Pahrump Point, elev. 5,740

30 Nov 2006 - by Linda Emerson

Pahrump is a really fun, classic desert peak. It's not too long or too short, there's no bushwhacking, and it features a winding canyon, an interesting ridge walk, a narrow, rocky summit ridge, and great views from the summit. Plus it's near Delight's Hot Spring in Tecopa, Cafe C'est Si Bon in Shoshone (see below) and the amazing China Ranch Date Farm near the Amargosa River, none of which should be missed if you're visiting this area.

Our trip started with a wonderful dinner at a friend's home in Darwin, population 40, en route to Death Valley National Park. Afterwards, we drove to Shoshone, and from the junction of Highways 127 and 178, we turned left (north) onto Highway 178 (the Charles Brown Highway) and traveled 10.5 miles to a faint dirt road heading northeast across the Chicago Valley toward the Nopah Range. We turned right onto the dirt road and drove a short distance (0.1-0.2 miles) to the signed Wilderness boundary. We parked here and car-camped on a very cold, clear night.

We got up early the next morning to find that Eve's one-gallon water container had frozen solid. There was no wind, and it was a gorgeous day, but it was really cold. We bundled up in our down jackets, and at around 7 a.m., began walking up the road. Two miles later, we reached the end of the road at the mouth of a canyon at the base of the mountain. From here, we hiked up the canyon, following it through three 90-degree bends to a fork at 3,770 feet. Use trails appear intermittently in the canyon and throughout the entire route. There are also numerous (too many) ducks marking the route.

We took the left fork and followed it to another fork at 4120 feet. This time, we took the right fork and continued up the canyon until we were within 100 feet of a dry waterfall near 4,800 ft. At this point, we headed to the right and climbed up a steep, loose slope to a saddle on a ridge at 5100 ft. We then hiked up the ridge, following a faint use trail, through a ducked notch and past a window rock to a large chute. We followed the chute up and to the right, back onto the ridge. Turning left on the ridge, we followed it up to the summit ridge, where we turned left again and proceeded up the rocky, sometimes narrow ridge to the top.

Visibility was as good as it gets, and we took in views of a dozen other DPS-list peaks from the summit. After a few photos, a snack, and signing into the summit register, we returned the way we came. We were back to our truck by 1:30 p.m. Round trip stats for the hike: 6.5 hrs (including half an hour on the summit), about 3,400 ft gain and approx 8 miles.

Of course, no trip to this area is complete without enjoying at least one meal at Shoshone's own French cafe, C'est Si Bon. At this wonderful, quirky little restaurant, David the owner serves up some of the best food on the east side. He specializes in crepes, but he also offers soup, salad, quiche, lasagna and other culinary delights. In Shoshone! The cafe is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Monday and Tuesday. Don't miss it.

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