Standard Variation (from Chicago Valley)

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 3-4

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Standard Variation (from Chicago Valley)
Created On: Dec 20, 2005
Last Edited On: Dec 20, 2005


From wherever you manage to get your vehicle, head cross-country across the open desert toward the obvious large canyon splitting Nopah Point from the slightly lower pyramidal peak, Nopah Peak, to the north. Both peaks are obvious.

As you approach the canyon mouth, note a steep-appearing, loose gully on the south side of the wide canyon mouth. The gully is just before you enter the canyon. This is the beginning of the “standard” route. You may opt to use it as a descent route.

Continue past this loose gully and into the canyon, you’ll notice that it immediately forks. Take the right fork.

Route Description

Follow the right fork over scree and talus until it turns into more enjoyable light scrambling over and around large talus and boulders.

When you encounter a fork, go right.

Shortly beyond the fork, you’ll encounter a short section of dry falls. Scrambling through this section is light class 3.

Continuing on a short distance, you’ll soon come to the crux (and best part) of the entire route - an obvious headwall. The easiest line through the headwall appears to be a class 3-4 weakness on its right side.

Once above the shatteringly short crux, you can do a couple of things:

Route-find your way (easy) back into the wash above the headwall and continue following it up;

Or, stay above and right of the wash and continue following the steep terrain (mostly class 3-4+) higher…until the chossy nature of the rock inevitably causes you to wuss out and find a way back down toward the wash you’re supposed to be in anyway.

Regardless, from the wash above the headwall, or the slope just above it and to the right, head south until you pick up the ridge crest above, shortly before it intersects with the peak’s prominent west ridge. The going in this last section, depending on the variation taken, should be class 2-3.

Once on the ridge crest, follow it to its intersection with the west ridge. This is approximately where the standard and standard variation routes converge.

Follow the class 2 west ridge all the way to the summit. Though loose in places, the occasional use trail can be picked up to make the going easier.

This route entails about 4200 feet of gain over 10+ miles (roundtrip).

Essential Gear

The obvious stuff for a day out doing some scrambling in an isolated section of desert. Some may want to bring a strap for aid on the crux (headwall).

Topo map.