Monday, January 28, 2013

Nopah High Point - 6,394'

I started out in windy conditions and about 50 degrees Fahrenheit at 8:35 a.m. The wind was intermittent, sometimes not noticeable, other times it just howled. A dark, heavy cloud hung over the mountain and I was worried it might rain on the peak, even though it was mostly sunny elsewhere. The first four miles were over easy, gently sloping terrain. It didn't begin to get difficult until within the canyon, where occasional dry falls and boulders were obstacles that were easily bypassed or climbed. Near the end of the canyon, one had to climb a steep, loose slope and gain well over a thousand feet in a short distance to reach the ridgeline/saddle between Nopa HP and Nopa Peak. At this point I contoured around to the left of a small valley to avoid losing elevation, but ultimately had to drop down, cross the valley, then begin the final ascent up a steep slope to the summit ridge. Once on the summit ridge it was an easy walk over to the summit itself. Great views, especially out towards Death Valley. Eagle #2, Brown, and Pyramid were easily seen from here. The wind at the summit and the 32 degree temperature drove me off the peak after just taking enough time to sign the register (one went back to 1965, the other showed only a few entries between the LVMC trip on 12/10/11 and my own), eat a quick lunch, then beat it back down the mountain into the canyon, where I was more protected from the wind. A great day on the mountain and I made it out before sunset.
Total distance: 14.4 miles.

Clouds are building over the peak.

I found an abandoned jeep trail that still left scars on the land after decades of non-use.

Coming closer to the wash and canyon that leads to the peak.

One of many dry falls encountered along the way.

First look back down the canyon.  I hiked along the ridges you see in the center background.

Closer to the end of the wash.

Another look back; the clouds look ominous.

At the ridgeline near the summit.  In the distance is Nopah Peak, just slightly lower than Nopah High Point.
Nopah High Point on the left, Death Valley on the right.

Getting closer to the final push to the summit.  A shallow valley is in the way, and then a 600' foot climb to the summit ridge.
View from the summit looking west.

Eagle Peak is the dark, isolated mountain in the far center.  Beyond it is Brown Peak.  I climbed the two of them last weekend.
A closer look at Eagle and Brown.
The summit register.  One of the two sign in books dated back to 1965.

This shows how few people climb this peak, only a couple of parties since 2011.
Looking back down towards my descent.
Coming down out of the wash and nearing the long bajada.

Nearly back to my car, and the temperature is in the low 30s here.

Looking back up towards the way I went in.

Sunset over Kingston Peak, another on my list.

Looking down a long, lonely highway at sunset.


  1. startling photos, some are almost dali-esque. with a twist of the eye...

    1. Dali is good. At times, the desert and its solitude is almost surreal in its reality.

  2. wow, eye popping photos. I kept wondering, how does it feel to be so alone, in that amazing place.

    1. It feels quiet, Dee! One must learn to be self sufficient when in the wilderness.


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