Elko County High Point Trip Report
Ruby Dome (11,387 ft)
Date: September 28, 2001
Author: Mike Coltrin
The most common way to approach Ruby Dome is up Hennen Canyon. It is a long hike and involves 5400
feet of elevation gain and about fifteen miles round trip. Five hundred feet of elevation and three miles of
walking can be shaved off the hike by securing a key to the Spring Creek Association Campground.
It is possible to obtain the key (for a fee) from the Spring Creek Property Owners Association, 451 Spring Creek
Parkway, Elko NV 89801, or by calling the office, (702) 753-6295, Mon. - Fri. 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.
Finding the trailhead: From Elko drive 17.2 miles southeast on route 227 toward Lamoille to Pleasant
Valley Road. Turn south and drive 3 miles on a high-speed dirt road to the locked gate of the campground.
If you picked up a key you can drive one and a half more miles to the trailhead. Otherwise, walk from the gate.
I arrived in the area late the night before. I figured it was prudent to do the extra walking rather than
delay my start in order to get a key for the gate.
I began hiking at 7:15 am. It took a half hour to hike the road from the gate to the trailhead at the upper
end of the campground. The trail mostly follows the east side of the creek. At times it climbs out of the
drainage fifty or sixty feet. Occasionally the trail meanders in the creek bottom and can become hard to
follow on account of cow activity. When this happens remember the left hand rule. You will eventually find
the trail on the left (east) side of the creek. The early stretches of the trail are pleasant enough and you can
make good time. After three or four miles the route climbs some rock benches and tread becomes less evident.
Keep an eye out for cairns and it is a simple matter to keep on route all the way to Griswold Lake at 9220.
Pass the lake on the east side then climb southeast to a saddle at 10,140 feet. (This saddle is on the ridge
between Hennen Canyon and the west arm of Seitz Canyon.) Don't worry about getting off route, if you
keep your head about you there are any number of ways to bushwhack to this saddle. Dave Jurasevich's
Desert Peaks Section guidebook says to hike around the left side of a 10,425 foot ridge-line bump and climb
southwest up a large, easy ramp to the cirque northwest of the peak. I found this description deceptive.
As you go past the ridge-line bump, be on the lookout for a string of cairns climbing out of the right side of the
gully you are probably in. Once out of the gully, cross about one hundred and fifty feet of fairly flat ground
and enter a gully system climbing right to left. (If you have the DPS book, this gully is west of the marked
route and comes before the split of the routes shown on the map.) After following this gully up for a few
hundred feet be on the lookout for a route with cairns climbing out the right side of this gully before you
reach its head.
Once you are out of the gully you will probably notice a couple of important things: (1) You want no part
of the rock chutes leading to the ridge west of the summit and (2) there is a prominent cairn on the skyline
west of the chutes. This is what I aimed for. The route went back and forth on ledges and required hands
for balance now and then but was not technically challenging. Once the ridge is attained it is a simple walk
up the last three or four hundred feet to the summit.
The climb took me six hours and fifteen minutes including all rest stops and lunch. I spent 20 minutes on the summit.
The return hike took me just short of four hours. I was bushed.