Ascent of Bunker Hill on 2019-11-03

Climber: William Inman

Others in Party:Jon Wells
Date:Sunday, November 3, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Bunker Hill
    Elevation:11473 ft / 3496 m

Ascent Trip Report

Knocking out another Nevada county highpoint before the end of the year, I was joined again by Jon Wells. We had no trouble finding Basin Canyon by previous trip reports and Google Maps. As is too often our habit, we didn't get underway on the hike until 12:06 PM. Since Daylight Savings Time had just ended that very day, I knew that as far as daylight was concerned, it was already 1:06, and sunset would come way too soon. Knowing from other trip reports that the first part would be scrambling up the north side of that canyon, we got busy. Reaching the ridge was a relief, and we started towards the east at a now faster pace. Jon had not trained as much as I had though and was starting to lag. He also has knee problems and told me before that if the terrain got too steep or uneven, he might have to stop. Well, he made it to above 10,000', but soon stopped and told me he'd see when I came back down.

With one eye on the constantly sinking sun and the other on the almost 1/4 moon and wondering how much light it would provide, I tried to make headway as best as possible. I reached 11,000' at 3:35 (would have been 4:35 by yesterday's time), but only took an hour and 5 minutes from 10,000', so I was making pretty good progress. Finally, after the extremely steep north slope up the first false summit, I was able to work my way around to the west to get back into the sun. I'm not really sure how much that helped though, because it was also on the side the wind was coming from. I didn't want to waste energy climbing that first false summit, so skirted around it on the west side. Eventually I saw the saddle between it and the ridge where the larger radio installation and the true summit were, so angled towards that. From there it wasn't too far to the top and I could see the true summit not far ahead. Reached it at 4:08, and the sun was still up. Did not see a summit register and didn't spend more than a few seconds looking around. Took a few pictures and then headed down - I wanted to do as little of the return trip after dark as possible!

It was while I was descending that really steep north slope that the sun set. I was in the shadow at that time, but could see the slopes of the next peak ahead of me turn orange and then finally lose all illumination. Fortunately, the moon was high enough in the sky that it was visible, however I was well beyond the area I'd feared might block the moonlight before it became brighter than the twilight.

Things went pretty well to the area I dived off to go down that steep slope into the canyon again, with a few missteps and snagging a foot on some brush occasionally, but was always able to catch myself. Once things started getting steep on the side of the canyon and I started getting into trees and bigger brush, I turned the light on. Going down that steep slope into the canyon is where I actually slipped and fell - at least 3 or 4 times. Fortunately, falling back onto my rear-end while going down such a steep slope didn't make for a very big drop!! Finally reached the car at 6:53.

My 14th Nevada county highpoint. :-)
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3208 ft / 977 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3208 ft / 977 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1 and 2
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Clear and warm below where protected from the wind
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3208 ft / 977 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Route:NV.Co.HP . Basin Canyon route
    Start Trailhead:8265 ft / 2519 m
    Time:4 Hours 2 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3208 ft / 977 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    End Trailhead:8265 ft / 2519 m
    Time:2 Hours 38 Minutes

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