PlanningSince I was going to be working in Fallon, Nevada for several weeks, I decided to find some mountains to climb. In 2007 I had attempted to summit Boundary Peak, Nevada with a partner. We were forced to turn back 700 feet from the summit. So this mountain was at the top of the list. I put a plan together and decided I would spend three days and try to summit both Boundary Peak 13,140 feet, and also Montgomery Peak 13,441 feet just over the state line in California. I put together my 40 pound overnight ascent pack. The weather was calling for partly sunny, temperatures; high 20 and lows 1, with 40 mph winds, and minus 20-30 wind chills. I would leave early on Friday and return Sunday. I ended up getting a late start on Friday since I had to wait for a piece of gear to arrive in the mail. I got on the road for the long drive south around 7:00am.
DAY ONE, Ascent to Base CampI arrived at 9000 feet in the Queen Mine Canyon and parked. This is the point where the snowpack covered the road to deeply to drive through. I put on my pack and headed up the steep ridge at about 9:40am. The road does keep going through a series of switchbacks up to about 9500 feet or so. I took a more direct route up and over the first steep ridge. On the other side I was back on the snow packed road. This is just an old and rutted gravel road when not covered in snow. I followed it for a ways and then headed straight up the next ridge. This ridge gains about 1,500 feet. The slope was snow covered, and rocky. Wearing double mountaineering boots made for a slow go. The month or so prior to this climb I had been lazy and was now paying for it, suffering some altitude effects. Along the slope there are many very old trees. On a previous attempt here I had seen several wild horses. As I finally top out on the ridge, I could now see Boundary Peak. It was an awesome sight with its massive snow covered slopes and rock outcroppings. The weather on the way up was mostly cloudy with a few flurries. As I made my way along the top of the ridge the weather began to clear out. The winds were blowing at about 20 mph. The top of the ridgeline is made up of spotty trail, deep snow, and rocks. After traversing the ridgeline for about 1.5 miles, I now descend to the saddle between the ridgeline and the base of Boundary Peak. This is where I will make camp. The saddle is covered in about 6 -12 inches of hard packed snow. I arrive at my base camp location at 12:25pm. The route from where I parked to my base camp location is about 3.15 miles. I pitch and stake down my tent and then build two snow walls on the south and west side. The rest of the afternoon was spent resting and refueling. The weather is now mostly sunny, somewhat mild, and windy. The winds are coming from the southwest. From my base camp you can't see Boundary Peak's summit. It is blocked by the lower ridgeline leading up to it.
DAY TWO, Ascent to Boundary Peak's Summit
The fall hazard here is tremendous. I slip here would send a person sliding 1000 feet or more if they were unable to self-arrest. The lenticular cloud continues to grow. It now stretches a good ten miles in all direction, and I see it churning. At 8:05am the cloud has descended onto the top 1000 feet of the mountain. So within a span of 50 minutes the tiny lenticular cloud turned into a raging localized storm system. The wind is 50 - 60 mph at this point and the visibility is only a couple hundred feet. I have to admit, this is one of the more amazing weather moments I have witnessed. The altitude is also really kicking my butt at this point. I'm giving it everything I have to ascend. Fighting blasting winds and blowing snow. I have on all of my layers at this point. The final 300 feet was brutal. I was only able to take a few steps at a time and then having to rest. It felt like I would never reach the summit. I finally reach the summit at about 10:15am, snap a few photos of myself, and decide to quickly descend. There is no view since the lenticular cloud is raging around the summit.
DAY TWO, The Descent
Climb DetailsDATES: 30 apr 2010 - 01 may 2010
TOTAL MILES: 8.7
TOTAL TIME ASCENDING: 6 hrs
TOTAL TIME DESCENDING: 3 hrs
TOTAL ELEVATION GAIN: 7065 feet
PACK WEIGHT: 40 lbs
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny, Lenticular Cloud, Blowing Snow, Flurries
AIR TEMPERATURE RANGE: 0 - 46 Degrees Fahrenheit.
WIND SPEEDS: 20 mph - 60 mph
COLDEST WINDCHILLS: minus 30 - minus 35
TERRAIN: Steep Snow, Ice, Rocks.