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Hwy 178 to SE Ridge

Hwy 178 to SE Ridge


Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.16630°N / 116.2079°W

Object Title: Hwy 178 to SE Ridge

Route Type: Hike/Scramble

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Class 2-3

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Dennis Poulin

Created/Edited: Jan 28, 2006 / Jan 28, 2006

Object ID: 168372

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Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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The normal trailhead for accessing Stewart Peak is along California Hwy 178. California Highway 178 connects Shoshone California and Pahrump Nevada. From Shoshone drive about 15.5 miles east on Hwy 178 to where milepost 58.5 has been removed. Watch the mileposts and your odometer as you approach the area and make your best estimate as to the exact location of where the missing 58.5 milepost should be located and park all the way off the highway along side the road. Approaching from Pahrump drive west on Nevada Hwy 372. Highway 372 changes its name to California Hwy 178 at the border. I didn’t get the exact mileage from the center of town in Pahrump, but it is about 10 miles. Again, use your best guess where the missing 58.5 milepost should be located and park all the way off the highway along side the road. There is no big parking area here and the shoulders are soft. The shoulders on either side of the road are about 10 ft wide so you can get several few feet off the pavement when parking. Traffic along here is moving very fast, so be careful.

Route Description

The route to the summit of Stewart Point is crosscountry Class2. If you don’t pick your way properly, you will find some Class3 areas to climb up or down. From where you parked along Hwy 178 the highpoint looks lower than several other contenders on the ridgeline because it is further away. The elevation of the parking area is about 2,770 ft. Head crosscountry northwesterly towards a little saddle that you can see up next to the base of the mountain. This saddle is about 1.4 miles from the highway and connects the little hills on the right of this little valley with the mountains directly ahead. The walking is easy here with mostly grass and a few bushes.

You will pass over several small washes, but eventually you will get to the main wash coming off the mountain ahead. Stay on the left of the wash where the footing is better. Follow this up to the little saddle at elevation 3,220. From this saddle you can see the entire rest of the climb ahead of you.

Over this saddle is another wash about 30ft below you. The modern channel of the wash is on the right side of this new valley. On the left is the old channel and that is where you want to end up. Directly ahead up the valley is a ridgeline that divides two drainages. This is the ridgeline you want to climb. This ridgeline ascends to the main ridgeline that will lead to the summit. The summit is off to the left and you may be confused as to which one it really is at this point.

Descend down t the wash on the left side. There is a small cave on the left side under the first big rock outcropping. If go over to the right side of the wash, you will eventually run into a dry waterfall that comes out of the drainage on the right. If you find the dry waterfall traverse over to your left and bypass it. Continue up the old left side drainage until it ends at the new channel. There are a couple of rock cairns marking this spot. Elevation here is about 3,380 ft. Take a moment before descending down to the modern channel of the wash because your next move will be to climb out of the wash on the opposite side. Pick a route that you are comfortable with. This is the beginning of the ridgeline that ascends up to the main ridgeline.

It looks like there are many ways to climb up from the wash, but some of them will require some Class 3 climbing. If you pick the wrong way, come back down a little and pick another. The footing here can be tricky. It looks like most hikers find some loose scree and struggle up this rugged area. Take your time and watch your footing because a fall here will take some hide off on these rough rocks. If you are climbing with someone else watch out for rock fall. Make mental notes as to where to descend this area after you summit. Descending, I ended up at the bottom of the drainage on the right and it worked well until it joined the main wash above a 15 ft dry waterfall.

You have some climbing here to get up to the main ridgeline. The main ridgeline is at 4,170 ft which requires about 800 ft of climbing in about .4 of a mile.

Once you reach the main ridgeline, you have it made. Follow this ridge northwest up towards the summit which is still about 1.2 miles and 1,100 ft of elevation gain ahead. The ridgeline starts off going northwest and then swings around to the west and eventually to a southwest direction as you get to the summit. You will need to bypass several bumps along the ridgeline before you get to the summit. From the last bump before the summit you can see what looks like a rough climb up some black rocks that lead to the summit. Bypass most of this climbing on the left because the summit is not on top of the black rocks. The summit is further along the ridge a hundred yards past the black rocks.

Sign the register, enjoy the view, eat your lunch, and return the same way you ascended. Overall there is about a 2,600 ft elevation gain, the total mileage is about 7.5 miles, and should take about 6 hours plus rest periods.

Essential Gear

Sunscreen, Water, Hat, Good Shoes, and the Ten Essentials. There is no water along this route. The hotter it is the more you will need. I used 3 quarts on a cool day in January. Gloves may be handy for climbing rocks. The black rocks are very abrasive and could be very hot in the sun.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.