Turtlehead Mountain

Date: Oct 21, 2014

Participants: Geoff Zenger, Peter Woodsworth

Difficulty: 1/2 (if on route), 2/3 (route taken)

Report: This report contains the story of the first BCMC expedition to Turtlehead Mountain, Nevada.  After a few training days climbing routes in Red Rocks such as Cat in the Hat (all the way to the top of Mescalito), Geronimo, and Physical Graffiti, Peter and I left the rest of our party down in the valley and ventured forth on an unguided, unassisted, siege-style expedition to conquer Turtlehead Mountain.  No fixed ropes were used.

The morning of the ascent, we had an anti-alpine start, and weren’t at the the Sandstone Quarry parking lot until around 10 o’clock when the solar effect on conditions was already considerable, but as experienced mountaineers we elected to make the ascent regardless.  The route wound its way upwards through cliff bands and desert creek washes, and soon we found our way in the large valley/gully leading up to a col just west of the summit.  Unfortunately, due to congestion on the route due to the hordes travelling downhill, our party became separated and although Peter continued upwards to the col via the standard class 1/2 route, I was sucked offroute into a steep gully, which ascended to the ridgeline above the col.  In places the may have approached class 3.

Just past noon we found ourselves on the summit by ourselves where we celebrated with Gatorade, wraps, and a family sized bag of Sun Chips.  Gazing back down the route to the valley and Sin City below we reminisced on our accomplishment and an hour or so later began our way back down.  An epic was avoided (unlike our tale from 3 days earlier) and we were back in camp with only a few hours of daylight to spare.  The rest of our crew had made it up Birdland today, which I must admit looks fairly impressive from below, but it has nothing on the altitude gained on our expedition to Turtlehead Mountain.

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