Kawich Peak is the highest mountain in the Kawich Range. It’s located in central Nevada, about 35 miles southeast of Tonopah. Few climbers travel to this remote Great Basin peak. Located deep into the Nevada wilderness, it’s lost among the seemingly endless number of mountains in this region. With a prominence of 3,101', it doesn’t stand out against the crowded backdrop of the Nevada Prominence Map. But the new field of Isolation has made Kawich Peak a more important mountain. With an isolation of 40.13 miles, it ranks #16 on the Nevada Isolation List, and is the highest mountain in a 5,056 square mile area. This makes Kawich Peak a worthy objective for those willing to venture off the beaten path.
From the town of Rachel on the ET Highway 375, travel northwest on 375 to Queen City Summit. Continue down the other side of the pass until you reach this point: 37.7660 N / 115.9813 W. There is junction with a paved road here. Turn left, and travel west about eight miles or so until you reach this point: 37.7536/116.1296. There is a junction with dirt road here. Turn right, and head north up the Reveille Valley on this good dirt road about 20 miles or so until you reach this point: 38.0012/116.3652. There is an intersection here just south of Reveille Mill Ruins, which is shown on the topo map. Turn left, and start heading southwest until you reach this point: 37.9686/116.3841. A passenger car can make it to this point quite easily. However, a high clearance vehicle will be needed from here on out. Turn right at the intersection here, and drive about four miles or so on a primitive road until you reach this point: 37.9458/116.4228. Park here at an elevation of 7,560'.
Route - Reveille Mill
From the parking spot, head west on a very primitive road for about a half mile or so. An ATV or jeep could probably drive this road. The road ends at 37.9449/116.4345. The elevation here is 7,900'. The brush will now become your biggest obstacle.
At the end of the road, your best option is to cross the drainage to your left, push through the thick brush, and climb upslope a short distance to clear the brush if possible. The brush wasn’t as thick higher up the slope. Start heading west up the gentle valley. The left side of the valley is somewhat less brushy than the right side. You might find some game trails here and there. Your goal is to continue up the valley to this point: 37.9447/116.4453, at an elevation of 8,220'. The hiking is fairly easy around this area. Turn right, and start heading northwest up the drainage, just west of Point 8654T. You can probably hike in the drainage bottom for some distance until the brush gets too thick. We then found some faint game trails on the left side of the drainage. It was relatively easy climbing up the sagebrush slope to get to the 9,000' saddle at 37.9513/116.4565. You’ll have a good view of Kawich Peak from here. The fun is now over. From here on out, the brush will vary from bad to horrendous all the way to the top. Those not prepared should call it a day here and head back down to the safety of the car.
If you are determined to press on, your goal is to reach the top of the 9,380' subsidiary summit at 37.9568/116.4539. Turn right, and start heading up the ridge. The first 300' is an easy walk up a sagebrush slope. You will then encounter a 15' high wall of brush. The next mile or so might be the slowest one of your life. There’s no way around the brush. You’ll have to somehow push through it. You will undoubtedly encounter impenetrable pockets of brush. When this happens, you will have to retreat, and go around them. We made the mistake of trying to traverse around the left side of the subsidiary summit on the ascent. Do not try this route. It’s best to go up and over it. You may encounter some steep rock outcroppings on the way up that you will have to go around. Once you get to the top of the subsidiary summit, you will have to descend about 280' to a saddle just below Kawich Peak, then climb the remaining 320'. The brush ends about 10' from the top. Make the final push to the summit, where you can enjoy the Great Basin views. Other parties have reported a less brushy approach from the west.
Kawich Peak is located on BLM land. There are no red tape or access issues.
When to Climb
Late spring to early fall.
You can pretty much camp wherever you want in this area.