Currant Mountain

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Nevada, United States, North America
Activities:
Mountaineering
Season:
Summer
Elevation:
11513 ft / 3509 m
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Currant Mountain
Created On: Dec 20, 2004
Last Edited On: Jul 9, 2007

Overview

Rising high above the Great Basin desert, Currant Mountain ranks as one of central Nevada's highest and most impressive mountains. It is the highest point in the White Pine Mountains, and is located about 45 miles southwest of Ely. It is also located in the Humboldt-Tioyabe National Forest, and the Currant Mountain Wilderness Area. The lonely US Highway 6 crosses the White Pine Mountains at Currant Summit.

Currant Mountain lives a quiet existence in the vast Great Basin wilderness. Located far off the beaten path, this remote area has no trails and few roads. Although Currant Mountain is a tall and dominating landmark, it seems to attract little attention. The mountainous terrain of central Nevada tends to make even big mountains fade away into insignificance against the desert landscape. However, the new field of Prominence has made Currant Mountain a more important mountain. With a prominence of 4,575', it makes an impressive appearance on the crowded Nevada Prominence Map.

The sheer, imposing, white limestone cliffs on the east face of Currant Mountain rise abruptly from the surrounding terrain, and can be seen for many miles around. The sharp spine of the White Pine range crest extends for miles, and narrows to a knife-edge in places. Ancient Bristlecone Pines cling to life in this harsh terrain, and small bands of Bighorn sheep live within the security of this rock fortress. Without a single mining claim, and no livestock grazing, the Currant Mountain Wilderness is one of the few areas left with no real conflicts. This makes for a true wilderness experience for those willing to venture off the beaten path.



Getting There

From Ely, drive southwest on US 6 for about 26 miles. Turn right onto County Road 1163, and drive about eight miles to the White River Campground. This would be a good place to camp. About a mile past the campground, turn left onto County Road 1164, and start heading south. About a mile and a half past the junction, turn right onto an unmarked primitive road. The first part of the road follows a wash, and it's rough. If you can get past the wash, the road gets better. The road switchbacks west up the hill for a mile, then heads north, but you should park somewhere in this general vicinity.


Mountain Conditions

Contact the Ely Ranger District at 775-289-3031 for the latest information.

Forest Service Map: Humboldt National Forest (Ely Ranger District West Half).
Topo Maps: Currant Mountain; Horse Track Spring.

Camping

The White River Forest Service Campground is located just east of Currant Mountain.

External Links

  • Nevada Prominence Map

  • Currant and Duckwater trip

  • Humboldt National Forest

  • Currant Mountain Wilderness

    Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

    Viewing: 1-4 of 4

    ScottyS

    ScottyS - Feb 9, 2005 4:47 pm - Voted 10/10

    Untitled Comment

    Whoa, there is some bizarre error in the above (starts to repeat in the 3rd paragraph). If this is integrated into the main text, keep that in mind......

    ScottyS

    ScottyS - Feb 8, 2005 8:03 pm - Voted 10/10

    Untitled Comment

    Also, it is noteable that the White Pine Range is home to the largest continuous stand of Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), the longest-lived species of tree. In fact, a member of this species is the oldest-known living thing in the world.



    Studies of these trees have yielded multi-millennia-long datasets of past climate information (the Bristlecone chronology from the White Mountains was even used to re-calibrate the Carbon-14 dating scale).



    While studies have been done on the White Pine Range, it has not got the extensive attention that the White Mountains and Great Basin NP stands have. Accordingly, there is still much work to be doneAlso, it is noteable that the White Pine Range is home to the largest continuous stand of Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva), the longest-lived species of tree. In fact, a member of this species is the oldest-known living thing in the world.



    Studies of these trees have yielded multi-millennia-long datasets of past climate information (the Bristlecone chronology from the White Mountains was even used to re-calibrate the Carbon-14 dating scale).



    While studies have been done on the White Pine Range, it has not got the extensive attention that the White Mountains and Great Basin NP stands have. Accordingly, there is still much work to be done in this and other high-altitude areas of Nevada. The arid treeline environment is perfect for preserving remnant wood for centuries, and the White Mountain studies have been able to reconstruct a continuous tree-ring chronology over 6500 years long, even though the oldest living specimens are less than 5000 years in age.



    When camping in or near the Bristlecone stand at high-altitude, please be conscientious of this, and try to use firewood that is obviously from recent/green or young trees. Old, weathered wood may be 50 years old, or 2000 --- there is no easy way to tell until it is cross-dated by a dendrochronologist. The remnant wood contains priceless data on past climate trends, which can tell us much about how the Great Basin regional climate reacts to changes on larger scales.



    As the White Pine Range pine forests are relatively inaccessible, these Bristlecones have survived the mining/logging eras in the region, hunting and ranching camps, and so on. The future crowds of recreationalists that will be exploring the Great Basin over the next 50 years would do well to be mindful of the treasures contained in remote mountain areas.



    (As a side note, places that have been populated for much longer by developed societies, such as Asia and Europe, have very few ancient trees relative to North America due to the wood being carted off and used)



    Yes, anti-enviro Scotty is posting a plea to “save the trees”.

    ScottyS

    ScottyS - Feb 9, 2005 4:47 pm - Voted 10/10

    Untitled Comment

    Whoa, there is some bizarre error in the above (starts to repeat in the 3rd paragraph). If this is integrated into the main text, keep that in mind......

    Chris Zumwalt - Sep 6, 2005 8:01 pm - Hasn't voted

    Untitled Comment

    The unmarked primitive road that breaks off of County Road 1164 and 1163 is in terrible shape. You can only get about a mile in off of 1164 and maybe 2 miles off 1163 and it takes a burly 4x4 just to do that. You would need an ATV to trek the whole road and get to the suggested parking spot. So basically expect to add a few miles of road walking. I'd suggest to attack it from the County Road 1163 side as you can get a little closer to the suggested take-off spot.



    That mfr is steep with no trails so be prepared.

    Viewing: 1-4 of 4








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