2005/09/15 - Boundary Peak, Nevada (13,140')

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Jason Halladay
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2005/09/15 - Boundary Peak, Nevada (13,140')

Post by Jason Halladay » Wed Sep 28, 2005 10:23 pm


Image
Boundary's summit is the summit in the middle of the photo here. The neighboring peak to the left, Montgomery Peak, is higher by around 300 feet but is in California.

Partner: Bill Geist
Distance/Gain (RT): ~8 miles, 4220 feet

Thursday, September 15
It was the last “recreation” day of our two-week trip to the Sierras. We had done some sport climbing in Toulomne on the Circle A Rock in the morning, had another fantastic meal at the Lee Vining Mobil station and had driven the three hours from Lee Vining to the Boundary Peak trailhead on the east side of Boundary Peak. Actually getting to the trailhead for Boundary Peak is more difficult and time consuming than the actual hike. The 14.5 mile dirt road to the trailhead is not obviously signed for Boundary Peak and is instead signed for Trail Canyon. It seems there is often much confusion and discussion about finding the proper road to the trailhead. Just look for the good dirt road signed “Trail Canyon” on a brown sign 17.7 miles north of Dyer, NV on highway 264. We also used some very detailed driving directions from MuellerWorld which helped confirm we were actually on the right road. The road itself is a decent dirt road but was a little rough for Bill’s Honda Civic CX hatchback. But he managed to get us to within a half mile of the trailhead in about an hour of dirt road driving.
After driving as far as we would drive, we parked the car along the side of the dirt road around 4:45pm. With a nearly full moon in the forecast, we opted to start the hike right then instead of hiking the next day. The evening was beautiful and the temperature good so we packed our light packs and started hiking at 5:15pm. The information we had about the hike wasn’t very good so we weren’t quite sure how much distance and elevation gain we would need to do but it didn’t look like too much. We estimated 4 miles up and about 4,000 feet of elevation gain. My altimeter watch was reading 8,800’ and we knew the summit was at 13,140’.
We hiked the road the rest of the way to the true trailhead where we found a nice sign for Boundary Peak--the first and only sign that actually confirmed for us that we were in the right place.

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Bill scopes out the trailhead sign and map. To our surprise the hike was going to be much shorter than we had guessed.

The sign had a small map on it showing the way and we could nearly see the summit of Boundary Peak from this vantage so we could get a read on our planned route. So we continued. The trail is good but not as good as one might expect for a state highpoint. We followed a small spring-fed stream for about a mile while occasionally passing through neat bushy tunnels before getting out into the open sagebrush territory. Hiking this trail reminded me of hiking in northern New Mexico because of all the familiar vegetation and similar looking terrain. Cows apparently spend a lot of time along this stream and we encountered a number of places where cows had spent some time. There were also large piles of horse or mule poop in places. Interesting. At a couple of sections, spring water flowed down the trail making for squishy hiking but with some decent rock hopping skills, we could avoid getting our feet wet. We saw a couple small groups of deer in the valley as well. The sun was falling behind the ridge that we were heading towards. Bill and I wanted to be on top of the ~12,200’ ridge before sunset so we pushed hard. However, the trail soon became a loose, steep situation were one step forward meant sliding back a bit each time. It wasn’t great but it would mean a quick descent! We managed to arrive on top of the ridge at 6:58pm, just before sunset and had a great view of the Mount Whitney massif to the west and the awesome, lonesome valley to the east.

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Arriving at the saddle just before sunset. A beautiful evening with great light.

The breeze was a bit more substantial on the ridge but really not much of anything. We did put on another layer and our gloves before continuing up along the ridge towards the summit. From here we could see the rest of the ridge and the summit and our goal wasn’t far away.

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Sunset over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Now being on the ridge, the going was much easier with a fair bit of boulder hopping and obvious trail. We hiked along the ridge’s east side for a short bit before moving over to the west side and then on top of the ridge proper to the summit. We reached the summit just after 7:30pm with enough fading sunset light to make for some cool views and photos.

