Tohakum Peak is the highest point in the Lake Range, bordering Nevada's Pyramid Lake on the east. The lack of competition in the area allows Tohakum to stand out as a landmark when viewed from many other peaks in the northern Nevada region. It can be seen from the freeway in downtown Reno, 50 miles and two mountain ranges to the southwest. On a clear day, you can see from Mt. Lassen to Mt. Grant from its summit. The Sierra Club has placed a register at the top, and a printout of all known peaks that are visible, along with their compass bearings, is included. Several people a year manage to sign in, with most having ascended the north or east slopes. A more interesting route involves climbing from the beach at Pyramid Lake (3780') up Hell's Kitchen Canyon, an aptly-named slog that leaves no fond memories. All approaches are class 2, with a 50' high class 3 section at the summit. While the hike from Pyramid Lake is certainly the hardest route, it offers an abundance of wildlife, with pronghorn, mule deer, wild horses, and shore birds making frequent appearances. Like summit views? Check out and download this 360-degree summit panorama
courtesy of spence
Getting to the Middle of Nowhere
To access the east slopes and Nugent Canyon, travel 40 miles north on Nevada State Highway 447 from Interstate 80 at the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake exit (about 25 miles east of Reno). Getting to the west side is a bit more complicated, see the "Red Tape" section below for more info.
Keep in mind that most of the areas described are on or near the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation. While these folks encourage tourists and recreationalists to come to Pyramid Lake, they also own the property and thus make the rules. To my knowledge, climbing Tohakum is not a problem (heck, the Sierra club maintains a register there!), but be mindful that the roads you take may cross closed property. Please obey all signs, gates, fences, and authorities.
*Update June 15 2009*
Permits may be purchased online!
"Permits are required for day use or camping anywhere inside the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation; not just at the lake. They can be purchased ($7-$10) at the Smokeshop in Wadsworth, the Nixon Store, or a number of places in Sutcliffe or Reno. You can camp just about anywhere if you get a permit; but one notable exception is the east-side beaches of the lake.
Also, the latest regulation book and map seem to indicate that the road to the base of Hell's Kitchen Canyon is now off limits to vehicles, and there's a $50-$500 fine for driving off designated roads!
I guess you could take a boat across the lake to Hell's Kitchen, though.
I'd call the Pyramid Lake Ranger Station (775-476-1155) for the latest story."
When To Climb
The comparatively mild snow conditions of the Great Basin offer an extended dayhiking season for those who don't like to gear up for major winter alpine adventures. Winter climbs should be done with waterproof boots and possibly gaiters if there is any snow. Summer hikes should always involve lots of water, as the evaporation rates get quite high in the desert. Hell's Kitchen Canyon has some year-round springs, but make sure you treat the water thoroughly! Times of high snow accumulation and/or muddy conditions may hamper driving efforts on dirt road sections.
Because this peak is on Indian land, camping my be restricted. However, for those on the east side, BLM land is quite close --- refer to a map for exact border location. Accommodations are to be found in abundance in Reno.
Like most islolated Great Basin peaks, this one requires creative research and a lot of guessing to determine current conditions!