Approach By Car
To access the West Slopes of Kumiva Peak, travel 55 miles north on Nevada State Highway 447 from Interstate 80 at the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake exit (about 25 miles east of Reno). The turn-off to the trailhead is not marked in any way --- it is just a dirt road that turns to the right (east) and approaches the peak from the west. The best way to tell if you are in the right place if you don't have a detailed map is to look for a radio relay tower on the hills to the left (west) of the highway about 50 north of Intestate 80. If you pass the tower you have gone too far. If you pass a turn-off to the right (east) that leads to some houses you have gone too far. If you get to Gerlach, stop and say "hi" to Bruno, and then turn around because you have really
gone too far.
Turn off on the dirt road and pass through the cattle gate (with the sign: "please close gate"). Follow the road up the alluvial fan for about 2 miles until a fork is reached. Depending on the desired hiking route, follow either fork (see Route Description info). This road does not require 4wd, but high clearance is recommended.
There are several possibilities on the West Slopes of Kumiva. The least technical route involves lots of fairly sandy slopes and makes a great descent route. The most technical direct route involves some great class 3 on granite, and makes an ideal ascent route for those so inclined. To sort out these options from the ground, take a good look at the peak from the highway as you approach it (or use a map...).
Option 1: Sandy class 2
This route is the West Slope variation furthest north. Take the left fork of the dirt road to get there, or just park at the fork as the road soon ends in a sandy wash anyway. Directly to the east and about 1000' above the road is a huge sloping granite face. You want to take the north side of the canyon to the north of this face. Do not stay in the bottom of the canyon unless you prefer thorns and heavy brush mingled with rocks to the open slopes on the left (north) side. The first few hundred feet are steep, with lots of rock outcroppings to manuver around. Just take the path of least resistance as you follow the canyon east. As it bends to the south, you will enter a bowl of sorts with several groves of Quaking Aspen on the slopes up to the south. I recommend staying on the ridge that curves up the north face of the peak, as the brush is much lower on this route.
Option 2: Juniper-infested class 3
This option uses the right (south) fork of the dirt road as it bends to parallel the mountain face. Follow the road for about 1/2 mile until just before a deep wash that cuts through the alluvium. The road ends here, so hop out and start hiking. Start on the left (north) side of this wash and stay high above it as it gets steeper and turns to the right (south) slightly. There will be plenty of rock outcropping to play on as you go, but resist the urge to climb directly up (east) unless you want to lengthen your time hiking. After 1000' or so, the grade eases somewhat and the Juniper forest thickens. Above on the skyline ridge you will see a large granite outcropping slightly to the south, with a smaller granite tower slightly to the north. Manuver east over repetitive outcroppings or a few hundred feet of large granite boulders (depending on exact position) towards the saddle between the previously-mentioned skylined features. When the crest is reached, the true summit is out of sight behind the summit ridge to the east across a bowl filled with groves of Quaking Aspen. Stay above the Aspen and contour around the brushy bowl making for the high point. Upon reaching it, follow the crest another 100yds to the summit.
Summit and Descent
The summit bottle is located within a mini-cairn of rocks in the shadow of a large boulder. Sign in, and check out the view --- peaks 150+ miles away are visible on a clear day! When descending, I recommend taking the sandy slopes in Option 1 regardless of starting point. This is a fast route if you stay out of the brush, and requires no downclimbing.
Stiff high-top style shoes or boots are recommended along with a good sun hat. If the class 3 section is your goal, use sticky approach shoes for best results. Some brush is encountered on this hike, so pants are highly recommended. For winter climbs, snow would demand gaiters. The Great Basin gets little moisture, but very cold temps and plenty of wind in the winter --- dress accordingly.
Water is critical in this part of the country no matter how short the hike is! This peak offers no sources of water replenishment.
Don't underestimate the time it takes to hike cross-country in the desert --- you will not make the 3mph+ speed that Sierra trails allow.
Field glasses (binoculars) are highly recommended due to spectacularly clear Great Basin vistas encountered on the summit.