Ascent of Smith Mountain on 1999-02-27

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Saturday, February 27, 1999
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Smith Mountain
    Elevation:5913 ft / 1802 m

Ascent Trip Report

The peak was named in 1891by the Merriam expedition for Francis Marion "Borax" Smith, (1846-1931) president of the Pacific Coast Borax Company. (Gudde, p. 313, Hanna, p. 309)

In Death Valley National Park. No permit is required for day hikes in the park. Information on back country camping and regulations is available from the Park Superintendant, Death Valley, Ca. 92328. (760) 786-2331

The climb of Smith Mtn. is simple enough, but the peak has a long dirt road approach on the east side. From Shoshone drive north 1.5 miles and turn west on highway 178 toward Death Valley. After about 6 miles turn right (north) onto unmarked Greenwater Valley Road. Continue north on this good dirt road for 10.5 miles to a junction with an eight foot high pipe on the right side of the road. Turn left (west) onto this road toward Gold Valley. The road is good for about 5 miles and then is eroded and a four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle is needed to get over the pass and descend into Gold Valley. At 8.0 miles go right at a fork and then at 11.1 miles turn sharply left at a junction. Follow this road for about 1.5 miles and park at a small turnout. UTM at this point is: 532150E, 3986780N. The highest part of Smith Mtn. is visible above a dip in a closer ridge on a bearing of 257 degrees. Start the hike heading west on a 260 degree bearing to the mouth of a large canyon. Follow a use trail in the canyon until a headwall with a large white rock face is reached in about 1/2 mile. Go right around this face and ascend a short dry waterfall. From here follow the broad canyon southwest to a ridge. The summit of Smith is now visible about 1/4 mile to the southwest. The benchmark and register are about 1/8 mile WSW of and 25 ft. lower than the high point of the mountain. The 2.5 mile route to the register takes about 2 hours and the gain is 2100 ft. 2/99 RLC
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