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2014 Blog Entries 

Year End Wrap
12/21/2014 - For Nevada's County High Points, 2014 was a very good year. There were no less than 6 new list finishers, and perhaps more. Several other people are only 1 or 2 peaks away and will likely finish in 2015. But what comes next after finishing the county summits of Nevada? Well for starters, hiking another 9 distinct peaks will earn you a completion of Nevada's County Prominence Peaks. And after that, another 8 distinct peaks will give you a finish of the Nevada Second Lap List. For avid NV hikers, these two bonus objectives will keep you busy in the months and years ahead. Here's to a safe and peak-filled 2015!

Great Basin Update
11/21/2014 - The weather has been rather unpredictable of late and some fresh snowfall has descended upon the Great Basin. It's a good time to shift objectives now, and pursue lower elevations peaks. Peaks at 9000' and below are mostly snow-free, at least in the southern half of Nevada. Areas which are very pleasant for cross-country hiking include the counties and ranges south of Highway 50. Some of the higher places, like the Toiyabe Range, have seen decent amounts of snow. Farther south, places like the Quinn Canyon Range are dry. Clark County, Death Valley, and the Mohave Desert are good to go. As always, check the weather forecast before heading out and bring plenty of warm clothing - it's pretty nippy out there.

Weather Update
10/29/2014 - The weather has been great the past two weeks, nippy and breezy, but very hikeable. But this weekend the first real snowstorm may blanket the Great Basin in white. There is still a few days to hike the higher peaks before the storm arrives. The fall colors are still going in many places, so that may be another benefit of some last minute peak-snagging. Go get em!

Great Basin Update and Green Mountain
10/16/2014 - The weather has remained generally stable for the past month, except for one week of thunderstorms. The temps have really come down but the Great Basin remains dry. So there is still time remaining to get out and hike peaks across Nevada.

One really nice peak in the Ruby Mountains is Green Mountain. From Harrison Pass, a 4WD road goes north for 2.8 miles to the small dirt parking lot for the Ruby Crest Trail. After proceeding west for a mile on the trail/road, one hikes north steeply up an old dirt road to get on the crest. Following the undulating ridge north from here, while avoiding obstacles by staying left, gets one to the summit. Here amazing views are found that include Pearl, Tipton & South Tipton, King Pk, Ruby Dome, East Humboldt Range, Spruce, Cherry Creek BM, Diamond Peak, and many other distant ranges and peaks. It is an especially enjoyable hike right now due to the abundant Fall colors.

Great Basin Update
9/25/2014 - The Fall colors are in full swing across he Great Basin, and Nevada's County high points can still be hiked across the state. However, the thunderstorm weather has returned, so sunny and warm hiking is intermittent at best. Be sure to check the forecast before heading out. With October right around the corner and colder temps ahead, the next few weeks may be your last shot to get the higher peaks done before winter sets in.

Great Basin Update and Mount Grant
9/5/2014 - The weather has remained pleasant and stable for several weeks now. The night time lows are starting to dip and it's beginning to feel like Fall. That means colorful aspens displays across the Great Basin are only a couple of weeks away, and may even be starting at the higher elevations. September is an excellent month to get out and bag the highest of Nevada's County High Points and Prominence Peaks before winter arrives. Also be aware that they are still taking sign-ups for the annual Mount Grant hike & run access day. For more information and to sign up, please visit http://www.911challenge.org/.

Weather Update
8/16/2014 - The monsoon pattern that has lingered over Nevada and the Great Basin has finally cleared out. Now is the time to get out and bag some peaks before it returns. And hopefully it won't, at last not for a while.

Great Basin Update
7/30/2014 - So far the summer of 2014 has been unusual. A recurring monsoonal weather pattern has occurred, and has brought repeated rain, thunder, and lightning. This has hampered hiking efforts. For example, a party of seven was turned back by lightning just 300 feet shy of Boundary Peak a few days ago. That same party then got their car stuck at a muddy spot in the road on the way down, thus requiring an extraction from a local search & rescue team. What this means is the following. Check the weather forecast before heading out for any of Nevada's County High Points. Hiking in the morning hours and being off the peak by noon is preferable. Contact local agencies for the latest on the road conditions. Have a backup plan and lower peaks as alternates in case the weather goes bad. Be sure to carry a cell phone at all times. And very importantly, be sure to give someone your itinerary and instructions on who to call, if you don't check in by a certain time. Safe travels! 
 

Mount Grant, Mineral County, Nevada
7/18/2014 - Registration is now open for the Mount Grant 9/11 Memorial Challenge. It has been scheduled for Saturday September 13, 2014. For more information and to sign up, please visit http://www.911challenge.org/.

Desatoya Peak, Churchill County, Nevada
7/8/2014 - On July 2 a wildfire began on Desatoya Peak, high point of Churchill County, probably due to a lightning strike. Several fire crews from around the state responded including retardant-dropping choppers. The estimated size of the fire was 100-200 acres and it was not far to the southwest of the summit. The winds were blowing the smoke right over the top of the peak. The fire was contained but it is likely the fire crews will be doing mop-up for several weeks. It is recommended that Desatoya Peak be avoided until August at the earliest.

Santa Rosa Peak, Humboldt County, Nevada
6/16/2014 - Now that the Nevada County High Points season is in full swing, some folks may be heading to Humboldt County to pick off Granite Peak. Another beauty that is located in the Santa Rosa Range is its namesake mountain, Santa Rosa Peak (9701'). Located about 7 miles southwest of Granite, this peak is best approached from the west, from Orovada. This differs from Granite, which is approached from the east side of the range via the town of Paradise Valley. Just south of Orovada is a small rest stop where the McConnell Canyon road can be found. Driving anywhere from 2 to 3 miles up this road complex will situate a hiker to pursue the peak. The colors are vibrant right now as most of the plant life is still green and many flowers are blooming. You'll encounter cattle along the way, and perhaps some screeching eagles. The west ridge does have an abundance of brush and rock outcrops, but it will get you there. The final bit to the top is barred by cliffs, but class 3 and easier boulder hopping routes (to the right) exist to bypass this obstacle. Atop Santa Rosa Peak, you'll be treated to vast views that include Granite Mtn and Paradise Peak and Sawtooth Mtn in the Santa Rosas, Orevada View BM and the Trout Creek Mtns, Montana Mtns, Double H Mtns, Bilk Creek
Mtns, Duffer and the Pine Forest Range, Jackson Mtns, Blue Mtn, Bloody Run Hills, Sonoma Peak, Adam Peak, and much more. Sharp eyes will be able to spot Pueblo Mtn and Steens Mtn in southern Oregon. You can also see the plains of southwestern Idaho. This dayhike can be combined with Granite Peak for a multi-day trip that serves up the best peaks the Santa Rosa Range has to offer.

Hot Springs Peak, Lassen County, California
5/19/2014 - Towering over Honey Lake in eastern Lassen County, Hot Springs Peak (7654') is the high point of the interestingly named Skedaddle Mountains. As an added bonus, it's the County Prominence Peak for Lassen County. (This in itself is interesting - you would think Lassen Peak gets the check for Lassen County. But that peak is actually in Shasta County.)

Leaving US Highway 395 east of the burg of Standish, one then takes the Wendel Road a few miles east. A rocky dirt road then leads to a saddle northwest of the mountain. In spring and early summer, the slopes are grassy and dotted with excellent concentrations of wildflowers. Deer and antelope roam the area. You first ascend Hot Springs BM, then rollercoaster over an intermediate peak before surmounting Hot Springs Peak. Here you are treated to a superior view which includes peaks in the Great Basin, Sierra Nevada, and California Cascades.  Starting north and looking clockwise - you can observe Shinn Mountain, Observation Peak, Eagle Peak and the Warners, Hat Mountain, Hays Canyon Range, Smoke Creek Desert, Granite Mountain near Gerlach, Pah Rum, Kumiva, Limbo, Tohakum, Pyramid Lake, Tule, Dogskin, Stateline Peak, the Sierra Army Depot & Herlong, the Mount Rose group, Babbitt, Adams, Dixie, Ingalls, Honey Lake, Susanville, Lassen Peak, Fredonyer, Mount Shasta, Snowstorm Mountain, and much more. It is about as good a view as you can get from a Great Basin peak, so this one gets classified as a "keeper". 

