Lander County High Point Trip Report

Bunker Hill (11,473 ft)

Date: July 6, 2002
Author: Michael Schwartz

Made good use of Mike Coltrin's and Scott Surgent's reports.

A little less than four miles north of the Lander/Nye County line on NV 376, go west on the road signed for Kingston, pass through town, pass Kingston campground at 5.5 miles, ranger station at 8.2 miles, and fork right at about 10 miles. Zero odometer. Pass entrance to Sawmill Canyon at 0.9 mile, entrance to Kingston Creek at 1.4 miles, entrance to Deer Canyon at 1.6 miles, and saddle northwest of the spot elevation 9335 at 2.4 miles. The 4WD track road up to spot elevation 9335 is as steep as advertised, but saves 600 feet of gain. Coltrin/Surgent cover the hike details nicely.

I was feeling very poorly at the start, but the long traverse to the 10,060 saddle northeast of the summit ridge gave me a chance to recover. Everything is wide open, so the route is obvious. The infamous PVC summit register can be opened by judiciously whacking the cover with a sharp edged rock. Found Andy's card, paper left by Ken Akerman, Bob Packard's 1997 entry (his 190th cohp!), John Vitz 1988, and entries back to 1984. No one had signed in since Scott's visit in May. Looking down from the summit ridge, one sees a track road extending quite far up Sawmill Canyon. It looks as if one could hike from the end of that road, gain the ridge to the southwest, and follow that ridge southeast to the summit ridge at about 10,300 feet. This sounds like the route Scott Surgent used on his descent.

On my return drive, I measured the beginning of the track road as being 1.4 miles below the saddle northwest of spot elevation 9335, and the location of Sawmill Canyon is described above if coming up from Kingston. The track road is signed as [FR] 002A, and looked like definite high clearance/4WD stuff. I did not drive it to check it out. If one could get far enough up the road to come close to matching the gain of the spot elevation 9335 starting point, the route should be much shorter and straightforward. The entrance to Sawmill Canyon is only at about 7800 feet, a big sacrifice in gain if one opted to start hiking from there.

Hiking times: 3 hours 20 minutes up, 2 hours 15 minutes down.