Moapa Peak, Potosi Mountain
By: Bill Bradley
We left L.A. in the rain Friday night and hit intermittent showers all the way to Vegas and beyond. Saturday morning we met at the Carp/Elgin exit (#100) off 1-15. The summit ridge of Moapa was shrouded in grey clouds. We caravaned the eight miles to the loop at the end of the road (the turnoff from the Carp/Elgin Rd. is only about 100 yds. from the freeway). The first half of the road is fine for conventional vehicles; the second half high clearance is recommended.
Going through a notch in the foothills, we headed up a ridge to the left which looked as if it connected with the main Northeast/Southwest ridge and found an excellent ducked route to the main ridge. From there we climbed to within 500 ft. of the summit block and contoured around to the Northeast side where a loose, steep diagonal gully (about 60-70 ft. of class 3) led us to the knife edge ridge leading to the summit. By this time most of the clouds had cleared from the ridge but we spotted showers moving towards us from the West so we decided to drop down for lunch. All seven participants made the top.
We were back at the cars by 3:30 and drove back towards Vegas in some heavy and hectic Mint 400 traffic (Duners, 4 wheelers, etc.). Some four miles south of Vegas, we took the Blue Diamond/Pahrump exit (160) and headed West. About 5 miles past Blue Diamond is the Red Rock Recreation Area (unimproved) which was our camp for the night. Some chose to eat at the Bonnie Springs Ranch between Blue Diamond and Red Rock. The wind was too strong for a campfire and so most chose to retire early.
Sunday morning we drove to Mountain Springs Summit (about 9 mi. from the junction of 159 and 160) and turned off at the Potosi Mountain. sign. About one mile up this road (which is graded dirt) is a locked gate on the left with a Potosi Mountain. Boy Scout Camp sign. From here you can (and should) follow the power lines through some rocky cliffs to a saddle where they end. At this point the weather really started to turn sour and the visibility was poor enough that we could not see the route to our objective. We turned back and encountered a snowstorm which deposited an inch on our cars by the time we got back. We'll try again next year. The rest of our group included Russ Martin, Carl Brodene, Bill and Gisela Kluwin and Gene Mauk.
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