washoe County along the Tahoe Rim Trail heading north from Spooner Lake. When I got to Spooner Lake around 6a, they had a sign out, "Closed 7-21-2022 for paving." I drove in anyway, no attendant on duty and found the parking lot torn up and awaiting new pavement. I would need another plan. It wasn't until hours later that it dawned on me that today was 7-22, not 7-21. Still, it didn't look like they finished the job as planned, so it was probably best I didn't park there.

Peak 8,208ft - Peak 8,206ft

My alternate plan was to visit a pair of other peaks in Washoe County that also lie within the Sierra Nevada. These are more easily accessed from the east via the Hobart Reservoir Trail. I drove from Spooner Summit down through Carson City, along Interstate 580 and to the Trailhead where I arrived shortly before 6:30a. The Hobart Trail is really a well-maintained dirt road that climbs up to Hobart Rservoir and other locations, open only to government and utility employees - darn - it would have made thngs a lot easier if I could have driven to the saddle between the two peaks. I was hoping the bike was going to make the 10mi outing easier, but was quickly disappointed. Like most of the Nevada peaks around here, their slopes are primarily granite sands mixed with rock, pine needles and some dirt. Riding in sand simply sucks and I ended up pushing the bike up anything that was more than a slight grade - basically most of it. The trail is scenic, at least, with open views to Washoe Lake and the Carson Valley to the east. After an hour I had gone only two and a quarter miles and it didn't look to get easier, so I ditched the bike to the side of the road. This was a bit premature. If I'd stuck it out another 20min, I'd have reached The Tanks where the next mile of road is almost completely flat along the site of an old flume. Oh well. The flat part of road ends at a junction in Sawmill Canyon where my route goes uphill again, this time to the southwest. An old sawmill from the 1870s was located here, but little remains save for the iron hull of a boiler. I had almost another mile on road until I was positioned between the two peaks, just short of the saddle.

It was 8:10a and time for the cross-country. The distance to Peak 8,208ft was only 0.36mi, but there was moderate elevation gain and pretty much all sand. It took me 25min to make my way to the rocky summit, the final bit at class 2. It was only the first peak, but it was growing warmer and I was already tired. I found a register left a decade earlier, but there was no pencil (and I had none with me). Someone had torn out the name of the person(s) who'd left the register. Haters. There were familiar names - Sue and Vic Henney, Bob Sumner, Kristine Swigart, none surprising since this is their territory. No views of Lake Tahoe from the summit as they are blocked by higher summits between Peak 8,208ft and the lake. Good views to the east, though.

Peak 8,205ft turned out to be the better of the two. From Peak 8,208ft, it looks like a serrated ridge with steep sides (though the east side was not currently visible). It would prove challenging. Getting to the base of the west side was completely sand, but at least it was downhill getting to the saddle. I also found a road going up from the saddle, but I didn't follow it for long since it bypasses the summit well to the west. At the base of the West Face, I scrambled up towards a high class 2 saddle north of the pointy bits on the ridge. Nearing the top, I turned right to scramble more directly towards the summit. I back down from my first effort, finding a sketchy move I didn't like. The granite here is of poor quality and each step rubs crystals off the surface. The second effort just to the right was easier, thanks to cracks and ledges with better footing. This brought me to the very ridge, just 10ft north of the two highest blocks. There is a scraggily tree just below this point on the east side. The east side descent looked easier, but not easy. I now danced across the east side of the ridgetop to position myself below a short, easy lieback up to the southern of the two rocks. There are good holds to grab as I shoved my boots in the low-angle crack and pulled myself up. Success. The northern rock is only about 8ft away, a short, airy traverse between the two. None of the rock I scrambled was more than class 3, the last part beefy-3 due to poor rock quality. Another TR called it class 4 which I'd say is fair for Colorado 4. :-) I didn't find it as dangerous as described, but certainly one could get hurt on a fall. I sat on the airy perch to take a few pics, then returned to the tree that offered the easiest descent off the east side.

I ducked under one of the tree branches and descended easier class 3 rock for the short distance to the saddle on that side. The going becomes quite easy at this point, just open sand slopes back down to the road. I spent 35min walking the road back down the trail to where I'd stashed the bike. Another cyclist was pushing his bike at the same point. To much surprise, the guy was a kid no more than 10-11yrs old with a fishing rod across his back. This kid was in shape! I guessed he was heading to Hobart Reservoir and I complimented him on his progress so far, but his face had a sort of blank look like he was either too tired to react or simply didn't hear me. I suspect the latter.

The bike ride down went well enough, but not really enjoyable, save for there was no need to pedal. I had to keep the brakes applied for most of it, and the tires were squirrelly going through the sandier parts. I was down by 10:30a where it was already in the mid-80's. But it seemed much too early to call it a day and I didn't want to drive home, so I decided to do some heat training.

Peak 6,460ft - Indian Hills

These summit are located on the southwest side of Carson City in Douglas County, south of US50. Marcus Sierra has a GPX track on PB starting from the Jacks Valley TH off Jacks Valley Rd. The area is popular with mountain bikes - I was the only person I saw on foot. Both summits have roads/trails going to the summit, or nearly so. It was 90F when I started for the harder Peak 6,460ft. It's a 1,400-foot climb over 1.8mi, all of it sandy, naturally. The route follows an old road to a fenceline, then a trail from there. None of the route showed bike tracks - they had better options available. It took me an hour to make my way to the rocky summit. A breeze blowing at the higher elevations helped some, but it was slow going to keep the sweat to a minimum. I sat at the summit with my back to the sun to get a rest and let my heart rate subside. Nice views looking around the area, but so very dry.

Getting back down to the TH was more taxing than I had expected. It was warmer still, but I didn't check the temperature. I was of half a mind to call it quits after Peak 6,460ft, but Indian Hills was an easier effort and "Right There!"(TM by Scott Barnes). I sat in the shade of the Jeep with a cold soda while I considered further. Against better judgement, I decided to use the bike again. Out came the parts, wheels on, pant leg tucked in sock. I guessed 20oz of Gatorade would suffice - it would., and headed off across Jacks Rd to the other side. The bike got me a little less than half way to the summit because it was flat or downhill to that point. I ditched the bike again when the uphill started and spent 20min hiking the last 3/4mi to . This is just a rounded bump with no obvious highpoint. I walked past what I thought was the highpoint to touch the point LoJ had in its database. Yay. Too hot to think much of it. I reversed my route back down, picking up my bike, swearing when it pitched to a sudden stop in the sand, and dumped me off. I ended up pushing the bike the rest of the way back. A rider on an adjacent trail zoomed by, looking at me like I was pathetic for pushing it on the flats. He wasn't wrong.

I was back at the Jeep after 2p, much like the previous day, only I was far more tired. So much for heat training. My face felt crusted in salt and I would start feeling cramps while changing out of my boots. I beat a retreat to the Starbucks at US50 and US395 where it would take a few hours before I was feeling sufficiently rehydrated. Passion tea lemonade (with free refills) did the trick...

Scott Barnes comments on 07/24/22:
I concur, re Indian Hills HP. When a peak is right there like that, you can't not do it.
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For more information see these SummitPost pages: Peak 8,208ft - Peak 6,460ft

This page last updated: Sun Jul 24 17:20:38 2022
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