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Ascent of Mormon Peak on 2016-04-18

Climber: Dustin Erickson

Date:Monday, April 18, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mormon Peak
    Location:USA-Nevada
    Elevation:7414 ft / 2259 m

Ascent Trip Report

Wow! This is a great example of one of the reasons I am pursuing the 4,000 ft prominence peak list. I had no idea this really existed before. While hard to get to ( I took the northern of the western routes, it is rewarded by difficult to equal solitude. The desert was in bloom for spring and after locating the wing portion of the plane wreck I continued up the ridge only to need to sidehill around the gendarmes repeatedly. I ascended what peak 6190, what others have called the beehive and found lots of interesting caves and arches. On the very top was a lone bush and on the very top branch of that was the biggest wasp I have ever seen, nearly 2 inches long I would guess and with blood red wings, similar to one I had once seen dragging a tarantula down a trail, but bigger. I will dub this the Wasp Throne and I didn't have lunch there as planned as the wasp started flying around as I tagged the high point.

I now descended to the saddle between here and Mormon Peak, after descending to the north of a very large white gendarme I reascended white tufted powdery rock to the saddle where I got to within 20 feet of a bighorn ram dozing on the other side of a pinyon pine before I noticed him. I was downwind and the sand must have made me too quite for him the hear and his horn was actually blocking his eye from my. I slowly got my phone out and snapped a pick by now he was standing though. He bolted off and I followed through the trees to see him, 2 other adults and 2 young ins on a large outcropping, picture perfect, I snapped and then looked and they were gone, having jumped off the small cliff where I ran to and looked down, nothing. I turned around and they were already back up on the ridge above me. They shortly departed and I gave no chase. AMAZINGLY, less than a minute later I noticed a strange shiny black rock in the white dirt conspicuous to this saddle. An obsidian arrowhead. I immediately had a very powerful experience, connected to this ancient hunter and the ship he must have been after, just as I had scene. I have rarely felt such a connection to the distant past.

The resumed my hike, enjoying the slight breeze on the ridge and the limestone that created nice ledges and eventually a sharper ridge line. The views from the top were amazing with hardly a road visible anywhere. The Carp valley was very green and was a fun way to drive home when I did get down. On the descent I chose to go to the next saddle to the north of the Wasp Throne in search of the sheep, I did not find them, but I followed their tracks until there, this would actually make A MUCH BETTER ASCENT ROUTE as there is no sidehilling, though you would not ascend the Wasp throne as part of it. I descended a sub ridge to the south and entered the main canyon where I explored some shallow caves I had seen from above, shortly after I found the cockpit portion of the plane wreck, now covered in debris from the occasional flash flood that must occur, it is totally demolished and I would find pieces in the wash for the next mile or so before coming upon a series of very large dry falls that can be negotiated on the south side on grassy ridges to drop a few hundred feet to the main wash where I found a few pools of water remaining in scattered rock basins. A short walk to the car and a very long drive home awaited, but I can't wait to explore more of these mysterious mountains. Especially the more rarely glimpsed and more rugged looking northern portion.
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