Nopah Range, Pahrump Point
By: Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin
On a clear and beautiful morning eleven human and three K-9 desert enthusiasts met in Shoshone outside the Crow Bar Saloon. After some coffee we headed for Chicago Valley to explore a new route for Nopah. The new route was suggested/described by Fred Camphausen and conveyed to us by Wynne Benti, who unfortunately was unable to join us for the exploratory. From Shoshone we traveled east on 178 to the signed Chicago Valley road. Turning south, we followed the well graded Chicago Valley road for about three miles past a small settlement to a dirt track initially heading southeast. Here we parked the 2WD vehicles and consolidated their occupants into five 4WD vehicles. From the parking spot we followed the eroded dirt track southeast through the damp salt pan for about one mile to where it Ts with a north/south dirt track. Turning north on this track we drove 0.2 miles to a ducked jeep track heading due east toward the mountain. We followed the faint jeep track marked with frequent ducks for about 5 miles until we reached the foot of the Nopah escarpment. (see attached map) We could have forced another 0.5 miles up the wash but everyone was tired of rattling around inside their vehicles and ready for some hiking.
From the road end we followed the wash east for another 0.5 miles and then headed northeast up the first major side wash for another 0.25 miles. At this point we abandoned the wash and headed up a prominent ridge heading north for the peak. In less than 3 miles everyone reached Nopah's summit. With fine views of Charleston and distant views of Telescope we ate lunch and celebrated Igor's and Suzanne's first 'meeting' on this summit twelve years ago. The return route was altered by dropping into a canyon just east of the ridge that we used on the way up. The canyon with numerous 3rd class waterfalls proved to be a challenge to the two novice K-9s.(Sacha and Tama). Halfway down the K-9 contingent exited the canyon to continue along the ridge while the remaining humans (or mountain goats) followed the fine canyon to its mouth. After reaching the cars parked in the wash we attempted to retrace the jeep track back which we lost completely at one point and had to send out scouts on foot to find the missing link of ducks. Regaining the faint jeep trail we reached the camp spot by dusk.
At the camp site in Chicago Valley, Linda McDermott and Casey were waiting to join for next day's hike of Pahrump. On arrival to camp, Rich Gnagy discovered that one of his tires on his new Jeep Grand Cherokee ruptured from the ordeal on the faint jeep trail. That evening the group hors d'oeuvres turned into a feast when Terry Austin, a gourmet cook, proffered some of his delicious creations. Later that night around the roaring campfire Terry brought out his guitar and serenaded us with a few songs from the down under (Terry is originally from New Zealand).
Sunday morning four participants decided to enjoy a more leisurely day by signing out. The remaining participants caravaned an additional few miles to the dirt road turnoff for Pahrump. Here we discovered that the BLM has closed off the road to vehicular travel adding an additional 2 miles each way to the hike. While we were debating the wisdom of this road closure, Scott Jamison accompanied by Sadie and Julie Rush accompanied by Ruskie joined us for the climb. Comet, tired from the previous day's hike, was left to 'guard' the vehicles. Trodding up the closed road and following the standard route as described in the DPS Road and Peak Guide we reached the summit in time for lunch. This was Patty Kline's 5th ascent of the Pahrump summit (this must be due to its proximity to the Tecopa Hot Springs). Sadie, Cascy and Ruskie reached the summit without any difficulty. The descent back to the cars was executed without any significant events. After a few cold ones most people headed to Tecopa Hot Springs for a soak and then to the Mad Greek in Baker for dinner before heading home.
Many thanks to everyone that joined us for this pleasant desert outing. A total of six K-9s (the most on any of our prior outings) participated on one peak or the other. The participants over the two days included the following people: Rich Gnagy, Ron Grau, Robbie Robinson, Betty Stirratt, Terry Austin, Brian Smith, Patty Kline, Jake Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Linda McDermott, Scott Jamison and Julie Rush.
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