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Bill and I standing atop Nevada. It mostly felt like California though. :)

The nearly full moon had already risen so the east side of the range was illuminated by moonlight while the west side of the range still managed a very faint orange glow from the sun. The air was mostly still with a slight chill but it was very pleasant. I was in awe at the nearly complete lack of man-made light sources all around. I think I counted two single lights on the west side and eight single lights on the north and east side of the peak. I commented on how we could see more man-made light sources from Kilimanjaro in East Africa than I could see from here, the highest point in Nevada. It’s definitely some desolate country in western Nevada/eastern California!

We snacked a bit and signed the register that was contained in the ammo box. The register was a spiral-bound notebook left by someone that had plenty of blank pages left in it. Some folks had written nearly a page’s worth of stuff at a time! It appeared there had been two other parties on the summit this day which amazed me given the isolation we felt during the drive in and from looking around from the summit. Alas, it was chilly and we still had some hiking to do before setting up camp so we started down at 8pm under the bright moonlight. Descending the ridge went smoothly and soon we were back at the small saddle looking down the steep, loose trail. I wasn’t looking forward to it but it turned out to be mostly pleasant and quick efficient. Each step down meant a small slide down loose dirt and gravel which was easy on the knees and effort. Certainly we weren’t easy on the environment with such a trail. I hope the NTI (Nevada Thirteener Initiative) can get to working on the Boundary Peak trail soon. Although I’m sure the NTI is busy with all the other thirteeners in Nevada at the moment. Scree gaiter would be very helpful on this trail as we had to stop at the bottom of the steep, loose section to empty our shoes out.

Once down the loose stuff, it was fast cruising on the good trail back down into the valley and along the stream back to the trailhead. The light of the moon coupled with the light of our headlamps made the going fast and easy and by 9:30pm, we were back at the car. It was a very pleasant night hike of Boundary Peak. It was nice to hike this peak at night to avoid the daytime heat and to see the sunset from so high above the surrounding plains. The nearly complete lack of man-made light sources in the surrounding area really impressed me.

Kevin Baker
09-28-2005, 11:05 PM
Excellent summit shot, Jason. You must have had a long timer to take that one! How many state hp's are you up to, now?

Rex Headd
09-28-2005, 11:47 PM
Congrats
Your guys' most spectacular climb of your whole vacation. JK. :D Good old Nevada, I remember that scree well. Made for a miserable uphill but man, like you said, you could scree ski that 2000 foot face in about 30 minutes or less. Over on the highpointing website a guy who recently hiked Boundary discovered some quicksand along the route, yikes. It is definitely out in the middle of nowhere, I drove up from Vegas at night and had 200 miles of dodge the rabbits where I still hit a few despite trying to avoid them as best I could. With Denali, Gannett, Granite, Rainier, and Hood behind you, you could easily bang out the highpoints although you're probably like me and don't have much motivation for the lesser peaks...err hills....err street intersections. :)

Jason Halladay
09-29-2005, 07:42 AM
Kevin, I think I used a 8 second shutter speed at at f8 on that summit shot. There was still enough ambient light for a good shot without a super long exposure. (Now I need to check on this and see, I'm curious).

I just counted my state highpoints and I'm up to 12:
AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, TX, WA, WY. I've really only been concentrating on the "western states" list of mine so I'm lacking UT and HI on that list. You're right, Rex, about my lack of motivation to go east for high points. In due time I'm sure I'll work my way east, especially far east, but I'll likely save those trips for much later in life.

We'll see!

Rick Canter
09-29-2005, 10:57 AM
...the photos-with-text TRs are always so interesting, thank you for sharing this, Jason.

I read that they figured out Boundary's summit was in NV only about 10 years ago...Cali is 50' away (??).

Whenever you get serious about 50 highpoints, I'm back east and can help motivate for the silly ones. Don't wait until you are "too" old for NH and ME, they have 4000'+ gains with snows 8-12 months out of the year...and a few others are reasonably challenging as well.

Thanks again, great TR...

