Jarbidge Peaks


A tough day in the Jarbidge mountains of Nevada is made tougher by snow.

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It was Michael's turn to choose another hair-brained adventure. He chose the Jarbidge mountains in Nevada.

I had been here before; after reading Big Dan's trip report a couple years back, I had tried to climb these peaks with my family in 2006.

So after departing Boise at 4:30, we drove the Clover-Three Creeks road, a 155-mile (total miles from Boise) dirt shortcut, and were on our feet at 8:50. Elevation 6660' (all those sixes are fitting, as jarbidge is allegedly a native american word for devil).

When we got a good look at it, we decided to head up the ridge just south of Snowslide Gulch.


Crossing the highway
It was turing out to be a beautiful day so the views were making up for the hard work. Here's Dave hard at work, breaking the crust straight up the steep hillside. For a while we were able to follow old elk tracks that made sort of a firm trail. But then, not so much... Uptrack

The ridge is very steep for its entire 3500' rise, except for one short descent at about 9000'. That's Jarbidge Peak on the left, Jumbo on the right. Square top is out offrame to the right.

Crossing the highway

...and from higher on the ridge, Matterhorn even farther to the right. It was nice to finally get a view of our first peak of the day.


When we got to the top of the ridge, it was already after noon. We dropped our packs and headed for the summit, traveling light. Shortly after, we all realized we should have worn more clothes, and we should have eaten first. The lack of food would hit me before I got back to my pack.

Hard work

When we finally got to the summit, I was beat. But despite the approach hike on a flat road and the tough snowshoeing, we had done 1000'hour, just like clockwork.

Uptrack to ridge

Now we had to get back to our gear, then follow a long, undulating ridge with several peaks. The saddles between the peaks were mostly around 400', so it didn't look bad on paper. But you can see the rock in the foreground, and the snow was not consistently supportive. And I was tired. Uggh.

Summit ridge
But before we go further, this is looking back at the summit. Impressive drop.
When we got back to the gear, we had something to eat. Then we slugged it out to the top of Square Top. It really is a square top, too. You think you're 10 steps from the summit, only to find out that the true summit is about 10' higher and more than a quarter mile away. This picture is from the summit, looking back. Time: 1:30 Summit

We dropped off the north ridge of Square Top only to have another long ridge to slog up to get to Jumbo. More of the same. Repeat as necessary. I was moving, but not quickly. And after Jumbo, there was Jarbidge Peak....


When I finally got to the top of Jumbo, Dave was searching for the register. It's gotta be in there somewhere....

You can see Jarbidge Peak in the background.

It was now 3:30. Working backwards from full dark at 6, 2-3 hours to descend an unknown ridge, and another hour (at least- my candle was burning down quickly) to get to that next summit, we determined a fourth summit was not in the cards today. Then followed a couple hundred feet of fairly heinous descent down super-steep talus, the kind where whole hillsides move as one. Fortunately, that soon changed to snow that we could sort of walk on.

Dave returning to summit

Dave navigated us all the way down to the road (The Road!) and I was very happy to have my misery and fatigue near an end.

Peak 9367

But first we had to re-cross the technical crux of the climb: the skating rink. This patch of overflow was so slippery you had to be careful about where you went. Little, teeny steps were the order of the day. At one point, Michael got too close to the edge and started sliding inexorably toward the creek. We definitely needed to put on our crampons.

We got back to the car at a little after 5pm. Long, tough day. And glad we didn't fall for the temptation of trying that 4th summit, as close as it was.

We were very happy to find gas in Jarbidge, because the town seemed deserted. Later, Dave was even happier when we stopped at McDonald's, the Mountain Home version of 'haute cuisine.'


SuperDave's trip report


Mr. Natural Home | 2012 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski