Edgar Peak, Mitchell Range, Providence Point, Clark Mountains, Pahrump Point, Stewart Point, Smith Mountain, Brown Mountain, Pyramid Peak, Panamint Butte
By: Mark Adrian
Mark Adrian, Russell Glavis, Suzanne Booker
DRIVE/ROUTE B&C : The 2.9 mile spur road that is 0.3 miles W of the cattle guard is now gated and LOCKED about 0.1 miles after it leaves the pavement. The gate has an AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY sign on it. We spoke with the P.M. Rec. Area Supervisor. He told us that due to numerous spelunking injuries in the Winding Stair Caves and wanton campfires, his superiors directed him to install this gate. He said it has been there for at least one (1) year. After negotiating with him, he gave us the gate's key the night before, under the conditions we didn't start any campfires. Additionally, he mentioned, in the future, there would be a $2.00 per day per vehicle use charge. But, due to the confusion(s), he didn't charge us. He also recommended writing ahead to coordinate access to the road and trailhead.
Department of Parks and Recreation
Attn : Supervising Ranger
We never did see the Guide's T-junction at 2.4 miles. The road is still HIGH clearance.
CLIMB ROUTE B (Edgar) / C (Mitchell): Russell Glavis, Suzanne Booker, and myself, did these peaks as a day hike. Route B went well to Edgar. The ridge traverse was more demanding than it looked from Edgar, yet the final push up Mitchell was relatively easy. Descending, we got off Route C and ended up picking our way down a complex system of ledges, finally dropping into a rocky chute and then into the wash which led to our trucks, arriving near dusk. When I returned the gate's key, I had another long talk with (Roger) the Superintendent. I got the impression that funding for the P.M. Rec. Area was being reduced. He also mentioned a 'wild idea' about constructing a trail to Edgar. He didn't know where the name Edgar originated, but mentioned that the peaks had gained about 200'+ feet from the 1930's maps. We camped that night in a flat wash about a mile into the E side drive in for Providence Pt, just S of the power line road. Sunday, Russell and Suzanne went on to do Old Woman, then Granite #1 on Monday, while I continued on solo.
11/8/92- Providence Point (proposed DPS peak)
DRIVE : I followed Dale Van Dalsem's guide from Sage 219. The drive in is fair-to-good dirt except for some deep sand the last 0.5 (or so) miles. Dale's mileage's and landmarks are accurate with the addition that there are two large cylindrical water tanks and a seemingly functioning windmill at road's end. Also, be aware of lethargic, large-horned cattle on this road.
CLIMB/E SIDE: The summit is not visible from the parking area. The (Dale's) route goes easy - it's a basic ridge run with lots of cholla (I fell hand first into one - OUCH!). The peak is enjoyable and there was a running stream at the base of the ridge N of point 1504. It's fairly flat on top, offering good views all around. In my opinion, Providence Point crowds the Granite/Edgar/Mitchell group, and it 'felt' like I was rehiking nearby Granite #1. You'll need the Van Winkle Spring and Fountain Peak 7.5 quads for this one. The BM is named Providence. I left at 8:30 P.M. and returned at 1:05 P.M. with an hour (or so) at the top. STATS (eat.) 4.5 miles, 2700', 5 hours. Canister and register are in good condition as there hasn't been a lot of traffic on this peak.
11/9/92 - Clark Mountain (3.3)
DRIVE : At the electrical substation, (1.6 of the 1.8 miles), there is a fork ("just past an electrical substation") with a left hand (SW) turn that I mistakenly took, thinking my mileage was marginally off - although, I was hesitant here since the Guide's mileage's are usually accurate. Anyway, after 30 minutes of 'exploring', I returned to the substation and continued the additional 0.2 miles to what I would call a 'T Intersection' rather than 'fork' - this was the correct place to be. Additionally, to further clarify, the Guide's 'Go Left' directive might be reinforced with a NW qualifier, since the earlier and erroneous turn goes in a SW direction. The developed campground here is pleasant and a cache of firewood warmed me as I ate dinner there. CLIMB: The route goes well and the Cl3 notch (not ducked, yet) is easy, although, I lowered my daypack separately on the Cl3 descent. After lunch in Baker, I headed for Tecopa Hot Springs, which, to date, is still operating and free to the public. I didn't think to ask any of the locals there about the rumored privatization of the Springs.
11/10/92- Pahrump Point (2.20)
DRIVE : The road is 4WD and washed out at about 1.8-1.9 miles in.
CLIMB : Except for some deceptive ducks, the route goes fine - although, it was very windy, which made the final summit approach somewhat of a precarious balancing act.
After the peak, I drove into Pahrumph for fuel, supplies and also stopped at the Chamber of Commerce to inquire about camping. Just E of the CA/NV State Line, about 0.5 miles, there is/are NW and SE running dirt roads on BLM land. I took the SE option and drove about a mile on excellent dirt out onto the flats of Stewart Valley to a windy camp. On the way out of town, there are $3.00 showers at the Seven Palms RV Park. Turn N on NV SR 372 Just E of milepost 5 (five) - a.k.a. Linda St Go 0.9 miles N, and turn right (E) into the RV park.
11/11/92 - Stewart Point (2.19)
DRIVE : The drive in is trivial.
CLIMB : My only mistake en route, (other than being perplexed by various ducks in the narrow canyon), was following the wrong ridge, too NNW, out of the canyon to a false summit, just NE of the true summit. Fortunately, it was only 0.3 miles, and 200' of gain (or so) out of the way.