Eric Stave
09-29-2005, 01:15 PM
Wow, Jason, that was a fast trip. 4:15 with breaks and all. I've peered over to that peak many times passing through Bishop, CA. Cool views of the Sierra Nevada, huh?!

I initially got into mountain climbing by doing the state highpoints. I totally enjoyed the western states. Yet the ones with the hills, street signs and corn fields proved to be difficult logistically. "Gee Daddy, why are we taking a family vacation to Arkansas via North Dakota?"

Kirk Mallory
09-29-2005, 01:59 PM
I read that they figured out Boundary's summit was in NV only about 10 years ago...Cali is 50' away (??).
The California state line is at the saddle between Boundary Peak, NV and Montgomery Peak, CA. In fact, Boundary Peak wouldn't be ranked using the 300-foot rule since the saddle is less than 300 feet below it, and Montgomery Peak is higher (13,500-ish). There is only one ranked 13er in Nevada - Wheeler Peak. Therefore, it could be said that Boundary Peak is the highest point in the state, while Wheeler is the highest peak.

You can easily climb Montgomery as an out-and-back from Boundary; there is a little bit of scrambling on the ridge to Montgomery.

Jason Halladay
09-29-2005, 09:53 PM
The California state line is at the saddle between Boundary Peak, NV and Montgomery Peak, CA. In fact, Boundary Peak wouldn't be ranked using the 300-foot rule since the saddle is less than 300 feet below it, and Montgomery Peak is higher (13,500-ish). There is only one ranked 13er in Nevada - Wheeler Peak. Therefore, it could be said that Boundary Peak is the highest point in the state, while Wheeler is the highest peak.

You can easily climb Montgomery as an out-and-back from Boundary; there is a little bit of scrambling on the ridge to Montgomery.
Interesting. I didn't know there was another 13er in Nevada! The logic makes sense that Boundary Peak would be considered the highest point but Wheeler the highest peak.
We considered the fun looking ridge scramble over to Montgomery but I think we were ready to effectively start the trip back home!

Speaking of Montgomery Peak, here's a 30-sec time exposure shot of Montgomery in the moonlight from the summit of Boundary:

Image

Jason Halladay
09-29-2005, 09:56 PM
...the photos-with-text TRs are always so interesting, thank you for sharing this, Jason.

Whenever you get serious about 50 highpoints, I'm back east and can help motivate for the silly ones. Don't wait until you are "too" old for NH and ME, they have 4000'+ gains with snows 8-12 months out of the year...and a few others are reasonably challenging as well.

Thanks again, great TR...
Rick, thanks for the comments. I like reports with images to break up the text so I try to write some that I know I would personally read.

I definitely have respect for many of the eastern highpoints and look forward to some trips out that way for highpoints at some time. As it stands, I've only been east of the Mississippi twice in my life and those were really just stop-overs in airports. I know I'm missing out.

Jason Halladay
09-29-2005, 09:57 PM
I initially got into mountain climbing by doing the state highpoints. I totally enjoyed the western states. Yet the ones with the hills, street signs and corn fields proved to be difficult logistically. "Gee Daddy, why are we taking a family vacation to Arkansas via North Dakota?"
Eric, that's funny! :)

Kirk Mallory
09-30-2005, 03:38 PM
Interesting. I didn't know there was another 13er in Nevada!

Wheeler Peak is on the eastern side of the state, and is in the Great Basin National Park. It's a nice easy hike to a very prominent peak. See Trip Report # 1137 submitted by Teresa Gergen.

Kelly Edwards
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Re: 2005/09/15 - Montgomery Peak CA

Post by Kelly Edwards » Sun May 14, 2017 9:43 pm


ascending Montgomery Peak CA, beginning in CA is what kind of a climb? thx, Kelly E.

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Gary Neben
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Re: 2005/09/15 - Boundary Peak, Nevada (13,140')

Post by Gary Neben » Mon May 15, 2017 8:49 am


Jason's mostly on fb now but I last spoke with him about 1 1/2 years ago so I think his email is still good here.

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