Ascent of Bunker Hill on 2017-07-04

Climber: Dave Covill

Others in Party:Beckie Covill
Date:Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Bunker Hill
    Elevation:11473 ft / 3496 m

Ascent Trip Report

Avoid Sawmill Canyon !!!!

OK, yes, I have seen the reports noting to go up Basin Canyon. Somehow we missed it. Yes I saw the TR on how to differentiate between the two.... I did not bring it alas..... Shameful.

We drove til we found a canyon going by the FR494 road up Basin, and headed up Sawmill. First 0.3 is OK, then it turns to marshy muddy grass. A full sized vehicle (non-ATV) of any type could not have drive past about 0.5 anyways. We nearly got stuck, and I slammed it into reverse and backed down 0.1 and turned it around.

OK - now for the good part of this TR.

We climbed Bunker Hill on the 4th of July, and got a nice photo on top with a 69c US flag we scored from Walmart a few days prior for the occasion. We were there to purchase extra TP believe it or not....

We humped it up the stream bed / trail to the head of the canyon, figured out for sure we were in the wrong canyon, and then steeply climbed up sage terrain to the saddle just beyond point 9,131' and joined where we were supposed to be. This took a lot out of us, having hiked 3 days in a row in NV prior.

From there, standard ascent, halfway decent wildflowers, great day albeit hot, and we got to the top. Nope, false summit. Then another! Finally made it past the two little bumps with shacks and out the nice rocky narrow ridge to the high ground. Good register with the usual cast of characters, augmented by many Nevadans.

We departed and came down, walking N to NW all the way down the final slopes into Sawmill Canyon, leaving high ground about 2PM and getting to the car about 2:35. Took us maybe 5 minutes to pack up and split, and another minute to drive out to the main Kingston Canyon road. Beckie yells at me "What's that?!?!?" and looks to the right, North, up canyon. Maybe 2-3 miles away (seemed much closer at first) was an enormous dark cloud, like a nuclear bomb. WTF? We didn't see it walking straight at it less than an hour earlier, even a half hour. Huge wildfire. We booked down to the lake and CG and alerted people, and drove out to Kingston and NV 376 hwy. We were then able to see it again as we drove back N to US 50. Massive blaze, burning on the eastern flanks of the range, about 4 miles N of Bunker Hill itself, kind of close to North Toyaibe Peak. It was about due SW of the irrigation circle on a ranch a several miles N of Kingston hamlet, easily visible on the aerial photo. Probably about 2-3 miles crow fly from where our car was. So glad we didn't see it earlier, as we might have panicked and ran to the car. Turns out the wind was blowing it to the ENE, away from us. Lots of emergency vehicles were beginning to file in to the area. Glad we snuck out. Wow...

4:20 up, taking our time, 2:05 down. Brought 2 quarts of water apiece, wished for another pint or so...


We stayed the night before in Austin NV at Pony Canyon motel, with Kim. Nice place, better than the other 2 joints. $58. We hung out at the only place open on Monday, the bar, and partied with locals who actually dragged a BBQ grill outside of the bar onto the sidewalk, ran home and fetched lamb and other meats, and fed us. We had brats and buns and chips to contribute, but it was not a fair trade for sure. Austin has no good options for food on a Monday, regardless of it being a holiday weekend....

Fallon NV was 99d as we passed through it on the way E on US 50. Cool sand dunes on the way, both W of Austin and more E of Austin. Made it all the way to I-15 in Utah and holed up for the night, enroute back to CO.

This was our 3rd NV COHP in 3 days, and we went birding in Lamoille Canyon near Ruby Dome the day before that on Saturday the 1st, so we were pretty flogged by Bunker Hill. I was proud of Beckie to hang in there that many days in a row. She now has 9 NV COHPS, and I have 14. It will be another year or two to finish for me.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3673 ft / 1119 m
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3673 ft / 1119 m
    Start Trailhead:Sawmill Canyon 0.3 miles up  7800 ft / 2377 m
    Time:4 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 5 Minutes

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