Muddy Mountain, Mormon Peak
By: Dave Jurasevich
Richard Carey, Gail Hanna, Arthur Lin and I met in the Nevada desert on Thursday evening, May 13, 1994 to do a little non-list peakbagging. Our goals were to climb both the highpoint of the Muddy Mountains and Muddy Peak itself near the Valley Of Fire and also Mormon Peak north of Moapa. In spite of some rather warm weather (95°-100°F daytime temps in Las Vegas), we were able to climb all of the peaks. The weekend proved to be especially rewarding in that our group collectively spotted 18 bighorn sheep (14 in the Muddies, 4 in the Mormon Range) during the course of the climbs. Following is an updated writeup for Mormon Peak as well as DRIVE and CLIMB directions for the two peaks in the Muddy Range.
MORMON PEAK (BM "NORTH MORMON")
DRIVE: Leave Nevada I-15 at Exit 90, signed "Glendale, Moapa", State Route 168. Drive N 2.8 miles on Route 168 to an excellent dirt road turnoff just before the Union Pacific Railroad underpass. Turn right here, following the dirt road N for 11.7 miles to where it crosses over to the W side of the RR tracks (Indian petroglyphs can be found on the left canyon wall near this crossing). Continue N along the tracks 3.9 miles to a second RR crossing (There are two places along this stretch where the road dips down to low points that may have water in them. Driving success depends on water levels.). Drive along the E side of the tracks for 0.6 miles to the third RR crossing. Continue 1.7 miles N along the W side of the tracks to the fourth and final R.R crossing, passing back over the tracks to the E side. In 0.65 miles you will reach a silver colored electrical shed labeled "HOYA, CPC 402" on your right. Continue 0.4 miles N along the RR track road to a fork. Bear right, following the road downhill as it heads NE then E for 0.15 miles to a junction. Bear right here, driving 0.15 miles to a very faint dirt road on your left heading up a wash. Follow this faint road 1.1 miles ENIE up the wash to a faint fork. Bear left and drive 0.2 miles to a second faint fork. Bear left again and drive 1.9 miles to where the road leaves the wash for higher ground. Continuing now on a much more distinct road, drive 3.9 miles to its end at 4000 feet elevation at the base of the Mormon Mountains. Park. NOTE: 2WD high clearance or better is recommended from the RR track road to the road end at 4000 feet elevation. CLIMB: Head S over some low hills, then SE to the visible saddle less than 0.1 mile NNW of Point 4738. It seems easiest (less brushy) keeping out of the canyon bottom on the approach to this saddle. The strewn remains of an air force fighter jet that crashed just below the W side of the saddle makes for an interesting rest stop. Hike SE uphill through a cliff band to Point 4738, then up and around the base of cliffs on the S side of Point 5215 to a saddle on the ridgeline 0.1 miles E of Point 5215. The ridgeline E of here is too rough to follow easily, so sidehill along the S side of the ridge to the prominent "beehive" formation located 0.1 miles NW of Point 6190. Contour around the left (N) side of the "beehive" to a saddle 0.25 miles NNE of Point 6190. From this saddle head NE, losing 250 feet of elevation to a broad saddle in 0.4 miles. Climb up the ridge toward Point 6211 until steep slabs make hiking difficult. Bear right here, contouring along the base of cliffs beneath Point 6211 on its S then E side to a saddle just NE of the point. Keep generally left (N) of the rocky ridgeline from here for about 0.25 miles, then regain the ridge and follow it to the 7,414 foot wooded summit of Mormon Peak. RT STATS: 9 miles, 4200 feet net elevation gain, 8-9 hours. MAPS: 7.5 min Rox NE, Nev. 1969. NOTE: See attached map entitled Mormon Peak. A possible new route, scouted on this trip, is also shown on the map.
MUDDY MOUNTAIN HIGHPOINT (BM "MUDDY") AND MUDDY PEAK
DRIVE: Leave Nevada I-15 at Exit 75, signed "Valley of Fire, Lake Mead", State Route 169. Drive 3.1 miles SE on Route 169 to where the road starts curving left (less than 0.1 miles past highway milepost 3). Leave Route 169 here, continuing straight (SE) 0.1 miles to the end of pavement and start of a good dirt road. A BLM sign here welcomes you to the Bitter Springs Trail, a designated backcountry byway. Drive 4.0 miles SE to a second BLM sign indicating mileage and directions to Buffington Pockets, Bitter Springs, North Shore Road and Colorock Quarry. Continue straight (SE), following the main dirt road (ignoring any left or right minor forks) for 6.2 miles to a faint dirt road heading generally W towards a low ridge. Turn right here, driving 1.0 miles to the road closure at a large, metal BLM sign. Any reasonable 2WD standard clearance vehicle should be able to make it to here. Park. CLIMB: Hike W, following the closed road over the low ridge and dropping into Hidden Valley. Continue following the road in Hidden Valley, first W then generally S to where it ends about 0.5 miles N of Point 1455. Continue S then SE up the major canyon behind Point 1455 to a saddle at 1460+ meters, 0.1 miles SW of Point 1527. Turn right (SW), climbing up and contouring around the left (S) side of the ridge to a saddle at 1560+ meters elevation, 0.35 miles N of the peak. Walk S up the gentle ridgeline to the highpoint of the Muddy Mountains, BM "Muddy" at 5,431 feet above sea level. Retrace your steps back to the 1460+ meter saddle, where two options present themselves. Option 1 is to turn left and descend the canyon you came up, returning to the cars via the same closed roads used to access the peak. Option 2 is to turn right at the saddle, following the ridgeline and sometimes contouring below it on its S side past Point 1495 to the 1370+ meter saddle (UTM 065198) 0.5 miles NW of Muddy Peak. A climb of Muddy Peak (elev. 5,387 feet) can be made from this saddle by continuing E up steep slopes to just below the ridgeline, then contouring SE to a notch at the base of the steep summit mass. The summit can be obtained by working right from here and climbing a chute system on the W side of the peak that leads to the NW ridge, which is followed a short distance to the summit. An alternate route from the notch is to head directly up the NW ridge and loose chute just right of it to the summit. Either way requires some Class 3 rock climbing with mostly minimal exposure. Descend back to the 1370+ meter saddle, then N down the canyon to upper Hidden Valley, passing left (W) of an outcropping of spectacular reddish rock. Cross country N about 2 miles (following a faint road where you can) from here, picking up the dirt road heading right (E) over the low ridge back to the cars. RT STATS: 11 miles, 3600 feet net elevation gain, 8-9 hours. MAPS: 7.5 minute Muddy Peak, Nev. 1983. NOTE: See attached map entitled Muddy Mountain Highpoint/Muddy Peak.
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