Ascent of Mount Grant on 2004-10-09

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Date:Saturday, October 9, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Grant
    Elevation:11280 ft / 3438 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mt. Grant at 11,280+ feet is the jewel of Mineral County Nevada. This was my last climb in a busy week of County Highpointing in Nevada. I climbed Mt. Grant on October 9, 2004 as my 17th and final county highpoint in Nevada. Mt. Grant was the 8th county highpoint in 8 days in Nevada. Nevada doesn’t have any easy highpoints.

I approached Mt. Grant by following other Trip Reports. From the town of Hawthorne on the east side of Mt. Grant, I first drove south on SR 359 about 4.0 miles and then I turned right or west onto a well maintained dirt road. I stayed on this road over a pass and down into a valley for 18.6 miles. At this point there is a 4 way intersection and I turned right north onto another well maintained dirt road and followed it north and north east for another 14.0 miles. At this point there is an unmarked rough dirt road that takes off to the right or east towards Lapon Canyon. This road is rough. A high clearance vehicle is mandatory. 4WD is not necessary because the road gently gains a little elevation over the next 3.7 miles. This road is slow going because of all the rocks in the road.

Eventually I came to a washout on the road that I didn’t attempt in my 2WD vehicle. This washout is at about 6,840 feet elevation. This washout is new this year and no one had driven past it except one ATV. Probably a hunter in search of his prize. I backed down the road a bit until I could get off the road and car camped for the night.

I knew I was in for a long hike to Mt. Grant, so I started early the next morning. I used a headlamp for the first hour and just followed the road up to an abandoned mine. The road is overgrown in spots with weeds 8ft high, but it is still easy to follow in the dark. There is an adit on the left side of the road at the mine, and just past this adit the road makes a sharp switchback up and above the adit. I kept following this road up. There are branches off this rough road but keep choosing the uphill branch. This road is quite overgrown in spots, but is easy to follow. After about 10 switchbacks the road ends on the side of the mountain, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Look up about 300 vertical feet to a ridge line. I marked this point with my GPS so I could find it again on my trip down.

From here it is cross country up to the ridge line. It is steep and you have to move around some bushes and trees, but these are not a problem. Aim for any point on the ridge line. On top there is a nice dirt road that parallels the ridge line. I also marked the point where I reached the ridge line on my GPS.

I checked my watch and it took me 2 hours to reach the ridge line. This is a good spot for a break. Follow the road to the right or south as it gently descends into a small valley. A few hundred yards down the road you come to a barb wire fence with a barb wire gate that is locked. There are no signs on the fence or gate about restricted access, so I continued on to Mt. Grant by climbing over the fence. Rumor has it that this is the boundary for the Hawthorne Ammunition Depot, but it is not posted anywhere that I could see. Since it is not posted as restricted access, Mt. Grant must be open for hikers but not motor vehicles. At least that was the story I was prepared to tell if challenged.

This road continues on down to a 5 way junction with other dirt roads at elevation 9,100 feet. Mt. Grant is very visible to the east and the dirt road I took is the one that I could see switchbacking up the hillside. There is a sign at this intersection that says “Grant Summit 6.5”. I followed this road and it gently climbs up the mountain. I did have 5 deer come and look me over. They didn’t seem to be too shy even though it was hunting season.

At about 10,200 feet there is a spring that was running and the water looked good. In colder weather, I’m sure this would be frozen.

I continued to follow this never ending dirt road up to its end. It ends next to the summit. The summit looks like a huge cairn. It is a pile of rocks about 200 feet high that you have to climb. I think most people go straight at this rockpile from the end of the road and then trend towards the east or Hawthorne side of this obstacle. The rocks seem to be fairly stable and don’t move around too much, but always be prepared for one that moves under foot. I took my time until I got to the top and sat on a big gray rock that was ground zero for some large bird droppings.

There was no register that I could find to sign. So I let out a big “Wahoooooo” to tell the world that I was there and completed all the county highpoints in Nevada. I ate my lunch and took some pictures and then headed down.

On the way down, I shortcut the switchbacks above the 5 way intersection. I followed the road just a short distance until I could see the spring below me and then headed down straight for it. Once on the road again near the spring, I followed the road out until I could see the 5 way intersection again and then headed cross country straight for the intersection. These shortcuts cut several miles off the return trip and if I ever return to this mountain, I would take the shortcuts up the mountain as well.

The rest of the return trip to the car was uneventful and I reached the car about 8.25 hours after I started. This is a big hike with about 5,000 feet of elevation gain in 17 miles. If I had taken the shortcut on the way up I could have eliminated 3-4 miles.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5000 ft / 1524 m
    Round-Trip Distance:17 mi / 27.4 km
    Trailhead:6280 ft / 1914 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country

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