Thursday, June 1, 2006 --Boundary Peak
I awoke early in the morning feeling refreshed from a nice night of sleep in Mammoth Lakes. I spent about an hour and 45 minutes driving to the Queen Canyon Trailhead for my hike to Boundary Peak, Nevada. I called my sister Debbie to let her know where I was, what I would be doing, and when to expect me back. I expected to be the only person on Boundary Peak, which is usually only frequented by Highpointers seeking to add another state to their list. I was a bit nervous about driving by rental car up
the road to the Queen Canyon Mine, but it was not as bad as I expected it to be. I had taken a rental car up Capitol Creek Road in Colorado last summer and that was far worse than this road was.
As I began to hike, I found myself feeling very good, since I was carrying a light daypack. I followed the road a ways to this saddle and then I followed a well-defined use-path up this grassy, meadow-like ridge towards
the Trail Canyon Saddle. The use-path is well-designed in that it avoids gaining unnecessary vertical feet that would then be lost later on. I continued to find that to be the case later on after I avoided ascending a sub-peak along the Northwest Ridge of Boundary Peak. After two hours, I reached the Trail Canyon saddle and this is where the climbing really begins. There are at least a couple of fairly well-defined use paths. I chose to follow the one to the right,
since I knew that I eventually wanted to reach the visible sub-peak to the right rather than the one that looked like the highest. The use-path was pretty easy to follow for a while, but then you had your choice of whether to switchback to the left or continue to the right. I should have chosen my switchbacks based on following the easiest and least steep slope but I did not. This got me into some minor difficulties further up. There was a lot of scree and loose rock there were some sections that left me muttering under my breath in frustration.
Well, I eventually reached the sub-peak to the right where I was greeted
with a view of the Northwest ridge of Boundary Peak, my route for the rest of the hike. I must say, Boundary
Peak is quite a rugged and beautiful peak—certainly a worthy destination, not just a state highpoint hike. I began by traversing the sub-peak that I was lucky enough to avoid climbing. Once on the ridge, I had steep drop-offs on both sides. It was not really all that steep though. I was beginning to tire. I had to set a goal to reach a rock in the distance. And then another. And then another. Finally, I reached the summit snowfields.
I was almost there! I had a couple more scrambling sections and then poof! I was at the highest point in Nevada! I had the place all to myself. The
last entry in the summit log was the previous day. Montgomery Peak and the other White Mountains to the south
were impressive. Even more impressive, I could see the Sierra Range stretching from way, way south to way, way north. I imagine I could see well over half of the Sierra range from this vantage point. If I had the time and energy, I bet the view from the slightly higher Montgomery Peak would have been even better. I loved how this peak dropped reasonably steeply on most sides, which made it a nice prominent point to look down on everything!
After I ate my lunch, it was all too quickly time to head down from
Boundary Peak. As I was hiking down, I somehow felt like I was losing energy. I realized I had been hiking without my cap on today. I had left
it back at the car! I took my polar fleece and wrapped it around my head, tying it in place using the sleeves. This helped and I felt better after about an hour of down-climbing with this fleece over my head. I can clearly see that it is important not only to protect against sunburn but also just keeping the head covered in general with the bright high-desert sunlight. After I got back to the car safely, I had the rest of the afternoon and evening to make the scenic drive across Sonora Pass to the area near Yosemite National Park, the site of my next adventure!
No comments posted yet.