Bullfrog Hills, Corkscrew Peak
By: Andy Smatko
Tom Ross, Ellen Siegel & I spent two days in the Death Valley area climbing the high points of the Bullfrog Hills and Corkscrew Peak.
As one passes over Daylight Pass enroute to Beatty, Nevada, one is immediately struck by the view of a sharp-pointed peak, the high point of the Bullfrog hills. Snow the previous day and night turned the setting into a small Matterhorn. We drove up a road west of the peak as far as snow would permit and reached the base Of the summit spire. Snow was on the ledges of the NW face and we were turned back 30 feet below the summit by steep rock which clinging snow had changed to fourth class, along with considerable exposure. Undaunted, we dropped down to the base and circled around to the ESE side where a long, slanted ledge, enabled us to gain the summit, being class two.
This peak makes for a fine ascent, and the view of the Grapevine Range, all plastered with snow, was most impressive.
Next day, the climb of the south face of Corkscrew Pk was successfully done and except for a few easy class three pitches is essentially a class two event. This is a most imposing peak when viewed from the road leading to Beatty- with sheer cliffs beckoning on the south face.
Rare plants and flowers were seen on the slopes near the summit, which belong to the poppy family, and according to Mary DeDecker are native only to Death Valley. It was a treat just to view these rarities. One has to carefully choose a route up this peak as it would be very easy to reach insurmountable walls. The climb incidentally, begins from the paved highway.
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