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Hiking Stats as of 11/21/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Apr 11, 2015 - Desert Creek Peak / Black Mountain

 

Partners: Jerry Kohn / Bob McLaughlin

Distance: 7.19 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,454 feet

Trip Time: 5:46

Maps and Stats:
With me lacking a 4WD and not so far avoiding the ultra long drives (loosely defined as anything over 4 hours), there were a few OGUL peaks which figured to remain unvisited by me until it came down to the last few peaks on the list at which point I would have to give in. Desert Creek Peak is one such mountain, situated on the Nevada side of the border, a 4 hour drive due to its southern location, and with a rough dirt approach road. As luck would have it, Jerry Kohn also still needed this peak, one of only a handful remaining for him on the OGUL list, and when he called offering to take his 4WD up to the peak I happily accepted.

Jerry has been hiking a lot with Bob Bob McLaughlin, himself an accomplished peakbagger, and today Bob would also be attempting Desert Creek Peak. With Jerry coming from Truckee and me from Tracy, we met up in Gardnerville around 9 AM, and I left the house around 5:30 to give me a chance to look at more houses in the Markleeville area before doing the hike. We both arrived right at 9, and after introductions for me and Bob we drove south on US 395, cutting east on the 208 before taking Hwy 338 further south to the dirt road turnoff for Risue Road. This road had a few spots that I would not want to try in my 2WD so was happy to be in a more capable car. We took this west, past a point where Jerry pointed out the TH for hiking East Sister, itself another OGUL peak in the Sweetwater Range that was still missing. The road got rougher, and around 15 minutes later we came to our planned starting location, a larger dirt area off to the south side of the road. Only someone had set up camp there, and not trusting the look of this, had to go up the road another 1/8 mile or so to a large enough turnout where we could park without interfering with any vehicles that might happen to come by in the next 5 hours.

We were ready to go a bit before 10:30, and immediately started up a an old abandoned 4WD road that took us about half of the vertical distance up to the connecting ridge between Black Mountain, which was to the east, and Desert Creek Peak to the Northwest. Desert Creek Peak has a reputation as a tough bushwhack, and we were happy to stay away from the brush as long as possible. The good trail lasted about a half hour, and we had climbed about 800 vertical feet at that point. We abandoned the trail, starting a loop as we struck off more towards the northwest to aim for DCP. The terrain was pretty steep, although not nearly as brushy as we feared. We started having nice views towards the Sisters farther to the south, and could easily see Black Mountain once we attained the ridge, looking awful brushy but still on our list to hit after DCP.

Once on the ridge, we were able to largely find areas of clearing through the brush and it was little more than a minor inconvenience as we meandered along, taking whatever line looked to have the least resistance as we contined our march towards the peak. We could clearly see it from the time we hit the first ridge with Black Mountain, and so we were able to visually map out a route and more or less stuck to that plan, looking for areas on the mountain that appeared to have less brush. This all sounded good, and for the most part it worked, but the final ascent up to DCP did not have any real clear areas, and it was a steepish bushwhack to get up to the final summit ridge. I broke away from the group, being the youngest member and scouted the way up, not wanting to stop in the middle of the brush. Instead I reached the summit ridge, but well in advance of when was necessary. It had taken 2 hours of hiking to reach this point, and from here it looked to be another 20 minutes or so depending on the brush factor. I waited for Jerry and Bob, and together again we walked the ridgeline over the the summit of DCP where we arrived at around 12:30 There is a tower on top to slightly ruin the view, which was still spectacular as you looked to the west and the Sierra Nevada. More impressive were the neaby peaks of the Sisters, still on my to-do list for another day. Towards the east the desert valleys of Nevada spread out. We located the Department of Transportation marker (from CA?), ate lunch, took a few shots of each other (Bob and Jerry), and Me.

We spent about a half hour on top before heading down through the bad brush that had slowed us near the top of the peak on the ascent. We had a bit tougher time on the return, probably because we were trying to avoid unnecessary elevation loss for our visit to Black Mountain, but by remaining higher up on the peak we also had the worse brush. It was annoying but manageable, and in some places even easy. The final approach to Black is deceptively long, as it appears to be right in front of you but there are a series of false summits, mixed in with difficult brush and even rocky travel to add to the difficulty. It took about a half hour to hike from the saddle to the peak, and about 1 1/2 hours total from DCP to the summit of Black Mountain. The overall views here were nearly as good, although not quite so due to be being lower. The views towards the Sisters were better as we were now closer. The peaks of the high southern Sierra were also closer and their snow covered caps were a fine sight to enjoy. We only stayed on top a few minutes, before rejoining the saddle and the large clearing and then going cross country, down a drainage towards the connector to the original 4X4 road we had hiked up earlier that morning. This was actually fairly easy, and we found the trail with little trouble and followed it all the way down to the car where we arrived a bit after 4 PM. It had been a fun hike, my first with Bob, and a successful day on the mountain. We carpooled back up to Gardnerville where we said our goodbyes, me heading back to Tahoe to look at a couple more houses and Bob and Jerry heading back to Truckee.

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2 Comments

 

(3 years ago) Kerry said:

Pete - there was no register, unfortunately. You will be glad to know that I found your register up on Raymond Peak yesterday though. I have a picture of it that I will post before too long.


 

(3 years ago) Petesthousandpeaks said:

No register? Albeit last I climbed it was so many years ago, it would have deteriorated or been stolen. Now that you guys have done it, there's no one for my 4X. Not that that matters much to me anymore, as now, I'd probably not enjoy it as I once did.