Pine Mountain, NV

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In the doldrums of a January without good snow, almost any peak will do. Pine Mountain was a good one.

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We bounced along in Michael's rig the 9 miles of frozen ruts to the Guard Station, where we were able to park on dirt. There were still car tracks, so we booted the first 1/2 mile or so.

 

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When the packed track ran out, we switched to snowshoes and continued slogging up the valley, searching for the mythical sunshine predicted by NOAA.

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The road continued past our peak, so at what appeared to be less-dense cover, we headed up the hill. This is looking down our tracks as we emerged from the aspen. Camp
A little higher and we got our first confirmed view of Pine Mountain. Camp
The sun came out briefly. Camp
It was getting progressively warmer, so as we got near the final ridge our snowshoes started balling. But there wasn't far to go... Camp

Summit.

The higher peaks nearby, such as Copper and McAfee, had their heads in the clouds. Fortunately, we had chosen a lesser peak so had 360° views in intermittent light. Very cool.

We tucked over the lee side and had a leisurely lunch. John had two.

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Then we started back in the direction of the car, but with Rosebud Peak (can you see the red pointer?) on our agenda. It's lower than Pine, so more trailbreaking seemed reasonable.

Michael was having tummy rumbles (medical term) so he opted to skip Rosebud, instead reversing our tracks.

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John's extra lunch seemed to give him superhuman powers, so I gladly let him break trail the whole way. There's Rosebud! Camp
Looking back from whence we came. Camp

Rosebud has some rocks on the ridge we were climbing, so we took advantage to make it more scenic.

There's our summit.

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All that was left was a quick (not!) drop through the sagebrush back to the road, then a short trudge on the road back to the car.

As we dropped off the side, we could see Michael and he could see us. He looked pretty comfortable when John and I finally got to the rig.

Then it was 9 miles of white-knuckle through the now-thawed ruts (counting in reverse how many miles one might have to walk), and finally back to the pavement.

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