Grapevine Peak, Pahrump Point
By: Bill Banks
A happy group of 15 eager desert peakers met in Rhyolite, Nevada on Sat morning for the first climb of the new desert-year. We caravaned about 2 miles north of Springdale and then drove west for 21 miles on Phinney Canyon Rd, a fair to poor rocky mine road. We went as far as the mine shaft at about 6800'. The road was followed on foot to a ridge at about 7600'. This ridge leads NW to the easy summit of Grapevine, up at 8738'. One can see the elevation gain is no problem. The weather was incredible! A pleasant 76 degrees paralleled a cloudless sky and hazeless horizon. All climbers reached "paydirt" atop Grapevine. Once again Sam Fink put some of we young "tigers" to shame. Everyone was down by 2:30 PM followed by hot mineral baths and a night of revelry for some, while others headed for our delightful Death Valley Junction cemetery sleeping spot. The next morning at 7 AM all takers caravaned south to Shoshone, where we went toward the northeast for 11 miles on Hiway 52 to a mine road, which incidentally doesn't appear on the topo sheet (not unusual!). This road follows a wash leading to the NW to about 2400'. The stronger, high clearance vehicles approached the 3300' contour.
Ten climbers-challenged Pahrump, with nine completing the 5740' summit. A frontal approach up the wash bearing to the left at intersecting washes until the main frontal ridge, was made. The easier route is to take the wash to the right, or ESE, then attain a ridge about a mile west of the summit ridge, then back northwest to the summit. We took the frontal ridge instead, thus slipping to the right. Only low 3rd class was encountered. This is the most direct route though not recommended for groups.
Ours was exceptional though, since we made 2500' by rock climbing in just two hours. By 1 PM we were out and on our way home.
The view from Pahrump, although good, is far better in the springtime when snow-capped Charleston, Telescope, and White Peaks stand out.
This friendly and capable group made for another DPS "spectacular".
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