Ascent of Indian Peak on 2013-06-15

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Others in Party:Keith Christensen
Paul Garry -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Matthew Hengst -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, June 15, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Indian Peak
    Elevation:11297 ft / 3443 m

Ascent Trip Report

An epic 14.5 hr dayhike. Almost death march quality. Indian Peak has been described as the most remote peak in the White Mtns, with many years going by without anyone signing the register in the little film canister.

Along the way we added several other peaks including East Headley Pk, Headlsy Pk, Pk 11,784, and Mt. Hogue. All of which are on the California Non-Sierra 10,000 ft Peak List.

The drive approach is from the east off of NV State Highway 264. At the signed turn off for Indian Creek Road, its 10.4 miles of dirt road to the trailhead which is an open meadow with enough room to park several cars and camp. The last 3.5 miles of this road is 4WD with numerous sections of very rocky rough road and overgrown trees to push through with your vehicle (one tree branch took out my radio antennae which I had neglected to put down). There's a nice campsite on the north side of the road at 6.2 miles in where we camped before and after the hike. Most passenger vehicles can drive in this far.

We started our march out of Indian Creek Canyon at 7:30 am following an old mining road SW. This road is in pretty good shape for about the first mile with a couple of wide spots along the way to turn around. If we had known this beforehand, we would have probably continued to drive up the road 0.5 to 1 mile further. We eventually left the road and continued up heading SW. At the top of the steep part of the canyon at 11,400 ft, the climb suddenly leveled out and we had a grand vista of the crest of the White Mtns.

Our first goal was Peak 11,784 about 1 mile away to the south. At the summit we took a short break. We found no register. We then dropped about 500 ft south to a saddle and then headed up 1550 ft to East Headley Peak. Finding no register on this peak, we then turned west and hiked 0.5 mile over to Headley Peak. There was a register here but the glass jar containing the paper and pencil was broken. So far the cross country travel was quite easy and enjoyable with wide open views all around.

Now it was on to our main goal of the day, remote Indian Peak. Heading WNW down the connecting ridge with Headley Peak, the cross country travel went from easy to steep loose talus for several hundred feet of descending. In fact, we descended 1800 ft to a saddle, from where it was a 500 foot gain to Indian Peak. Along the way we saw a herd of about 20 bighorn sheep. Even though they were over half a mile away, they saw us too and took off running over the side of the ridge not to be seen by us again. According to Zdon's desert climbing guide, there are 3 such bighorn herds in the White Mtns.

I suspect Indian peak got it's name from the red rock it is composed off. Probably named back in the day when political correctness in naming places was not as big an issue. However, I did find a piece of obsidian that had obviously been worked and could have been part of the tip of a spear or arrow. So perhaps the name came from the fact that Native Americans lived here. This was the only place we visited on our dayhike, besides Indian Creek Canyon where we started, that had trees. Enough to provide shade for animals and man.

After a nice break on the summit, we dropped 500 feet back down to the saddle. We had decided to take Birch Creek back to Indian Creek. This necessitated a drop of 800 ft down into the creek drainage but would be about 600 ft less gain and was a little shorter than going back over the Headley peaks and Peak 11,784.

From the saddle, we contoured NE at the 10,800 ft level for 1/4 of a mile, then dropped steeply into subsidiary drainage of Birch Creek. We followed this creek north down towards the main Birch Creek drainage a short distance, then began a sidehill traverse NE at the 10,000 ft level. Some sections of this traverse was a little tedious, but we soon ended up at the bottom of Birch Creek at the 10,000 ft level. We continued up Birch Creek which was dry low, but had running water after a half mile. This creek canyon was absolutely gorgeous if you like high alpine valleys.

At elevation 11,400 ft we left the creek heading up WNW towards our final goal of the day, Mt. Hogue. This last climb took some time, as we were all getting a little tired. The summit is a little rock outcropping on the north edge of the summit plateau. There was a register in another broken glass jar. We won't discuss how the jar possibly broke. Keith had a big plastic jar with him so this became the new register container.

It was now about 8 pm and getting cold so we started the long hike back down into Indian Creek. It got dark on us with a little over 2 miles to go back to the cars. But we were pretty near the old mining road by now. After a little nighttime bushwhacking we were back on the dirt road and jammed back to the cars. The last mile really hurt! Finished at 10 pm, with 15.1 total miles and 8310 ft of total gain.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8310 ft / 2532 m
    Total Elevation Loss:8310 ft / 2531 m
    Round-Trip Distance:15.1 mi / 24.3 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5510 ft / 1679 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2797 ft / 853 m; Extra: 2713 ft / 826m
    Loss on way in:2713 ft / 826 m
    Distance:7.6 mi / 12.2 km
    Route:Indian Creek Cyn via Pk 11,783 and Headley Pk
    Start Trailhead:Indian Creek Trailhead  8500 ft / 2590 m
    Time:7 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5597 ft / 1705 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2797 ft / 853 m; Extra: 2800 ft / 853m
    Gain on way out:2800 ft / 853 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:Birch Creek
    End Trailhead:Indian Creek trailhead  8500 ft / 2590 m
    Time:7 Hours 30 Minutes

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