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Ascender Title
October 2010
Volume 16, Issue 10


Joel with Lexington Arch

Jose, Eric, and Mike ready to head out

We climb the steep meadow

Up we go

The meadow ascent seemed endless

Lori and Mike looking north toward Wheeler and Jeff Davis

Lori enjoying a perfect day

September 10-11, 2010
Report and photos by Joel Brewster

Granite Peak was to be my fiftieth and final LVMC Classic Peak. Mike R. and I drove up Friday afternoon to do a short hike up to Lexington Arch, a six-story limestone arch in the far southern part of Great Basin National Park. It was a great warm-up hike for Granite Peak the next day and was quite scenic as the arch itself was very impressive.

From there, Mike and I made the short drive to our chosen campsite, a nice spot along the road just before a huge fallen tree blocked the road. Someone had left a stack of firewood which we put to good use to make a blazing campfire.

Lori, Jose, and Eric pulled in just before dark and hastily set up camp before turning in. We started out just before 6:00 the next morning continuing up the road another half-mile or so to an abandoned Lexington Mill. Soon past the mill, we set out through the trees and deadfall toward an open meadow. Once in the meadow it was steep climb up to a saddle almost 2500' above us.

We slogged our way up, but the pain was offset by the colorful aspen grove we climbed past. Once at the saddle, the grade eased and it was a pleasant walk up to the summit of Granite. Lori had kindly brought (and carried up) a bottle of champagne, which we drained in our hour and a half summit break!

Jose only had a small sip of champagne as he had plans to summit Lincoln as well, another four miles each way along an undulating ridge. He made great time, getting back to the car only an hour or so after us!

The descent seemed to go very quickly, maybe due to the champagne. We passed a friendly ranger just before getting back. Of course, Lori made a big deal of my completion of the LVMC 50 to the ranger embarassing me completely.

It was a great trip with wonderful companions on a beautiful late summer day. What a perfect way to finish off the list!

Life is good... 50th peak and champagne!

Mike posing with dramatic Lexington Arch


September 7-16, 2010
Report & Photos by Ed Forkos

Completing all the climbs on the LVMC Classic Peaks list can indeed be rewarding. Most present significant issues whether they be getting to the trailhead, route-finding, the climbing itself, etc.. Though I know people in the Club are working on it, few have actually crossed the finish line! From September 7-16, I accompanied Luba Leef as she joined those esteemed ranks on a marathon session involving her last eight peaks. Following are some of my observations and advice. Formal descriptions of the peaks and the routes can easily be found elsewhere, eg. SummitPost, guidebooks, previous LVMC writeups, etc..

Toiyabe Dome. Probably best done via the north ridge of Cove Canyon as in SummitPost. ( Some years ago, I did look at the Jett Canyon approach and found it very messy with brush.) This is a very pleasant, somewhat spectacular route. Overall it’s quite straightforward. The lower end involves very pleasant Class 2+ scrambling on good rock. The aqueduct road leading to the trailhead permits vehicles with only slightly higher clearance but is pretty good, and is marked FS 519, ½ mile north of Mile Marker 55. The campsites are reasonably nice, and somewhat protected by the trees. The only problem with the route is that the initial ridge that you take up is rather narrow and hard to hit on the way down without use of GPS; otherwise you wind up further north and these slopes are less forgiving, with lots of cliffouts.

Toiyabe Dome at head of Pole Canyon (on right)

Keeping clean in the backcountry

Mt. Jefferson. Though the southern route from Meadow Creek is vastly more interesting and scenic, I chose to come up from Pine Creek Campground to check it out. It is very protected from wind generally. The drive in is easy on good dirt roads and the campground has some pleasant sites. Note that, though remote, this camping area can be quite busy in the peak of summer. The lower trail involves numerous stream crossings on small rock or trees laid in the bed. This would be a serious nuisance in high water. The critical signage marking the junction where Pine Creek trail splits to south summit or to the north is really poor and the trail south is a bit obscure at first (we had fresh snow to make it harder!) Once you traverse from this sign ESE to the small plateau below Peak 11020, simply angle straight up SW to the summit (which you cannot see until nearly up) on best ground, Class 2- at most, ignoring the cairns which are placed to mark the trail southward. Views are great from the top.

