Mormon Peak In Nevada

  • Updated: October 26, 2013
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

   Mormon Peak (7,414')
When: October 26th, 2013
Where: Nevada
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Jeff Atijera
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Hike] [Hike+Drive] [Whole Drive]

Mormon Peak is one of those oddly prominent bumps out there that makes you question why the club would leave it off the Desert Peak Section list while a number of significantly less memorable peaks are included.

Granted it is near the far more memorable Moapa Peak which tends to grab ones attention a bit more from the free but still.

And then I climbed it.  Suddenly I'm not such a big fan of adding it to the list...

I'd actually planned to climb this peak last year only to have plans derailed by sometime or another so this weekend seemed like a good a time as any to go back.  Jeff Atijera was along for the ride though the main draw was more Sunday's climb near Whitney Pockets where we'd be grabbing the 5th -ish class Jumbo Peak and Mica the bonus bump.

So, as for why Mormon may not be the ideal candidate for putting on the list. said it large friendly letters on the front...

It's a long haul back there through some somewhat unfriendly areas.

Meadow Valley "Road" runs beside a rail line.  For the record there are actually two roads running in parallel though if you were say driving in at 2 am in the dark you might not notice and end up driving along the road immediately besides the tracks.  This is easy to follow due to the prevalence of No Trespassing signs along the side.

I'm convinced several of the trip reports I've read about the approach have had people trespassing since they talk about heading up the road, crossing the tracks, and then finding a gate which is hopefully unlocked.

Except in our case of course, it was locked.

(I included several different levels of maps including some, all, and none of the drive.  This is the most applicable.)

Notice we had a turnaround right at BM 1823.  That would be the gate that gets mentioned on SummitPost and elsewhere along with a nope "hopefully this is unlocked."  Well, lucky us.

We backtracked a short bit to where I recalled a sign talking about a turnoff.  Sure enough a road heads east, avoids any potentially locked gates, and even has a sign saying basically "Go this way or your tresspassing"

Also for the record use the road maybe 20 feet east of the tracks.  Easier driving and less No Tresspassing signs.

It appears the directions out there have you continue along the tracks past the gate turn to the east later on meeting up around point 2575 or 2541.  Again, our route seemed like a better idea.

There is the water hazard not far from where you turn east.  Here's what it looked like as we came back across the following evening.

(I don't have any awesomely dramatic pictures from when we did it the night before but imagine being able to see a lot less and me gunning the jeep through with a whoop of joy and you get the idea.)

From here it's just more long bumpy jeep roads getting surprisingly nasty here and there.

Finally we made it to the junction of two washes below Davies Spring and called it good enough.

The road was actually blocked off past here, another 30 ft up the road and there was even a fire pit build in the middle of the wash.

We never did see any of the ruins marked on the map though we did find an old covered mine shaft on the way out.

The peaks above are actually the start of the Mormon cliff bands on the left and another peak unofficially referred to as Shark's Tooththat looks really neat from the summit of Mormon.  We wanted to grab both.

A view from the approach.  Mormon is actually the middle peak while the bump to the right

The big obstacle with Mormon is the cliffs.  You see them from below and they don't really get any friendlier up close.  We followed a route up the canyon to the southwest and made our way up the southwest face but if you haven't been here before expect a few route finding difficulties as it didn't appear many people had been out that way.

Above the cliff bands life gets easier.

The summit itself isn't very remarkable particularly compared with Sharks Tooth looming off to your right.

Sure enough there was an old DPS ammo can waiting for us.

Our plan was to drop down and run over to Sharks Tooth.  We'd heard from Harlan Stockman that they'd looked at climbing down but it was too rough and we might want to bring a rope.  So we'd towed along my trusty 30m (as opposed to a full length) figuring we'd be able to make something work.

We went out to the lower summit further north and I briefly thought we might be able to make it down the nose of the ridge.  However after climbing out on some slightly sketchy stuff and looking at what else we'd have to do to get anywhere near the ground I decided that wasn't going to work.

We went back to a saddle that looked to give us the shortest way down and briefly discussed using some trees for an anchor but the possibilities are rather limited.

My best guess is a full length 60m anchored into some trees *might* have been enough to make it down.  Anyone thinking of trying it I'd really be careful of what you use as an anchor since a lot of those trees aren't incredibly sturdy.

We briefly discusses taking the ridge further to the north and dropping down on that side but again you have to head quite a ways before it looked like there would be anything workable and if we cliffed out down there we'd be on the wrong side from the vehicle.

Defeated we backtracked down the same route we came up figuring we could drop down below the cliffs and swing across the bowl meeting up with the route we'd intended to take down from Shark's Tooth with only a little additional mileage.

Aaaaand the terrain is a real pain.  We cut east multiple times only to cliff out decidedly and what wasn't a cliff was really loose crummy rock.

In the end we ended up back on our original route and after seeing we'd practically be back at the jeep before we could head for Sharks Tooth we decided to get a head start driving for Jumbo and Mica considering they were a long ways off.

And of course that didn't go overly smoothly either...

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