Esmeralda County High Point Trip Report

Boundary Peak (13,140 ft)

Date: August 30, 2003
Authors: Dave and Beckie Covill

We climbed Boundary Peak, HP of Nevada, with Chris, and my brother Pete from MA (sea level) over the Labor Day weekend. We entered via the north, Queen Mine Canyon approach. There are numerous trip reports out there on this, half saying it's great, half saying it stinks. Add me to those in favor of it. I drove my Rodeo in 2WD most of the way up, and could probably have gone all the way. Anyone who says this is a rough road is a weenie. A Subaru would get to the saddle easily. I drove 100 feet up from the saddle to a little parking area by the trailhead but it was totally unnecessary to do so. There were a couple of rocks that you would clunk on, but I just went to one side of each.

From the CA/NV border on Highway 6, go east a mile to a gravel forest access road, unmarked. On the north side it a sign with the letters "JR" fairly large on a water tank I think, and a smaller sign proclaiming "Janie's Ranch", ostensibly a house of ill repute from days gone by. Turn onto the good gravel road on the south side of the highway, and follow a good road 6.1 miles to where there is evidence of digging. It is flat here, and a 2WD car could park here, and you could camp here. Continue past the sharp but doable switchback at mile 6.9, to the saddle at 7.5. Here you are at about 9,900 feet. The saddle is wide, flat, and open. You can continue up another 0.1 mile to the trailhead but it is steep and silly - just park.

Once at the little trailhead sign, look uphill to the south. You DO NOT want to ever be in the woods along the slope! Trust me. The better trail leads here but dies out shortly, leaving a steep bushwhack. Recall that most trails are animal trails. Instead, follow a tiny path zigzagging upwards straight up through open grassy hillside, to the left and east of the trees, to the top of the east-west trending ridge. From here, a better path goes just to the southern edge of the ridge for a mile, then directly along the crest another mile, to the hillock just north of Trail Canyon saddle. Follow a contouring path down about 75 feet to the saddle, bypassing this hillock. This 75 feet must be regained on the return, but is so minimal it might as well be flat. >From here, the standard trail up the scree slope to the 12,000+ foot sub peak and then on along the short ridge and up the spine following a few cairns, to the top. We dodged the large outcrop about 300 feet below the summit by going to the left, south, side of it. Note, it is only downhill maybe 100 feet to the saddle to Montgomery Peak in CA. It looks a little rugged, but very doable, to go to this higher peak. Beckie, Chris, & Pete were keen to head down, so we blew it off.

We saw mustangs at the far west end of Trail Canyon, above timberline, just below from our ridge vantage point. It is several miles down the canyon to where we could see vehicles parked at the regular TH, and we needed binoculars to do so. We saved at least 1, maybe 2 miles, and at last 500 feet in starting elevation.

Nice hike, although the scree is rough. Bring scree gaiters for sure! Bring at least 3 liters of water, maybe 4 on a hot day. I now have 48 state HPs, Beckie 47, Chris 46. Rainier next July!

If you are contemplating a soak at Benton Hot Springs, better call in advance. It is a strange setup there; no large communal pool, just 6-7 tiny ones, one for each of the cabins at their B&B. Nice looking place, but they were booked up.