Churchill County High Point Trip Report

Desatoya Peak (9,973 ft)

Date: September 19, 1997
Author: Andy Martin

We came in on a DeLorme "major connector" road from the east, by the Smith Creek Ranch. Once again DeLorme underestimated the difficulty of the road, as it has two locked gates on it by the ranch. We ran into the rancher and he kindly unlocked the first gate, drove with us through his cows to the second, 1/4 mile, and also unlocked it for us.

The road past the second gate was not traveled much, might be dicey getting a car in there even if you were lucky enough to have the rancher open both gates. I would recommend a different approach to avoid pestering him. There is a detour to the south, and you can also get in over Basque Summit, but if you try to get a passenger car up Basque Summit you might want to first make sure DeLorme will pay the towing bill. We came out by way of Basque summit. A pickup should do fine.

We went up Smith Creek, and then checked out the northern jeep road which goes past the 9180' spot elevation shown on the topo, and ends at a scenic overlook just north of a 9568' spot elevation. It was getting late, so we camped back at the creek, under a tarp in case of rain. The camp was in trees by a stream, with lots of "cow sign".

Awoke to fog the next morning, went up southern jeep road to 8,600' ridge, then up faint track to bench at 9,000'. From here it was a simple ridge walk to the summit, even in fog. Spotted perhaps 20 sheep right near the top. We were in patchy clouds at the top, and it was kind of pretty at times. Found BM in cairn, and glass jar register. Someone had left a 3 page list of bearings and distances to nearby peaks. Unfortunately it was too cloudy to see any of them.