Pahrump Point, CA

Pics by Harlan W. S.
April 8, 2006

Here's CP's Summitpost description of this DPS summit. To reach the traditional "trailhead" from Vegas, take 160 west to Pahrump, and take rte 372 SW for 7.7 miles to the NV-CA Border. At this point the road becomes rte 178, which is taken an additional 8.6 miles to a very faint, slightly downhill dirt road on the left (east). The traditional trailhead is at the left side of the red GPS track in the map below. However, if you felt like cutting across the sparse desert, you could actually start the hike about 200' higher, following the magenta dashed line on the map. The most difficult problem is to find one of the several slight turnoffs from 178, as the road is raised above grade much of this distance.

GPS files (USE AT YOUR OWN RISK) at end of page.

The red GPS route follows an old road for ~2 miles; hardy 2wd vehicles used to drive this road. However, in the early 90s, the road was posted with a tiny, almost unreadable sign declaring a wilderness area, no motorized vehicles allowed. Drunk drivers with guns still go up the road, but hikers park near 178, at the wilderness sign.

The summitpost description, and the description in Andy Zdon's book, are good. I would add that you are likely to miss the large dryfall (i.e. not see it) if you simply follow the cairns SE up to the saddle, once you leave the wash. The "saddle" isn't much of a saddle; it is really a nearly level point on a ridge. Once on the ridge east of the saddle, the two "notches" one must pass through are defined by small rock promontories on the left, perhaps not more than 10' high.

Dangers: this is a trailless route that would be deadly in warmer weather. If the DPS route is followed, the trip is essentially all class 2. However, the greatest danger is in the loose chute, after the two notches on ascent; this chute is full of rocks weighing hundreds of pounds, which are ready to tumble with the lightest touch. On descent, it is best to come down the first 200' of chute individually, then wait in an alcove at west, till the entire party descends; then spread out parallel to descend the rest of the chute back to the notch.

Photos: I used low-quality jpeg compression, to save server storage space, so the reds tend to bleed.

Click on any image below to see the larger corresponding photo.


GPS route (red) with pink suggested alternative.


View SW, about 4200'.





This is the last "right" leg of the wash, before one comes to the large dryfall.


View NW as Luba and Ali climb out of the wash; ~5050'


View WNW. Luba and Ali are going through the first notch. I (the photographer) am not on the "trail", but up on the cliff wall





View WNW. We've gone through the 2 notches, and are back on the ENE-WSW-running ridge.



View WNW. The ridge steepens as it meets the main N-S ridge.





View NW to snow-covered Telescope Peak.



View NE of Charleston Peak, after we crest the main N-S ridge.






View S. To right above Luba's head is Nopah Peak.


Standard cerebellum check.






Descending, view N.


View N. The west side of the peak is a substantial cliff.





Ravens kept swooping at us, but they never stayed long enough for a good photo.


View E. This is the loose chute described in the summitpost article. One cuts a bit to the right for ascent.


View W. This pinnacle defines the second "notch" (the pass immediately to the left). Note the cave and window.






Luba and Ali by rock lump defining the 2nd motch. View N, so the "notch" is actually to the right now.


View W on descent.





View ENE. The cairned trail goes through this notch, but one can as easily go W through the stream. This rough path may have been meant for a mule trail.



At the point where the dirt road ends.




GPS Files -- use at your own risk!

PLEASE, Please, Please note these are relative to WGS84.

Just track as 430-point txf file. You can upload this to a GPS with G7toWin.

Track, some waypoints for drive from Vegas and hike, in gpx format.