Ascent of Virginia Peak on 2007-10-07

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, October 7, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Virginia Peak
    Elevation:8366 ft / 2549 m

Ascent Trip Report

At the intersection of NV-445 and NV-446 along the S shore of Pyramid Lake, I headed S on NV-445 for 7.8 miles to Grass Valley Road, on which I turned left. The road is well-graded gravel. Set or note your odometer here. At 2.9 miles I turned left on Whiskey Springs Road. At 4.4 miles I turned right on Amy Road. At 6.7 miles, the main road turned 45° left and became Wilcox Ranch Road. Amy Road continues straight ahead from here as a smaller road. At 9.3 miles I turned left on Quaking Aspen. At 12.7 miles I turned left on Microwave Road. Note: Quaking Aspen Road is misidentified on the topo map, and Microwave Road is misidentified on DeLorme. At 14.6 miles is a steep rutted switchback that may stop some timid drivers without high clearance, but I had no problem in my rented Saturn; most drivers and vehicles will be OK. At 15.6 miles I parked at the small saddle at 2175 meters (7136 feet) between Jackass Spring and Sand Spring and continued on foot so as to Earlize the peak to more than 1000 feet of elevation gain.

The road continues to a parking area between two of the summit towers. The highest point is NE of the parking area and is attained by an easy scamble that gains 50 feet. The road was covered under snow for most of my hiking route, but my guess is that the peak is Martinizable in nearly any vehicle if the road is dry. The view from the summit is nice, but it would be even better if it were not for the fact that Pah Rah Mountain obstructs most of Pyramid Lake, which is a scenic marvel. I saw a snow-covered peak far to the NW which I surmise was Lassen Peak.

I took a different route out of the area because I was headed toward Reno; this is the direction from which most people would approach Virginia Peak. For this approach, the road directions would be as follows: On NV-445 18½ miles N of I-80 in Sparks, turn right onto a gravel road which is not directly signed, but a nearby BLM sign says "Wild Horse and Burro Center". Set or note your odometer here. At 0.6 miles, go straight at a T-junction where Ironwood Road comes in from the left, and the main road becomes Ironwood. At 3.5 miles, the road makes a 90° turn left. At 4.9 miles, turn right on Amy Road. At 5.3 miles, the main road turns 45° left and becomes Wilcox Ranch Road. Amy Road continues straight ahead from here as a smaller road. At 7.9 miles, turn left on Quaking Aspen. At 11.3 miles, turn left on Microwave Road.

Note: as I was walking up the long traverse toward the summit, an SUV and a pickup passed by me. Both appeared to be privately owned. When I reached the summit parking area, both of those vehicles were parked there and a couple of adults were supervising a small child playing in the snow.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1530 ft / 464 m
    Extra Gain:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:Microwave Road
    Trailhead:Microwave Road  7136 ft / 2175 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 0 Minutes

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