Pilot Cone P300 RS
Peak 3,220ft P300
Pilot Mesa P500 RS
Yucca Camp Mountain P300 RS
Midway Peak P300 RS
Forlorn Hope Peak P750
Peeper BM P300 RS

Feb 17, 2022

With: Patrick O'Neill

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


Our second day in Clark County had Patrick and I in the Eldorado Range south of Boulder City. I originally had a plan to do five summits found in Purcell's Rambles &Scrambles, but Patrick was doing so well (he ran the last few miles on the previous day) that I sort of snuck in a few extra summits not found in the guidebook without ever mentioning they weren't part of the plan. It worked out even better than I expected, keeping us busy for more than eight hours, filling most of the day. We spent some time in the early morning driving south from Boulder City and into the range, dropping my Jeep off at the south end of our hike and then driving back to the north end. This would save us 3-4 miles of walking at the end of the day. Though it wasn't until after 8a that we got started, we didn't mind because it was quite cold before the sun came up, around freezing. It had warmed up a bit, but we still started with an extra layer on to keep out the chill. This would come off and back on throughout the day, as conditions dictated.

Pilot Cone was our first stop, about a mile and a half northeast of where we parked. A third of this was on the desert flats going around Pt. 2,410ft, then up an initial slope over a false summit before tackling the highpoint. The terrain is dark, rough volcanic rock that grows increasingly tedious as one nears the peak. The final cone is a steep pile of rubble that looks equally uninviting from all sides. It would take us a little over an hour to reach the rubbly summit where the broken shaft of a surveyor's wooden post sticks out from the rock, partially entwined in rusty wire. The summit offers a good view looking southeast to the next collection of peaks on our route. None of it looks to have any technical difficulties, but it seems to be more of the same dark volcanic rock. Luckily the travel along the route would improve after leaving Pilot Cone.

Peak 3,220ft was one of the bonus summits and our second stop, about a mile ESE of Pilot Cone. It would take us an hour to travel from the first summit, dropping about 400ft along the ridgeline. We bypassed an intermediate highpoint by traversing across the SW side before climbing Peak 3,220ft from the west. Like the first summit, the rockiest parts were found in the last few hundred feet. Our third summit was now lined up to the south, a mile away, along an easier ridgeline with a shorter drop, only about 300ft. Unofficially named Pilot Mesa was named by Purcell for the nearby Pilot Cone and has more than 600ft of prominence. It took another hour to reach it, the summit not clearly defined at the flattish top. We ducked off to the leeward side to get out of the wind blowing across it, pausing for a snack. There were no registers on any of the first three peaks.

Yucca Camp Peak would be our fourth summit, another mile to the south. Though lower than the last two summits, it would require more work since it was necessary to drop all the way down to the valley floor enroute. It's the best looking of the day's summits, at least from our vantage point. Between the two peaks, we crossed over Yucca Camp Rd, though we don't really know where Yucca Camp is (or was) located, for which Pucell named the summit. We went up the rugged North Ridge with some decent scrambling, really the only such travel we found all day. It took about an hour and a third between summits. We found the first register of the day here, left by Kevin Humes in 2018. Stav Basis was the last to visit, back in November.

Midway Peak is less than half a mile southeast of Yucca Camp Peak, but it would take 40min to reach it since we had to drop all the way back down again. Unofficially named, Midway stands isolated, much like Yucca Camp, and is slightly higher though less prominence. We descended steep slopes on Yucca Camp's SE side before climbing the easier gradient found on Midway's NW Ridge. Midway had another register from the same LVMC party as Yucca Camp, though it was mistakenly dated to 2017 - I've done the same on more than one occasion, usually during the month of January. Peak #6, Forlorn Hope Peak, was our second bonus peak. It is named after a spring of the same name found about half a mile west of the summit. The peak is located about a mile and half southeast of Midway and would require another drop nearly to the desert floor. We followed the low ridgeline between the two summits, eventually climbing onto the North Ridge of Forlorn Hope, a pleasant traverse taking us another hour from Midway. It was both the highest and most prominence summit of the day, with more than 750ft of prominence. It commands a view stretching across the Eldorado Range and Wilderness, east to the Colorado River and beyond into Arizona. We paused here for a longer break, once again ducking off the leeward side where it was pleasantly warm.

Our last summit was Peeper BM a mile to the west. The Jeep was parked in the wash between these last two summits, allowing us to visit the Jeep if needed before climbing Peeper BM. Patrick had dropped one of his water bottles somewhere after the first summit and had been concerned about running out ever since, though I told him I had plenty to share. The chilly conditions had allowed us to conserve our supplies much more than normally, leaving us with plenty at the end - so much so, that Patrick didn't run out and we had no need to restock from the Jeep. We descended moderate slopes off Forlorn Hope to the northwest, then worked our way west back towards the Jeep tucked into the wash. As we started up the east slopes of Peeper BM, the sun ducked behind the summit, leaving us in the shade where we paused to add a layer to ward off the increasing chill. It was just after 4p when we reached the summit, finding a benchmark from 1934 and the detritus of a lighted survey tower that once stood here. There is a nice afternoon view of Forlorn Hope Peak to the east. It would be nearly 4:30p before we got back down to the Jeep. We didn't realize it at the time, but our ending point was some 500ft higher than our starting point - this one would be a bit easier run in the opposite direction.

We drove back out to the Grand Cherokee, showered in the last rays of the setting sun, then headed back to Boulder City for the night. We had dinner at the BBQ place there, then out to the empty desert spaces on the south side of town. Iris and TomG would be joining us the next day for a return visit to the AZ Hot Spring...


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