In his classic desert peakbagging guidebook ’Desert Summits’
, Andy Zdon has this to say about Hart Peak: “This sharp, volcanic peak is one of the more interesting in appearance within the region...Only sparse information is available on this peak."
I’m certain I’m not the only one who has wondered about this curious little nugget of information. But how many have gone so far as to check it out and see what all the mystery is about?
In Dec 2005, perhaps years after first reading Zdon’s intriguing description, I found myself for the first time in the neighborhood of this obscure peak. From the summit of nearby Castle Peak
, just a few miles to the west, I saw the steep, oddly shaped mass of Hart Peak. With an interesting appearance very similar to the aesthetic Mopah Peak
, I decided I’d better push Hart a little higher on my ever-growing to-do peak list.
When it finally made the top of the list a month later, here’s what I found:
Though not as interesting a peak as Mopah, this little gem is noteworthy in the guarded nature of its lean mass. With a short approach of about a mile, and perhaps a thousand feet of gain, the only real work involved in getting to Hart Peak’s summit is finding a break in the complex cliffs, ribs, fins, dry falls, caves, dead ends, arches, alcoves and other geologic obstacles taking residence on the upper mountain.
Zdon says that there is a reported class 2-3 weakness on the north slope of the peak, which is accessed from the obvious saddle to the north of the peak. Hmmm, didn’t see anything resembling a “slope” on this one, but maybe I didn’t look hard enough.
DPS trip report suggests a southern approach, stating “A long-abandoned 4WD track takes you to a south saddle at 4870'. The southwest face of the peak is quite vertical; like Mopah, it presents a very formidable aspect as one approaches from the west. And, like Mopah, it yields on its southeast side, but much more readily than the 4th class Mopah. We found a pure class 2 route right to the top.” There you have it.
Or you can try one of the sweet, direct lines I took on the northwest face. Lines from class 2+ to 5+ can be found – one has only to look hard enough for the terrain one desires. Part of the fun of Hart’s northwest face is the route-finding – never hard, always entertaining.
From the top, the views are far-stretching.
A register dates back to 1951. There’s still plenty of room to sign in.
You have a couple of choices. If coming from Vegas, option #2 is faster. It’s also better for passenger cars.
From I-15 near Primm, Nevada and the California state line, get off at the Nipton Road exit. Nipton Road is in California, just a few miles over the line.
Head east on Nipton Road a few miles to the signed Ivanpah Road. Ivanpah Road takes you into Mojave National Preserve. Sadly, Hart Peak is not part of the Preserve. It lies just outside of it on the eastern side. You’ll drive into, and then out of, the Preserve to get to Hart Peak from this approach.
Once on Ivanpah Road, follow it for about 16-17 miles, ignoring the main turn-off (Morning Star Mine Road) for the Preserve and the fact that the road soon becomes graded dirt (generally in good shape; sometimes not), to the signed Hart Mine Road.
Hang a left and follow Hart Mine Road (high clearance suggested in good conditions; a good walking stick in bad) for 8.2 miles until you come to a stop sign and an intersection with a very well-graded dirt road. This is Walking Box Ranch Road. Hang a left.
Follow Walking Box Ranch Road for 4.2 miles to a small dirt road heading off to the right. You’ll know you’re in the area because Hart Peak will be the obvious eye-directing peak a mile or slightly more away from you to the east/northeast.
Either park just off the road on this minor dirt road, or follow it for ½ mile or so and find a place that looks good to park.
Consider this the trailhead.
From highway 95 in Searchlight, NV (between Las Vegas/Henderson NV and Needles, CA), head west on the only “major” paved road heading west. This is Nipton Road.
Follow Nipton Road for a few miles (maybe 8-10) to a signed junction with Walking Box Ranch Road. From the junction, you’ll be able to see Hart Peak as the distinctive peak to the south.
Turn left onto Walking Box Ranch Road and follow it for 12.9 miles to a minor dirt road heading off to the left. This point will be immediately adjacent to the northwest side of Hart Peak, perhaps a mile and change away from the mountain. You can park somewhere along here, or head down the dirt road for ½ mile or so and then park. A low-rider could make it to this junction.
None that I know of.
I’m not aware of any developed campgrounds in the area; however, there’s fine primitive camping in the area.
There’s no water, so bring plenty of your own.
When to Climb
Anytime but summer.
Rains can also badly wash out the approach roads, particularly those of option #1 above. Be cognizant of recent weather issues in the area prior to your trip – save yourself a wasted drive.
Check the weather
a link with GPS info, pics, etc (courtesy of DonnieB