This small peak on public land offers the best unrestricted view of the Nevada Test Site, especially the former atomic testing ground at Frenchman Flat. The peak is chiefly of interest to those who wish to observe a vast government area that is normally off-limits to the public. Occasional public tours of the Test Site are given by the Department of Energy, but only on their schedule. Mt. Cury allows you to view the site on your own time, without having to deal with meddling government authorities. Classified activities continue at the Test Site, and the government will probably not be thrilled about you being there, but the hike is legal as long as you don't wander across the nearby restricted boundary.
The peak itself is only about 1000' above the surrounding terrain. If you are a government employee or contractor with access to Mercury, you can reach the base of the mountain in a car and hike up it in about 45 minutes. For the general public, however, getting there requires an 7-mile hike across open desert (each way). This hike could be frigid in the winter or deadly in the summer if you don't carry enough water.
The trailhead is located on US-95 about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Further information is in the trail description.
Because this is public land, you can take this hike anytime and camp wherever you wish. However, security forces in the area are likely to take notice of your presence. Cameras, binoculars and telescopes could be a issue of contention in this area. (You are not supposed to photograph a restricted installation like this without permission.) If you take a camera (and who can resist?), it would probably be best not to display it. You will need a strong telephoto lens to capture any details at Frenchman Flat.
When To Climb
Winters can be very cold and summers very hot in this area. The best times to hike are probably spring and fall.
The peak was "discovered" in 1994 by Glenn Campbell (your maintainer). He was looking for viewpoints into the Nevada Test Site, and maps suggested that this would be a good one. The first assault was made by Glenn alone in April 1995. He returned with a group of about 5 others on June 24, 1995 (announcement). The group ran out of water on the way back, giving everyone a taste of heat exhaustion.
As of this writing, these two hikes are the only known attempts on the peak, at least in recent years. There is a USGS benchmark at the summit, but no other evidence of visitation. This peak should have been a popular place for anti-nuclear protestors during the bomb testing years, but as yet no evidence has been found that they went there.
If it wasn't for Radar Hill blocking the Borderline Route, you could probably drive a 4WD across the desert to the base of Cury, thus avoiding a day-long hike. Radar Hill cannot be climbed even with a Hummvee, but your maintainer has been researching an alternate route. Contact him for details.
You can cut about 1.5 miles off the hike by taking a 4WD to the base of Radar Hill. The terrain is sandy rolling desert with many cacti. Flat tires are likely, so be prepared for more than one. (At least one full-size spare and a tire pump for slow leaks.)