Wildcat Peak, Nye County, Nevada
5/9/2014 - Spring continues across the Great Basin. The flowers are blooming and the animals are on the move. While the weather is still variable with occasional rain and snow showers, northern Nevada remains in a drought. As such, about half of Nevada's County High Points are now hikeable, though you may still encounter some lingering snow patches.

A fun little peak in the Toquima Range is Wildcat Peak (10508'). Approaching via the east side from the Monitor Valley, you'll drive west up Mill Canyon to road's end. Here a somewhat brushy route presents itself that is about 3.5 miles and 2400' gain round trip. The brush and trees can be successfully navigated to attain the higher ridgeline, though some skepticism may be present from below. Once atop the summit, the views really open up and include the following. You can see the entire expanse of the Toiyabe Range from Mt Callaghan south to Toiyabe Dome. Prominent peaks along the Toiyabe Crest include North Toiyabe Peak, Bunker Hill, Granite Peak, Toiyabe Range Peak, French Peak, and Arc Dome. Looking south along the Toquima Crest presents a fine view of the north side of the Mt Jefferson group. To the southeast is Table Mountain, high point of the Monitor Range. To the northeast are Antelope Peak and Summit Mountain at the north end of the Monitor Range. Monitor Valley is to the east and Big Smoky Valley is to the west. Wildcat Peak is a Nevada 2K prominence peak and is on the Western State Climber's List, so you get added value for your ascent.

Blue Eagle Mountain, Nye County, Nevada
4/7/2014 - The Spring meltoff is under way in earnest, and the wildflowers are starting to bloom across the Great Basin. While many peaks above 10K still have oodles of snow, many of the lower mountains are hikeable.

One such peak is Blue Eagle Mountain (9561') in Nye County. Situated at the north end of the Grant Range, it is usually approached from the east via a complex of 4WD roads. However, even in April the roads are often covered in snow. So an alternate route must be used - the southwest ridge to the south ridge of Blue Eagle, starting from the Railroad Valley. A spur dirt road leads some 1.5 miles east from the Railroad Valley Road to the vicinity of Beaty Canyon, a high valley area frequented by antelope. Above the canyon, its a ridgeline walk amongst the pinyons, junipers, and sage. The views are splendid and include Timber Mtn & Troy Peak, the Quinn Canyon Range, Reveille Peak, Kawich Peak, the Railroad Valley, Portuguese Mtn & the Pancake Range, Table Mtn, Morey Peak, Summit Mtn, Diamond Peak, Mt Hamilton, Currant Mtn, Ward Mtn & the Egan Range, Mt Grafton, and much more. Blue Eagle is another great peak that's worthy of an early season visit - even if you're doing it the hard way, "from the bottom".

Cain Mountain, Pershing County, Nevada
3/18/2014 - We've had a few storms with some snow and rain, but they didn't last very long and barely put a dent into the northern Nevada drought. So most peaks 8000' and below remain hikeable.

One such peak is Cain Mountain, the high point of the Augusta Mountains. This peak is uniquely situated in that portions of it reside in Churchill, Lander, and Pershing counties. Cain is approached in the same manner as Moses (see below) with a drive in to Home Station Gap, and a starting point not much farther beyond. From atop the peak, the view includes Moses, Lewis, the distant Rubies, Saddle BM, Tenabo, Roberts Creek Mtn, Callagan, Bunker Hill & the Toiyabe Range, the Shoshone Mountains, New Pass Peak, Desatoya, Healy & Augusta, Job, the East Range, Star, Tobin, and many more far-off peaks. It is a great springtime conditioning peak, and a keeper.

