Ascent of Big Mountain on 2013-05-30

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, May 30, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Mountain
    Elevation:8594 ft / 2619 m

Ascent Trip Report

I approached Big Mtn from Hwy 140. At the rest area located between Denio and Hwy 95 on Hwy 140 there is a paved road to the west signed as Leonard Creek Road. I zeroed my odometer and headed west. At 7.5 miles the pavement ends and I took the right fork on a great gravel road. At 21.7 miles I slowly went through the Leonard Creek Ranch. At 24.6 miles I went left (the right fork is signed Pearl Camp Road). At 26 miles I went right around another ranch, and at 33.8 miles I went straight through a third ranch. At 40.3 miles there is a small road on the left signed as "Designated Route". This is the road I eventually took but not before going another 1.9 miles to the last ranch on the road that is gated and posted.

The Designated Route is graveled well for the first 2.6 miles, but then is just dirt with some high clearance required. I followed the Designated Route for 4.5 miles where I came to a T intersection. I think turning left would take you down to the Black Rock Desert. I turned right for 0.4 mile and then took a left fork for another 0.4 mile to a locked gate where I parked.

I assumed this was the Pahute Wilderness Boundary since there are Wilderness Boundary signs on the sides of the road. I may have been mistaken. I car camped here for the night and in the morning, I climbed the gate, hiked the road for another 0.4 mile climbed another locked gate, noticed more Wilderness Boundary signs, hiked another 0.3 mile and climbed a third gate, hiked another .25 mile and climbed a fourth gate. On the way back from the summit, I noticed that there was sign facing west that indicated hunters, fishermen, and others are not allowed to go beyond this fourth gate towards the east. In looking at this seemingly isolated piece of property I noticed a couple cows were in this enclosed area of about 40 acres between the 3rd and 4th gates. It would not be difficult to hike around the perimeter of the fence line.

My hike continued up Sheep Creek on the road for about another mile to a fork with a lesser road going right. I took the lesser road that is marked as a "Jeep Trail" on my topo. I followed this road all the way to Big Mountain Spring. At the spring, I left the road and climbed the steep slope behind the spring to the summit plateau. Once on the plateau, it was and easy walk the last mile to the summit. I returned to my truck using the same route. There are some minor ups and downs on the Jeep Trail, but it is good easy hiking. The summit register indicated hunters were more frequent visitors than hikers. There must be an easier way to the summit than the one I took. Hunters don't hike that much...

I did pick up 3 ticks on my hike. There are wild horses in the area. Hunters were after antelope and big horn sheep. There are cows grazing also. I'm not sure where the wilderness boundary is located, but it may be worthwhile to explore more than I did. I couldn't find a route up from the west that wasn't fenced off. There were some faint tire tracks on the Jeep Road, so someone knows how to get up there all the way to Big Mountain Spring. A call to the BLM office may be helpful.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4280 ft / 1304 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:14.9 mi / 24 km
    Route:East Side Sheep Crk
    Trailhead:4514 ft / 1375 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Dennis Poulin
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