Gumby (Sheep Mts, NV) aka Peak 9374

pics by Harlan W.S.
Aug 28, 2010


This is the striking peak that one sees when traveling WSW from the junction of Sawmill Canyon Road and Mormon Well Road. Although the prominence above the western ridge is only about 400’, there is no really easy way to approach this peak, and the accumulated gain is likely to be at least 4000’ for the day. It might  be even easier to get to the peak by continuing up the old road and approaching the western saddle, but the routes shown are more “interesting.”


DB had little sleep the night before, and had to work again the next day at 7:30AM.  We had planned several possible options, including the 2nd-highest peak in the range, but were a bit sheepish about springing a 5200’ gain, 15-mile round-trip on the exhausted DB, so we settled for a 12.4-mile RT, 4300’ accumulated day (more for CP, who bagged bonus peaks on the ways in and out).


A nice breeze kept the temperatures reasonable all day.  The parking is at ~5500’ (Sawmill Road is gated at 5600’), so this is not really a summer hike, unless you have a weather window or a very early start.  The Sawmill Canyon Road is rough, and takes about 10.8 miles from the unmarked exit off route 93.


Due to strange miscommunications, which we are still trying to figure out, we lost about 1 hour. DB and I descended quickly to the road, while CP continued on the dotted blue line below to bag another peak. I had casually mentioned that he might beat us back to the car, but we ended up making very good time.  When CP got back to the road, he thought we must be behind him, and took a nap while waiting for us.  We were actually in front! Oops.



The route on a 100k topo. You could drive about 1/3 mile farther in, at the risk of foundering your car in the loose gravel.


The 24k map for the last part of the trip.  The blue dotted line shows CP’s approximate route back.


Gumby, as seen from early on, while walking WSW on the old road.





I thought this peak might be the un-PC-named “Negrohead” (which is actually a trivial lump farther off), and commented that it reminded me more of Gumby’s head.



Scarlet Gilia.





The ridge had little brush.


In places the ridge route consisted of very large, stable limestone boulders.


Moapa Peak in the distance.





I’m on top, looking down of DB, still chugging up the ridge.


The 2nd-highest peak in the range is at R.


Now I’m looking SE over out planned descent route & ridge “run.” Hmmmm, looks rougher than I thought.





On top, DB immediately nodded off.  Given her ability to fall asleep with ease, she might have gone to medical school.


The wind came up as CP was taking the picture, so I had to hop into the wind.  Arrogance!






Arrow Range in Back, to E.


View NE off the peak, showing the ridge we took for ascent..






Well, the SE ridge proved a lot more complicated than we surmised.  I felt guilty taking DB through this crap, but she soldiered on without complaint (maybe I just didn’t hear her!). I kept breaking dead branches in the way, earning the sobriquet “Branch Harlan.”







The ridge was full of little surprises, which one might climb expecting a walk-off on the SE, only to find…








View N toward Ram Peaks.


CP pushes DB down a chute, using his mountain-lion cane. (OK, I almost used a synonym for “mountain lion.” Mea Culpa.)


DB and I parted with CP for his ridge run, and I took one look back W to Gumby, and the 9782’ peak to the R.


I looked for break in the cliffs, and headed down a mostly-open, pleasant alternation of streams an ridges.  DB and I made good time back to the road, and had little to slow us down.