Brown Peak, Potosi Mountain
By: Paul Bloland, Ed Lubin
Brown Peak: It was 9:30 PM Friday night, and still raining heavy when Paul and I met some of our group for late dinner at the Crowbar Cafe in Shoshone. The downpour failed to dampen anyone's spirit. Following dinner we caravaned the 7.2 miles to the Greenwater Valley Road, graded gravel, County maintained.
We car camped utilizing one of the many suitable locations along that road. A homemade sign with a headlight beam reflector and bearing "DPS", was placed to mark the location. The sky had cleared by the time camp was set up.
Saturday morning our group of fourteen: Paul Bloland, Jacques Bernier, Jerry Hanes, Doug Hatfield, Ed Lubin, Jerry Reicher Stan Rosenwald, Kaye Rowley, Tom Sakowych, Anne Marie Schober, Hoda Shalaby, John Thomassen, Eleanor Carter and Bill Lien (Bill and Eleanor joined us just for Brown Pk) drove in 4WD vehicles to the roadhead for Route A, DPS Guide No 3.
The problem with driving a conventional vehicle on the Deadmans Pass Road from the West, for route A, would be the large number of very narrow and deep gullys that cross it. The surface is hardpan. The starting point location does not have a defined parking area to identify it.
On the climb we followed Guide directions as far as the ridge NW of bump 3682': but there descended only slightly; contoured ENE across areas of white rock to the north base of the peak on the above bearing; contoured around to the back side; dropped a few hundred feet into the canyon, and then on up to the summit of Brown Pk.
The views were good, although nearby Eagle Pk appeared amazingly small. The weather was pleasant so we loafed for around an hour. It was with little show of enthusiasm that we started down. Brown was a good introduction to climbing for Kaye Rowley and Jerry Reicher, both of whom did quite well.
Our Group stopped at Tecopa Hot Springs, and then had dinner at the Saddle West Casino Restaurant in Pahrump, Nevada. The $7.95 prime rib dinner which includes the all you can eat salad bar was good and no complaints were heard about other dishes on the menu.
Because of uncertainty about what type of weather and snow conditions to expect on Potosi Mtn, we discussed altering our plans and climbing the lower and more accessible Pahrump Pt instead. However, because we were committed to meet two climbers who had signed up just for Potosi, this could not be done.
Potosi Mtn: To make it easier for the two climbers to find us, we had agreed to car camp and meet at Potosi Spring, a relatively easy location to find (there reportedly are cleaner sites uproad).
On a pleasant Sunday morning, after having become tired of waiting for two errant people, we headed east up a chute that has a pair of flat topped pinnacles in the saddle. Although enjoyable C1 2, our path was not as direct as the Route A Variation, up the lateral ridge immediately to the north (the top of which cannot be seen from the Spring).
At the saddle we contoured high toward the last bump on the main ridge before the junction of route B, instead of following Guide directions and taking the ridge the whole distance. Obstacles and side-hilling, probably made our route more exerting. Around the last bump the snow line was reached, and Paul had to begin step kicking up the grade as the expected snow gradually deepened.
From what had begun as an almost balmy day trek to the summit of Potosi, turned into unstable and fast changing weather.
We could see a high wall of menacing looking clouds hugging the North and East: slopes of Potosi accompanied by ominous claps of thunder. The temperature had dropped to 37 degrees and there was a light pelting of snow. The solid ground covering of snow was also of concern to those who had come unprepared. As a result, our Group turned back at 11:20 AM.
As we descended it was not too long before the weather improved somewhat, so at a point around five minutes away from the chute we had climbed from the Spring, an hour for lunch and siesta was taken.
However, almost immediately after continuing on again all-hell-broke-loose and we were chased down the mountainside by thunder, lightening and rain that suddenly appeared from out of nowhere.
It was an exciting experience one could live without. Upon return to our cars both exhilaration and relief was felt. Our congenial group decided to meet for dinner at Rosita's Mexican Restaurant in Barstow. All enjoyed their meals. The participants made leading Brown and Potosi a pleasurable experience.
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