Trip type: snowshoe Knoll Mountain Snowshoe

Date of trip: 03/28/2010

Mileage: 7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2847 Feet

Time: 4 Hours

Class:

Partners: None

GPS Track: NA

Featured Photo:
P1020460
Peaks Climbed on Trip:
Peak Name Elevation Prominence Range Close to County highpoint Range highpoint Map
Knoll Mountain87602790H DJackpot, NevadaNoYes41.61946,-114.63226

Trip Report

Some of the guys in my group at work get together for a annual party in Jackpot, Nevada. I went down there for that. After a night of too much Patron, smoke-filled casinos, and a room with 5 snoring men; I awoke at 8am with only a few hours of sleep and plans to climb Knoll Mountain. Knoll Mountain is the highpoint of the HD range, which is a high, bald ridge that runs north to south, basically all the way from Jackpot to Wells. It is located on the east side of US 93. In addition to being a range highpoint, Knoll Mountain has 2,790 feet of prominence, #80 of Nevada’s 172 peaks with over 2000’ of prominence. In other words, the peak stands out from the area around it and has terrific views.

A bit more history, the name Knoll Mountain comes from a Mr. Knoll, who was part of the Alabama Mining District that discovered silver on nearby Blanchard Mountain. Mining was noticeable on Knoll Mountain, with numerous claim markers and diggings all over the hill sides (nothing crazy like the Owyhees, just small little mines). The peak had a summit register, which was placed on top in 1999. I believe 8 people had signed it since, which included 3 people in 2009. I was the first to climb it in 2010. I also believe I am the first to climb it with significant snow on the ground.

I was a bit worried about road conditions as I drove toward the peak. I wanted to get to 6300’, which would leave me about 2500’ of gain and a reasonable 4 miles each way to the summit. However, the snow level seemed to be spotty around 6000’. It would be iffy for me to get where I wanted.

I followed the road for 7 miles from the highway before hitting even wet dirt on the road. It was cold the night before and the road was frozen hard, which I realized when I crossed a small creek that was thickly covered in ice. I continued onto 8.5 miles from the highway. This put me just where I wanted to be and the road got horrible just after that, so I couldn’t have gone further anyway.

I started hiking in beautiful blue skies and light winds. The road I was following was ˝ snow covered and ˝ dirt. So I followed the dirt portion for about a mile before being on mostly snow. I made my way through the flats and eventually to the base of Knoll Mountain’s west ridge. The snow had been bullet proof the whole time. From the valley, the west ridge looked climbable. I made it up about 200’ before I started punching through the 3 or 4 foot snow. I put on the snow shoes at this point (around 7000’) and that kept me on top of the snow. I snowshoed to the top of a small point on the west ridge. 4 frustrating things then occurred all at once… the wind was blowing hard and I was cold, I had to cross a fence with snowshoes on, I was feeling the effects of no sleep and too much tequila the night before, and the point I was on was connected to the rest of the west ridge, so I had to drop about 200 feet down to gain the ridge. All of those issues were forgotten 10 minutes later and I was making my way up the peak. At 7800’ I found a spot out of the wind and sat down for a snack. Wind grabbed one of my gloves and sent it about 300 feet down the peak. I wasn’t going down to get it, so it would have to be retrieved on descent. Luckily, I had a second pair of gloves.

What had been perfect snow to this point was getting worse. But not horrible… it was just inconsistent. At around 8000’ I could see the peak. I chose a route on shallow snowpack to get me to the barren ridge. This worked well, as the shallow snow was hardpacked. I reached the ridge at 8350’. I took off my snowshoes, put on parka and snowpants and cruised headed back upward. I was amazed at how much faster I could move without the parka and snowpants on my back and the snowshoes off my feet. The last 400 feet were uneventful except for a strong wind. Despite a strong wind, I was elated as the views were great. I found the summit register, signed in, took some photos, texted the wife that I was safe, then got out of dodge.

On the way down I found my glove, which led me to descend into a different drainage. This route worked fine. Now back at the truck I had only one last concern, how horrible were the roads going to be now that they were unthawed?! It turned out only a few spots were bad and then I was onto dry, dusty roads in no time. Great day in the mountains!


Getting There

About 23 miles south of Jackpot (or 39 miles north of Wells), turn east onto County Highway 771. The road is sign Knoll Creek Ranch. I followed the road for 8.5 miles. To that point, the road is doable without 4x4. However, the road surface is greasy when wet, so if a thunderstorm hits and you are without 4x4, life might get tough.


Hiking Directions

I just went up the west face (ridge).


Photos

View Slideshow

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