Mount Stirling In The Las Vegas Spring Mountains DPS - Turktacular 2016

  • Updated: November 23, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

November 23rd, 2016
Mount Stirling (8,219')
3.4 miles, 1850 ft gain

Thanksgiving time and once again the plan was to escape civilization and go someplace awesome for the annual Turktacular trip.

Last year at this time I wasn't able to hike at all due to having knee surgery and settled for an overnight at a the always awesome El Dorado Hot Spring near Phoenix.

This year I was doing quite a bit better.  I was back to hiking and climbing and after a busy summer and after a few weekends of quick two day desert trips I was ready to get out for something longer and had a hankering to get back out to Utah.

I was also closing on finishing the Desert Peak Section List.  Of the 99 peaks on the list I'd just finished #97.  #99 would be Nelson Range High Point December 3rd & 4th but first I had one last orphan.  Mount Stirling out near Las Vegas.

I'd been out that way earlier this summer when I did Charleston & Mummy and decided against trying the peak due to the high temperature and low altitude though in hindsight I think I could have managed it as the peak is really short and easy.
We drove out late the night before leaving town well after 8 pm and packed to the gills in preparation for our 5 day haul out to Utah.

Google Maps claimed it was faster to come in from the west rather than drive through Vegas so we ended up going through Shoshone and Pahrump.  We slept off one of the dirt leading to the Stirling trailhead and were moving again early the next morning.

We followed the DPS Guide directions and for most of the way the road was decent enough I could have gotten the Subaru back there.  I ended up driving past the DPS trailhead until the road became so narrow I was actively smashing through vegetation with the Jeep.  Backing off proved to be even worse.  So you should probably park a short ways back at the road junction.

So with a few more scratches on the jeep than I started with we got hiking.

We didn't follow any existing route just aimed for the obvious ridge nearby and gained the summit.  The terrain all went pretty easily and was crisscrossed with animal tracks.  We did occasionally have to squiggle to avoid some brush.,

We left the cars around 9:30 am, the summit ridge by 10:45, and the summit itself by 11:08.

Up top we found a register in a small plastic container with a familial looking card indicating Harlan Stockman had been here.

We also found clusters of ladybugs scattered around the summit though not in the numbers I'd seen elsewhere.

Getting down took us a little over an hour with maybe 10 minutes added by not paying attention and heading down the wrong ridge.  Once again it was just a matter of avoiding the worst of the brush.

We had a good 300+ miles ahead of us to get to Capitol Reef National Park where we'd spend the next 4 days.  We planned to get at least close enough we would be set up to do a small peak named Elsie Nipple the next day.  We didn't dawdle.

Well, except to stop in Vegas and get coffee.  Priorities and all of that.

Several hundred miles later in the middle of a rather interesting  Harlan Ellison audiobook it started snowing.  And it didn't stop.  And it got worse.  And now all the gas stations were closed so we were a bit short on gas.

We made it to the dirt road we planned to climb Elsies Nipple from and tried to find a protected place to set up camp.

The first few attempts in what nominal cover existed resulted in almost not having a tent anymore.  We decided Elsies Nipple could wait until the last day and continued on towards Capital Reef.  Soon after we found the Sunglow Campground up the hill from Bicknell which we had completely to ourselves for a mere $12 a night.  Unfortunately we were sleeping on snow which proved to be a bit chilly.

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