Ireteba Many Peak Anniversary Hike (South of Boulder City, NV)

Pics by Harlan W. S.
March 8, 2006

This range was named after the Ireteba, a Mohave guide on the Whipple and Ives Expeditions.

The route to the south end of the peaks is described in Andy Zdon's "Desert Summits". I was able to get my Subaru Outback to ~3850' to park, but bounced a few rocks off the front skid plate.

From the intersection of routes 93 and 95 (south of Railroad Pass Casino), take the off-ramp for 95 south (toward Searchlight). When you merge onto 95, set the odometer to 0, and travel ~28.3 miles south. Next turn east (left) on a gravel road (there is actually a turn lane for this road, on 95, and a cattle guard as you go through the fence). The coordinates for this turn, in WGS84, are 35.5731509N, 114.9143167W. After travelling ~ 2.1 miles east on the gravel road, turn NNW (left) on a sandy power line road, and in ~0.6 miles, turn east (right) on a rough gravel and rock road, which you should follow east as far as possible (at least 2.5 miles). For more info, buy Andy's book (and look at the topo and aerial maps; take the route by the guzzler).

From the parking spot, the trip NE over "Bard" up to Ireteba benchmark is rather mundane -- 1400' accumulated elevation gain. If you do all the >5000' peaks, however, the accumulated elevation gain is ~3900' (up and back), and the terrain is more "interesting" -- you will go over 5-7 peaks, depending how you count, with some hand- and balance-intensive class 2 in the between the 2nd and 4th peaks.

Of course, this is a cool-weather hike, completely trailless, and would be deadly hot in summer.

At the bottom is a comment on the location of the highest point in the range.

A better way to do this hike would be with two cars: one parked in the spot described above; and another parked on the BLM road west of the Belmont-Phoenix Mine, to the north.

Here is an academic work on the origins of the Ireteba plutons. Geologically, this is a very interesting area. The 65 million-year-old (mainly) granitic pluton was apparently derived by partial melting of much older crustal rocks, then was modified by later Miocene volcanism.


GPS trace on the 1984 "provisional" topo.


The older topo, with elevations apparently based on field optical surveys. (Thanks to Keck library for older maps.)


At 11 AM. View N of Ireteba benchmark peak.





View WNW, to McCullough and Castle Peak NV.



View S over Bard, to Spirit Mt.





View N to next peak.



Looking back S at benchmark peak, over pinyon pines.





Looking back S over second peak.


I think this is a buckwheat.


On the "old" 5072' peak, view S. Lake Mojave to left (E).





This peak gets little traffic!


View NNW; gps at 5064', stable within +/-1 '.


Quartz crystals.





Quartz vein.


Back S from next peak.


Gneiss view east.







On north-most peak, view WNW over Castle Peaks.

Charleston_red_rock_from N_Ireteba

View NNW to Charleston and Red Rock.






View NNE. My left hand points to Wilson, AZ.


View back S over lumps.





Now I reverse my trip.


Possible stope blocks of mafic rock in granitic rocks.


Heading S.





SW to NY Mts. (?) and Clark.



Looking back N. The northern-most peak doesn't look like much from here, in part because the gap before it is hidden.





View S.


View S.


The ridge is not that easy to traverse in this middle portion; view S





Turpentine broom.


View N at 2nd high lump.


View E. That's Fire Mt., believe it or not.




Which is the Highest Ireteba Peak?

Since the 1984 USGS topo was issued, most people have regarded the southernmost benchmark peak as the highpoint. The next highest peak, to the north, is marked as 1537m, as opposed to 1543m for the benchmark. However, the 1537m height for the middle peak was determined by photogrammetry, which has a standard error of at least +/- 5 m. While the most recent topo lists 1537m as a spot check point, this is a provisional map, and the spots were most likely never checked. Provisional maps were finished in a hurry, and are full of red herrings -- note the "permanent streams" marked in the provisional topo (the gps trace map above; hint: the "streams" run very, very rarely). On the older topo map, the middle peak was listed as 5072' and the benchmark was listed as 5060'. Furthermore, the middle peak has the remnants of an old survey tower, making it likely that the point was actually surveyed optically against the benchmark, which would give a relative accuracy of inches, not 5 meters.

I took out my GPS for the benchmark peak, and for the middle peak, and let is sit and average both on my way up, and my way down. Now, the absolute vertical accuracy at any one time would have been about twice the horizontal EPE, or about +/- 14'; averaging for 10 minutes might have brought that down to +/- 10' or 12'. However, I had good reception all day long, so the relative accuracy of the measurements was undoubtedly better. My GPS showed about 5055' for the benchmark, and 5064' for the mid peak, going up and coming down. I surmise, then, that the middle peak is really the higher.