Santa Rosa Peak, NV

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A basin-and-range peak and an almost forgotten wilderness area, Santa Rosa Peak is a treat.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Our original plan for this day had us on Mt. Whitney, but the weather, driving, and fatigue from climbing Boundary Peak yesterday made us change our minds; we opted to avoid a sufferfest.

Instead, we drove north through the Smoky Valley (very beautiful) and spend the night in the town of Battle Mountain. After a shower at the hotel and a burrito dinner, we slept in, waiting for the continental breakfast at 6am. We then headed west to the Santa Rosa range. Our goal was Santa Rosa Peak, the lovely summit in the center of the photo. At just 9701', it's not all that high. But it's 4500' from the car, so it takes a solid effort.

Santa Rosa Peak

Someone said that the difference between a 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive is how far you walk when you get stuck. With that in mind, we parked well short of the McConnell Creek "trailhead."

But no worries, it was a beautiful morning. The 30 minute warmup was welcome after the drive. Dylan and I made pleasant conversation, but the pace was accelerating as we worked out the kinks and made for the trailhead.

Dylan Kovis heading up McConnell Creek

The trail up the creek is wonderful, made especially so by the huge volume of water running- it just roared. Non-stop.

The morning was gorgeous- warm, calm, and sunny. Dylan went for shorts, a good call. It's a little brushy in places, but not bad. The climb was actually fairly demanding, but the hike into the base of the ridge (with the thin red line showing our route) was worth it just for the walk.

Let me reiterate and re-emphasize- even if the climb seems too much, I would hike this lower trail just to hike it. Especially in the spring like this with everything green.

Dylan and Santa Rosa Peak

Once you leave the bottom of the canyon, the brush quickly fades away and it gets pretty rocky. However, there is enough supporting dirt that footing is generally quite good. It's seems easy, and the peak looks really close, until you check the altimeter. From here, it took about 2 1/2 hours to summit.

Santa Rosa Peak south ridge

Up high, it's not merely "rocky", it turns into some scrambling over boulders. Big fun!

The view southwest, back down our route, and all of McConnell Creek, was really nice. This is true Basin-and-Range country, so although the Santa Rosa range is about 40 miles long, it's not much more than 5 miles wide. Once we got high enough to see over the ridge to the east, we could see center-pivot irrigation on either side.

Looking down mcConnell Creek

The summit shot.

Dylan is working to be a walk-on on Team Platt (he's Mariel's boyfriend). This is our third summit together this spring.

Dylan Kovis and John Platt on top of Santa Rosa Peak

We had avoided the snow on the way up, but used it to ease the descent. Due to the heat of the day, the snow had gotten a little slurpy. Walking, we punched in to mid-calf. And butt-glissading in shorts didn't sound very appealing.

Dylan descending snow on Santa Rosa Peak

However, terrain that was slow going on the way up was very fast on the way down. We hit the creek in only an hour from the top.

We were both fascinated by the rocks- granite on top, shale down below, and funky stuff in between.

We got back to the car in just over 7 hours. We had driven for almost 2 hours this morning, and now we only had another 4 hours of driving to get home. Great- after yesterday, a 13 hour day would seem short!

Mr. Natural Home | 2005 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski