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2016 Blog Entries 

Great Basin Update
May 2016 - Spring storms continue to rake across Nevada giving us much needed precipitation. Unfortunately this also means that our county highpointing activities are still limited to middle and lower elevations. The higher peaks above 9-10K still have much snow, including fresh coatings every time a new system rolls through. Many peaks across Nevada of less than 9000' elevation are hikeable though, so there is still pleasant terrain to saunter. By mid-June though, most of the white will be gone and it should be back to "business as usual" for peakbaggers.

Adalac Benchmark, Lucy Grey Range, Nevada
April 2016 - Another excellent vantage point in far Southern Nevada is Adalac Benchmark (5715'). The highest point in the Lucy Grey Range, this little beastie overlooks Primm, Nevada and the massive solar energy project just over the border in California. The driving route starts at Jean, Nevada and is rather complicated so take a look at it here. From the desiganted starting point, the hike checks in at 2.5 miles round trip and 1500' gain. So it is not an all-day affair, and other peaks can be picked off in the same day. Those options may include Bird Spring Range HP, Devil and/or Little Devil, Stateline Wilderness High Point, and Keany Benchmark. The nice thing about these is the proximity to Las Vegas, so if you're there on vacation, you have the opportunity to add some nice easy-peasies into your adventure.

Surprise Canyon Wilderness High Point
March 2016 - Continuing the theme of ascending obscure points that are snow-free, another worthy objective is the Surprise Canyon Wilderness High Point (7770'). Located in the Panamint Range west of Sentinel Peak, most folks walk past this one to pursue higher mountains, or perhaps visit the ghost town of Panamint City. Although some hardy souls have braved the brush-walls of Happy Canyon, this peak is likely best ascended from Surprise Canyon. After arriving at Ballarat, drive the fair dirt roads to the old site of Chris Wicht Camp (2640'). Here the hike proceeds for perhaps 3.5 miles east up the canyon, including scrambling up some flowing cascades. At 3.5 miles, a steep canyon can be ascended directly south to a high saddle just east of 7770'. There is another slightly higher bump (7800') just north of Surprise Canyon WHP which should be visited as well, since these Wilderness HPs have been known to "move around". The view to the higher Panamint Range summits is very enjoyable. To the west many peaks in the Argus Range can be spotted, with the Sierra Nevada beyond. With an elevation gain of over 5000' to this WHP, those who aspire to surmount it should be in very good shape, and take a GPS and Personal Locator Beacon. As an added bonus, an overnight stay can be had at Panamint City, which is not far from the spot where you left Surprise Canyon. Sentinel Peak and 2 O'Clock Peak are also worthy objectives that can be added into this adventure.

Argus Range Wilderness High Point
February 2016 - As the snow continues to linger in Northern Nevada, hikers who are eager for dry hiking terrain will head south. Sometimes a rather obscure objective will beckon, and the Argus Range Wilderness High Point (7720') is one such beast. Located west of the Panamint Valley in Inyo County CA, this non-prominent HP receives very few visitors. To get there from the Panamint Valley Road, locate the intersection with the Nadeau Road and drive north on the Nadeau for about 12 miles to an active mining operation. This is bypassed to the right (east and north) side using a dirt road which soon enters Revenue Canyon. About 3 miles beyond the mine, most vehicles will look for a parking spot just before some old mining ruins. There are many different possible routes to the WHP from the canyon, but all will involve some steep ridge ascents. Burros frequent this area and may be seen or heard. The "summit" is located amongst some limestone rocks on an eastern slope, and GPS will be helpful in finding it. The views are stunning and include many peaks in Death Valley National Park including Panamint Butte, Telescope Peak, and Sentinel Peak. To the south is Maturango Peak and to the west high peaks like Olancha and Whitney are easily identified. For a rugged adventure in a seldom-trammeled segment of the Argus Range, this WHP won't disappoint.

Desert Peak, Churchill County, Nevada
January 2016 - In the dead of winter, mountains in the 5K and under category are prime objectives. These peaks will often be snow-free. even after stormy weather. Or they may only receive a mild dusting of snow, and can still be ascended by careful hikers. One such peak that is a great target is Desert Peak (5365') which is located northeast of Fernley. After exiting Interstate 80 at Nightingale, the southern frontage road is driven northeast for about 2.5 miles, where one can park conveniently on the dirt shoulder. The peak is visible to the southeast from here. Broad washes will be followed for about 3 miles and then any combination of ridges on the north side can be walked to the top. Here one finds great views that include Job Peak in the Stillwater Range to the southeast. Also Star Peak in Pershing County (northeast), Tohakum Peak in the Lake Range (northwest), and the Sierra Nevada to the distant west. Although Desert Peak can be driven-up via a complex sequence of roads starting from Nightingale, the nice long walk from the frontage road is a far superior option that provides much-needed exercise.