Morey Peak. This peak shares a broad summit ridge with a number of dramatic pinnacles. We came in from Six-Mile Canyon which makes the hike fairly short. Take time to explore the high country. With high clearance and 4WD the drive up Six-Mile is mostly Class 1; however, there are about 20 creek crossings which are Class 2-3 truck moves, if low water flows, and brush will scratch your vehicle badly. I followed the SummitPost writeup. You could actually drive to its WT1 waypoint and even beyond. We chose a nice campsite just below this. Unfortunately, this route is hard to do without GPS as its very disorienting due to heavy vegetation/tree cover. I’d advise especially marking the lower end to make it easy on return. The bypass route from WT2 to WT3 is not advised as it adds significantly to the distance and is not entirely straightforward. The brush in this gully is not that bad. From WT3, keep to right passing first up a shallow rocky gully,
then keeping often below the wall to the right. Be sure you hit WT4, a small saddle. From here it is relatively straightforward to Morey Benchmark, traversing first southward around the corner, then west, up and along the ridge to its west end. From WT4 it’s a simple traverse along the west side of the north Morey summit, then up its north face on easiest rock, class 3. Be aware that descent from WT3 to 2 through the gully experiences some subtle drainage splits and it’s easy to wind up in the wrong gully below, cliffed out… extra GPS points help here.

North Morey summit from south

Currant Mountain/Duckwater Peak. This is really dramatic country. It’s quite easy to do these together. The route that I use is a bit non-standard today, but it’s exciting, my modification of the old approach across the north ridge. I drove to the high saddle just west of point 8851…..a “cool” but sometimes windy, barren campsite. From here proceed NW up the broad, wooded basin, past a grove of aspens on your right to the cirque wall. It’s steep; ascend on best ground. On lower half, you can keep a bit left on class 2-3 slabs and rock. The upper half is a slog on scree and talus, as you veer to SW to hit the broad saddle just S of point 11225. But you’ve done much of the vertical. Now traverse southward always keeping well below the summit ridge to the east, following vague usage trails, and gaining only slight further elevation. In about ¾ mile, you’ll see a striking white quartzite gully heading up to the east. Ascend, class 3, but bail out 50 or so feet from the top to the right, ascending a scree ramp for another 50 feet. You will now find yourself at the start of an approximately 300 foot traverse on an airy, sometimes delicate ledge across a sheer wall that drops thousands of feet down to the west. It’s technically only Class 2 - just really exposed! Look for a hidden groove for your feet. At the end of the traverse, you emerge at an unbelievable, smooth rock ramp that takes you 100 feet south to the summit, with views straight down on both sides of a few thousand feet. The summit block is an easy, short class 4 scramble behind the large boulder ahead.

For Duckwater, simply reverse the above route, then head north, skirting to the right of point 11225, gaining the ridgeline, and remaining pretty much on or just below the ridge, across the top of Peak 11154, following occasional usage trails. There are lots of options on this very pleasant traverse for climbing, on good class 2-3 rock. You will need to lose a few hundred feet passing through the saddle at 10600 feet, but this keeps the route straightforward. Descent is also not difficult though it is cross country, dropping to the east from the 10600 foot saddle, on easiest terrain, until you hit the dirt road below.

Currant Peak from East (far left)

Currant Peak, the quartzite gully and wall traverse

Currant Peak, on the wall traverse

Currant Peak, ramp to the summit

Troy Peak. There is no easy way up. I did the south ridge route in the past but it’s long and the ridge traverse is involved and slow, with one short rappel. I’m convinced that the SE ridge is the way to go, but I tried to follow a SummitPost writeup advising staying to the right of the ridge, along its wall and well below the ridgeline until the ridge ends. This simply is not easy to follow as there are a number of cliff lines above making it hard to identify this route. We did try to follow this route down, taking critical GPS points as we went. But it’s a steep course with a fair amount of at least class 3 climbing! If you want to try it, and it’s quite direct, be sure to pass through 38.31457/115.49761 about ½ way up, 38.31523/115.49846 about 300 feet above, and 38.31673/115.50013 which lies just above the end of the ridge. From the end of the ridge just go straight up to the top on best ground, class 2-3. We actually wound up ascending the very spectacular NE ridge, a route I walked away from some years ago as likely unclimbable. It’ s really a very pleasant class 4 ridge traverse with good rock. The crux is a 15-18 foot awkward-looking chimney, which could be protected from top or bottom if desired. Above this it’s a walk to the top. My advice would be to gain the SE ridge from its start and stay on it to its end above; as I understand it, its not more than class 3, and this would surely simplify the climb. By the way, the road into Scofield Canyon is fairly good, class 2, and requires only high clearance. Campsites are limited along this road and the trailhead is a bit unaesthetic but could be used. The hike from the trailhead north to the Sidehill Spring water tanks (the start of the SE ridge) is straightforward but brushy. The usage trail often climbs high to the right to avoid downfall (or simply disappears at times) but really, it’s not that bad and not worth the effort. Just keep right in the canyon as you head north.

Troy Peak, on the NE ridge

Granite Peak. This is also a very pleasant hike. We found the SummitPost writeup for the North Fork of Lexington Creek very helpful, but were able to simplify things a bit to where GPS not critical. The road in does require high clearance but not 4WD. There are now some large trees lounging across the road robbing you of another 0.1 mile. It turns out the the east ridge starts directly west of the old mill site, so, from here, head west across the ravine, up a steep, brushy slope only several hundred feet. From there, you’ re on open slope, with only rare stands of trees, thanks to old fires and downfall (which were not bad to cross) The ridge forms up and becomes pleasantly, class 2ishly rocky. It’s hard to know exactly when to start the traverse directly to the “ saddle” (waypoints may be of help here.) The rest of the hike is straightforward as is the descent as, with the latter, one can see the mill buildings from afar to aim for.

Lincoln, last-but-not-least of LVMC Classic 50, Peak. Actually a rather stunning crag and well worth the effort. In this area, there are many ways to approach Lincoln, especially if you wish to add on another peak (e.g. Washington, Granite.) But we chose to do the Pole Canyon route, as per Mike Kelsey's book on the Great Basin. The drive up to the Wheeler Mine is on very high grade dirt; your grandmother could ride her tricycle up there. However, finding the correct road is a bit confusing. It’s directly across from the Pickering Ranch mailbox, slightly north of mile marker 5. You can get to this point from north, or south, the latter being a good quality dirt road starting just north of the Lake Valley Summit on Hwy. 93, with a sign saying to “ Atlantic.” The road above the Wheeler Mine is problematic as the first mile is rather steep and loose and would require both 4WD and high clearance in a number of spots, plus some aggressive driving perhaps. We elected to walk this stretch
which makes for a rather long hike, about 16 miles roundtrip, but very pleasant. Once past here it looks like you could drive way up past the St. Lawrence Mine, to near Mt. Washington and to within a mile of Lincoln! Though the summit block of Lincoln looks tricky from a distance, it really goes well and is low level 2nd class at most.

Lincoln Peak, a fine crag, from the north ridge

We were a bit troubled to find that Joel Brewster had snuck up to the last 2 peaks just a couple of days before us so he could complete his 50 peaks list ahead of Luba. Boy, there sure is a lot of competition in this Club!!! (Best wishes, Joel.)


Paul Kuroda

Where were you born?
Fayetteville, Arkansas

How long have you lived in Las Vegas?
22 years

What is your occupation?
Data analyst

How long have you been an LVMC member?
Since 2003

What is your favorite hike/climb?
Mt. Shasta (summitted 3 times) and Mt. Whitney (9 summits). Attached are links to a Shasta trip report from June 2006, and some photos from a March 2010 Whitney climb via the Mountaineer's Route.

What is the most challenging hike/climb you have done?

Orizaba in January 2007. Elevation of the peak is around 18,500 feet, and the barometric pressure is about 49% of the BP at sea level. The final 2000 vertical feet to the peak are on a 40-degree snow slope on the Jamapa Glacier. As an acclimatization hike, we climbed Ixtaccihuati (elevation 17,300 feet) a few days before Orizaba. Attached are links to some photos:

How did you get into hiking/climbing?
In the 1980's, when I was living in Arkansas, I sometimes drove to Colorado to do some solo hikes in the Rockies.

What are your hobbies other than hiking/climbing?
Playing chess, collecting baseball cards


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Climbing in Red Rock
"Scary" Larry DeAngelo

Long-time climber and route pioneer Larry DeAngelo will present an historical perspective and photographic record of rock climbing in Red Rocks Conservation Area.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Worldwide Mountaineering & Training
Reinier Geyser

Reinier Geyser, Founder of Las Vegas Bootcamp, will speak on mountaineering in Africa and the Andes (Mts. Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua), including a discussion of functional fitness training.

NOTE: due to Mr. Geyser’s work schedule, this program will start at 7:30 p.m.

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