By: Dave Jurasevich
On Friday night the 17th our group, which included En Lee Lin, Les Hill, Paul Freiman, Cathy Hanchett, Marta Flores and her friend Dolores met at the general store in Dyer, Nevada and caravaned in three 4WD vehicles to a campsite in Middle Canyon near the start of the hike. We started out 7AM on Saturday morning under relatively clear skies but the weather continued to deteriorate during the course of the day. Snow flurries started by the time we reached the summit plateau of Dubois; a full blown blizzard by the time we were leaving the summit. Compass navigation was used on the descent because of near white-out conditions. To expedite our descent of Dubois, we chose a route different than the ascent route. Snow changing to sleet which eventually changed to rain made for a wet, miserable return to the cars. As we reached the 9000 foot level on Middle Creek at 5:30 PM, the storm started to break up high on the mountains, offering a fabulous view of Boundary and Montgomery covered in a fresh blanket of snow with dark swirling clouds still enveloping the high plateau of Dubois. The drive out was uneventful except for Paul Freiman's dead battery and front tire blowout before reaching the pavement of State Highway 264! We all stopped for dinner at "The Boonies" restaurant/bar in Dyer (horribly slow service), an eating establishment complete with live Cowboy-Classical piano entertainment (even more horrible than the service). Bring earplugs and lots of patience if you decide to eat there. No chance of this place getting mentioned by Elmer Dills as one of the top ten eateries in the Nevada desert. Without any further belly-aching, following is an approach and route description of our day on Dubois.
APPROACH: From Big Pine, CA. drive E 37 miles on State Route 168 over Westgard Pass to the town site of Oasis at a signed junction. Turn N on State Route 266 and drive 15.1 miles to Dyer, NV (Upon crossing the state line the road number changes to State Route 264). From Dyer, continue N on Nevada State Route 264 for about 11.7 miles (0.7 miles N of highway milepost 19) to the currently unsigned Middle Creek Canyon dirt road (There used to be a sign here in the past). Turn left (W) here and drive 7.1 miles on a generally fair dirt road to a signed fork. Taking the left branch at this fork, drive 3.8 miles up Middle Canyon on a fair to poor dirt road to the starting point for the climb, a pullout near the 8400 foot level on the N side of the creek. Although the road continues another 0.25 miles, it is 4WD and not worth taking.
NOTE: When driving State Highways 264 and 266, beware of cattle on the road. At night they can be very difficult to see and impossible to avoid if you're speeding down the road and not paying attention.
ASCENT ROUTE: Cross the creek and ascend the obvious, relatively brush-free slope to the main NE ridge somewhere between points 10561 and 11321. Follow the NE ridge up over point 12044 and then either up over closed contour point 13040 or just below it on its left (S) side to the saddle at 12960+ feet. Climb up easy slopes to the summit plateau and head SSE for about 1 mile either over or around point 13449 to the summit.
DESCENT ROUTE: From the summit hike back to the saddle at 12960+ feet. Turn left (N), following the drainage down to the flats at about 11000 feet elevation. From the flats, diagonal your way down at about a 49 deg magnetic bearing through pine forests and brush to Middle Creek at about the 9000 foot level. Don't drop to the creek, but pick your way through the brush to a large, vertical rock cliff adjacent to the creek on its N side at about elevation 8500 feet. Cross the creek here and ascend the steep opposite bank for 30 feet to a faint trail. Follow this trail NE for about 0.25 miles to the head of the Middle Canyon dirt road, which is then followed for about 0.25 miles to the cars.
ROUND TRIP STATS: 5300 feet elevation gain, 9 miles, 11 hours
MAP USED: Benton, Nev.-Calif. 15 minute series topo, 1962 edition.
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