11/12/92 - Smith Mountain (2.16)
DRIVE/N&S APPROACH : This was a long, arduous drive in - don't do this one without a reliable spare tire! From the S (CA SR 178) the washboard-like Greenwater Valley road just about rattled my truck (and me) into pieces. Corrections to Guide's mileage's - I verified these coming and going:
1) From the DV sign to the road fork at the head of Gold Valley is 1.8 (one-point-eight), not 1.3, miles.
2) From this fork it is then 3.0, not 3.5 miles, to the sharp SE turn.
Camping is VERY poor at the trailhead. I'd recommend camping sites at either the flat spot on the N side of the Gold Valley spur/turnoff road 0.2 miles beyond (W) of the Greenwater Valley Road turnoff, or, at the saddle, 1.2 miles beyond (W) of the DV sign - a great view here. I also noticed the ENTERING DV sign has a NO SHOOTING 'picture', but no NO CAMPFIRES 'picture". What does this mean??
CLIMB : The climb went well (in excellent weather) and I was impressed with the long views for such an easy hike. I hiked over to check out Smith Mtn Az Mk (UTM 292856). It's only a triangulation station, and a bivy sight. However, it is also the beginning of a quick and easy ridge run back down to the alluvial flats. This ridge is mostly soft sand and parallels the canyon route on it's SE side. It took an hour to drive back to Greenwater Road where I backtracked S 0.5 miles to the S end of Deadmans Pass road, a T intersection with Greenwater Road.
11/13/92- Brown Peak (2.18)
DRIVE : From the S end of Deadmans Pass road, the drive to Brown's trailhead is peppered with numerous microwash-outs akin to speed bumps, yet is OK for 2WDs.
CLIMB : I ascended Route A and descended Route A's variation, which, along with the Guide, I concur, seemingly goes faster. Continuing N on Deadmans Pass road, per the Guide, deep sand near 127 WILL trap 2WDs, as it demands 4WD to plow through this obstacle.
Friday evening, I rendezvoused again with Russell and Suzanne, who had driven up, in their typical marathon style, from San Diego.
11/14/92 - Pyramid Peak (2.15):
DRIVE : The drive in is trivial. Recommended camping : 0.15 miles E of CA SR 190's milepost 129.00 is an excellent dirt road on 190's S side. (Note that exact-mile mileage posts (e.g. 129.00) are on the S side of 190, and half-mile mileage posts (e.g. 129.50) are on its N.) There are numerous fair and flat camping spots 0.35 miles S on this unnamed road. CLIMB : We ascended Route A, a somewhat grueling slog, and descended Route B, which is more interesting due to impressively deep canyons dropping from its ridge line. Back at the trucks near 3:30, with only a few hours of daylight left, we bolted across Death Valley, and, arriving at dusk, camped at the end of the 5.8 mile fair dirt road into Panamint Butte.
11/15/92 - Panamint Butte (2.5):
DRIVE/ROUTE A: After the 5.8 mile fair dirt road (a.k.a. road's bend), the 0.75 mile 4WD road is mostly washed out and not worth driving the 0.3 miles we did, unless you're piloting a HUMVEE. I bent my truck's transfer case skid plate doing an infamous multi-point U-turn. It's faster, and less stressful, to just stroll the 0.75 miles from the good camping area at the road's end, up the wash (or what used to be the road) to the base of the hill that houses the two mine adits.
CLIMB/ROUTE A: Phew!, a long slog - I can't believe we saw Barbara Rebers signin FIVE times. From the recommended camping area at road's bend, two mine adits are visible, as black "dots", on the SW side of the hill that terminates Route A's ridgeline. At the NE end of the 0.75 mile 4WD road remnant(s), there is an excellent use trail that leads up to these two (Big Four Mine) mine adits. As you view the two adits from below, the use trail diagonals down from left to right, or NW to SE From these two adits, the ridge line may be gained to ROUTE A. Since the adits neighboring terrain is loose and marbly, we concluded it's a lot of effort to take the "adits use-trail". Other Route A obstacles included the "one foot forward, two beck", hike from hell, and the near knife-edged portion of the ridge just E of 3850. Otherwise, a fairly boring "peak" with fair Sierra views. The mammoth register on top (courtesy Steve Smith??) was particularly impressive and included 7.5 minute topo maps and numerous DV brochures for those with time to spend to peruse them. Since the good weather was turning for the worse (winds and high clouds), we made good time on the descent. Again, as on ascent, the hike from hell, being very loose, forced us to take turns negotiating its descent due to rock fall hazards. Back at the trucks near 3:30, Russell and Suzanne headed back to San Diego, while I camped about 30 minutes out of Trona, just off the road to Red Mountain.
I awoke Monday morning to a threatening cloudy sky slivered with piercing streaks of livid orange.
Reluctantly, I packed the truck and headed home to San Diego.
P.S. Fortitude is an amazing human characteristic. While climbing DPS peaks, and others as well, we've all endured the physical reluctance our bodies remind us of with seemingly every step. Nevertheless, we persist. This being the case, I have to mention that Suzanne displayed exceptional fortitude last weekend. While descending Granite #1, she took a slight, yet significant, fall, and incurred a moderate contusion to her left arm, rendering it nearly useless as far as C12 hiking was concerned. BUT!, the very next weekend, still impaired, she successfully climbed Pyramid Peak and Panamint Butte, with virtually one hand tied behind her back.
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