Sheep Creek Range HP, Lander County, Nevada
2/25/2014 - It took a while but the rain and snow have finally arrived in Northern Nevada, and many places are now looking very white! That means most hikers will be seeking out lower peaks, in the 4-6K elevation range.

One nice possibility is the Sheep Creek Range High Point, also known as Cone Benchmark. This is the plateau-shaped peak north of the town of Battle Mountain in Lander County. Starting in Battle Mountain, it is only about 9 miles driving to the north, and the approach utilizes both paved and decent dirt roads. You start the hike at an old mining area southwest of the top and head up from there. Alternatively, you can also drive a steep dirt road to some microwave towers south of the summit. Either way, you'll be rewarded with some excellent views upon reaching the apex, including Lewis, Saddle BM, Moses, North Peak, Tobin, Sonoma, Santa Rosas, Adam, the Tuscarora Mtns, the Independence Mtns, Marys Mtn, the East Humboldt Range, the Ruby Mountains, and much more. Whichever route you choose, this short jaunt is worth a detour when travelling along Interstate 80.

Mount Moses, Lander County, Nevada
1/25/2014 - Three weeks later and nothing new has changed with the Nevada weather situation. Chilly temps remain as does the record breaking drought - most places throughout Nevada have received only 10% of the normal snowfall/rainfall.

Situated in central Lander County, Mount Moses (8649') is the high point of the Fish Creek Mountains and is ranked 44th on the list of Nevada's Fifty Finest for prominence. It is approached from the east via NV SR 305, from either Battle Mountain or Austin. The most frequently used approach takes a 4WD dirt road up the Fish Creek Basin to a point near some radio towers, some 2 miles north of Moses, and is then followed by an easy ridgeline saunter. However, in winter a longer though drier hike can be made starting at Home Station Gap. Though this is definitely a sturdier jaunt (14 miles, 4600' gain), there is much less chance of snow issues. You'll likely encounter antelope, cattle, wild horses, and bighorn sheep during this ascent. From atop Mount Moses, the views are expansive and include Star, the East Range, Tobin, Adam, North, Lewis, the distant Ruby Mountains, Saddle BM, Tenabo, the distant Roberts Creek Mountains, the Toiyabe Range from Callaghan to Arc Dome, the Shoshone Mountains, the New Pass Range, Desatoya, Augusta, and Job. This is a high quality peak, and it is available for an ascent until the winter weather returns.

Seven Troughs BM, Pershing County, Nevada
1/5/2014 - With the lack of snow in northern Nevada, especially northwest Nevada, many peaks are now available for hiking at a time when they shouldn't be. It seems like the worst of the winter weather came through in November and December, and that we may be ahead of schedule for spring. Here is a good page to look at to see the current drought conditions. Most of the ranges in the dark red area have already melted off on their south, west, and east-facing slopes and ridges. Only the northern aspects are currently holding the snow. It is still very chilly out there though, with morning temps in the 20s and possibly much lower on the high windswept ridges. But many peaks in the 5K-8K range are feasible, provided a person is prepared for extreme cold hiking conditions.

One available peak is Seven Troughs BM (7795'), high point of the Seven Troughs Range in Pershing County. Not far northwest of Lovelock, this one entails about 14 miles of pavement from Interstate 80, followed by 15 miles of good dirt to arrive at road's end in Seven Troughs Canyon. A nice jaunt of about 8 miles and 2600' gain round trip ensues. Atop this isolated range, there are amazing views in all directions which include Tohakum, Limbo, Kumiva, Granite (Gerlach), Donnelly, Black Rock Desert, Duffer & Pine Forest Range, King Lear & Jackson Mtns HP, Majuba, Poker Brown Mtns, Star, Tobin, Augusta, Job, Trinity Range, West Humboldt Range, Blue Wing Mtns, Sahwave Mtns, and more. If you're looking for a great way to start your new year of hiking in northern Nevada, this may be it!