Mt. Turtle Island P300 RS
East Tim Peak P300
Sloan Peak P500 RS
Pleasant Peak P300 RS

Mon, Feb 18, 2019

With: Iris Ma

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2 3 4

Continued...

We had had spent part of the previous day hiking some peaks northwest of Las Vegas that had gotten a bit of snow, less than an inch, but enough to keep things interesting. Overnight there was more precipitation with the snow level dropping to the valley floor, leaving a winter wonderland scene when we met up around 7a, south of town. Neither of us had ever seen so much snow in the desert before and this was certainly going to add a new dimension to our desert peakbagging. The peaks were clustered around the small town of Sloan found along Interstate 15. Our starting point for the first two peaks was at a dirt road access point in the Enterprise neighborhood southwest of Las Vegas. We left Iris' car here and headed out on the dirt/rock road, somewhat rough but something any high-clearance vehicle can navigate (the first mile to the Great Basin Institute site can be driven by any car).

Mt. Turtle Island

A bit less than two miles along we turned left onto a rougher road that we could drive for another mile and a quarter to a saddle on the south side of Turtle Island. We parked next to an old concrete cistern, now without a roof, and started up class 2 slopes to the summit, only 1/3mi away. It took us only 15min to reach the top, a bit slower than usual because of all the snow encountered. Though only a few inches, we would have to walk carefully to avoid unseen cacti, watch for loose rocks and slowly expect our feet to be completely soaked before we were done. There was snow in all directions from our summit perch, a very un-desert like look. We found a Kevin Humes register from 2016 with a few entries. A rather easy peak, even when snow-covered.

East Tim Peak

Our second peak was unnamed Peak 3,909ft, easily the longest hike of the day with almost 5mi roundtrip from our starting point to the northwest. We drove up only a short distance on the spur road going up the hill, finding it far too rough for my liking rather quickly. A better driver could probably have driven another 500ft higher to its end, but I doubt it would have saved any time over walking. The hike along the undulating ridgeline was very wet on our way to the summit and we would both be swimming in our boots before reaching it. All of the going is class 2, though there are a few small class 3 opportunities if one must. East Tim Peak was the name given to the highpoint on the PB website. We found a more recent Kevin Humes register at the summit, this one less than a year old. I had joked that I had picked the furthest possible starting point and this wasn't far from the truth. Interstate 15 is less than 3mi to the east and there are dirt roads coming in from that direction that get one within half a mile of the summit. On our way back, we went over Tim BM which we had traversed around, finding another register there though the summit has little prominence. At least we figured out where the name East Tim came from. The hike back was much nicer as we found a good deal of the snow had melted, leaving us a route across the sunnier side of the ridge that was mostly snow-free now. It was almost noon before we got back to the jeep, and time for Iris to be heading home (hoping, unsuccessfully, to beat the returning holiday traffic to SoCal).

Sloan Peak/Pleasant Peak

After dropping Iris back at her car, I headed out to the Interstate for some unfinished business from two days earlier. We had climbed South/North Twin and Dog Skull on the east side of the freeway near Sloan, but had run out of time for Sloan Peak and Pleasant Peak. With the jeep, both of these were rather short affairs. I drove from the Interstate on a rough dirt road through the many shooting areas found around here. Like two days earlier, gunfire in the background would be a regular part of both hikes. I parked a mile and a half from the freeway where the road goes over a shallow saddle on the NE side of Sloan Peak. The class 2 ridge from the saddle leading to the summit makes for the obvious route. Just as I was crowning the summit ridgeline, I spotted a pair of bighorn ewe horns poking out from the rocks above me, not 30ft away. Knowing what they were immediately, I started moving very slowly while trying to get my camera out. Unfortunately the ewe spotted me too soon and was immediately gone. I went over to the highpoint at the southwest end of the ridge, found no register, and began returning the same way, wondering what had happened to the bighorn. It had apparently circled around me and was on the NE Ridge as I was descending right towards it for second time. This time my camera misbehaved when I went to use the zoom and was left without a photo once more. Rats. Back at the jeep, I continued driving over the east side of the saddle into the wash system below. This road was rougher, but I simply drove slow to save the abuse on the jeep, and had a fine time making my way to the east side of Pleasant Peak. I managed to drive partway up the slope on a spur road, parking within a quarter mile of the summit. The climb went steeply up somewhat loose limestone rock with some class 3, taking just over 10min. I found the 4th Kevin Hume register of the day, this one from 2015. There were a few others signatures from the same year, but no one bothered to sign it since. I finished up soon after 2:30p, calling the day early. This would allow me to get back to town, freshen up, and take my wife out to dinner - she'd been reffing volleyball all weekend and deserved a treat from her slacker husband...

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