Nelson Bump

26 May 2009 - by Steve Eckert

I parked in a wash where my car's clearance wasn't enough (waypoint NEL2WD). Walking a few feet up the 4WD road, just far enough to clear the low hills that the wash had cut through, I turned toward the peak in a small gravelly wash. (If you continue to the 4WD trailhead, waypoint NEL4WD, you'll traverse south across a large wash to climb the ridge.) The walking was generally easy as I made my way toward the old mine and 4WD parking area, but coming back I took a more efficient line (see map) straight between my car and the summit.

Waypoints are all on the trailhead page.

Nelson's southwest shoulder at about 7500' (waypoint NELSWS) is a good target to shoot for no matter from which angle you are approaching. The wash to the south of that is steep, loose, and ugly. The vague ridge that drops west from the shoulder is the best footing, and the lower you are the more choices you have for where to climb.

From the trailhead, look for a gray outcropping and then find an orange outcropping to the right of that. Climb to the right of the orange outcropping, finding good footing around waypoint NELSWR. Head for the left edge of the 7.5k shoulder (waypoint NELSWS), then turn straight uphill from there to the summit ridge proper (waypoint NELRID). Above the shoulder the footing improves considerably, with forest duff replacing scree/talus.

That's it! I spent about 1.5 hours getting from my car to the summit, arriving at 7am having never walked in the sun until the top. So I guess technically I was there for sunrise!

I wonder why the USGS map labels the BM at the summit "GALENA"? There is an old (1987) register which never got filled, and a newer one (placed in 1999) showing more entries. I particularly enjoyed Doug Mantle's entry from Nov 1998. He summed up climbing Nelson Ridge as "the best I could muster today", having just gotten a rental truck stuck on Manly. It wasn't clear whether his "very unpleasant" entry referred to Manly or Nelson: I thought Nelson was pleasant, but not exciting. Do it as part of a day where you need to do something else!

Looking North from Nelson Range:

PS: I've heard there are nice blue rocks to be found at one of the area mines, but I'm not sure which one and I'm not sure if it's private property.

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