Silver Peak, Nelson Range
By: Ron Jones
SILVER MOUNTAIN (7,495) EXPLORATORY & NELSON (7,701')
Eleven desert climbers met me on highway 190 near Lower Centennial Flat on Saturday morning. We turned south from the highway at point 4878, opposite from the road to Santa Rosa Flats, and drove about five miles on a good dirt road to Lower Centennial Springs (5600').' There is a nice little miners camp located here. We hiked up Centennial Canyon to about 6160 feet where we followed the west fork in the drainage. We soon intercepted the dirt road leading from Centennial Springs. It was not passable to a pickup at this point and in any event approached no closer to Silver Mountain. We hiked another 41/2 miles across easy high-desert flats and enroute had a close look at two wild horses. The ground in the area was frequently littered with obsidian chips. There is an easy 600 foot class one slope at the foot of the mountain. The country is interesting but the route from Thorndyke Canyon on the west is more interesting and shorter. I do not recommend the peak for inclusion to the DPS list although it is as good as some others we have.
That night we drove to 6200 feet on BLM road 1393 in Lee Flat west of the Saline Valley Road. Our campfire developed into, an outstanding social activity. I'm not sure it was because Steve Langley and Suzanne offered refreshments of tortilla chips, hot sauce and wine (a welcome change from Granola Bars) or whether it was the ecology cleanup of a truck tire which we popped onto the fire.
The next morning nine of us made the easy climb to Nelson. Visibility was outstanding with views over the Inyos to the Sierra, down Saline Valley and across to the Racetrack and Dry Mountain (which I will lead with Saline in the Spring). Tammy Moore made both climbs for her first desert outing. On our return to the cars we stopped at several of the mines and cabins on the slopes of Nelson.
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