Mica Peak (NV)

January 7, 2022


Lake Mead East, NV

Mica Peak locates in a remote area to the east of Lake Mead. This peak is probably better known as a “dual P1000m objective” together with Jumbo Peak to the south. The official height of Jumbo Peak is 2 feet higher than Mica Peak but 2 feet is well within the error range such that the two peaks are basically equally high. Jumbo Peak boasts over 1000 m prominence but it could well be Mica Peak that actually boasts the prominence. The ascent of Mica Peak is much easier than Jumbo Peak as it’s merely a walk-up while Jumbo Peak is a class 4/5 climb. Rob and I had climbed Jumbo Peak earlier in the morning.

The start of the route is at the broad pass between Mica Peak and Gold Butte. The drive to this starting point is considerably rougher than Jumbo Peak’s such that a 4×4, high clearance vehicle was definitely required. I had no problem navigating the maze of spur roads in my Tacoma. The last spur road was not even marked on the Gaia map but thankfully we had also downloaded the satellite images and the USGS topo map for navigation. Combing all three map layers the navigation was not a problem.

Mica Peak via west ridge. GPX DL

The pass between Mica Peak and Gold Butte was extremely windy such that we could barely get out of the vehicle. We hassled eat some food inside the truck before committing to the windy hike. As we ascended higher on the west ridge system the wind was no longer that crazy, but we were still pushed by the wind from time to time. We mostly just followed the crest of the west ridge all the way to the summit with only small detours mostly on the south side. There aren’t much worth noting about this hike other than the three or four false summits. We all wanted to just get the job done and move on, so those false summits were very frustrating.

My truck parked at Mica Peak/Gold Butte pass
Tramp Ridge to the north
Looking back towards Gold Butte. Too bad we didn’t have extra time to bag it.
Starting to see Lake Mead again
Rob leading the route up the meandering west ridge
Rob traversing a flatter stretch with Jumbo Peak behind
Plodding up the west ridge with Virgin Peak behind
We didn’t pay too much attention to route-finding and did some scrambling
Looking back from much higher on the west ridge. The views were definitely awesome.
Passing one false summit after another…
Some cool desert vegetation that I’m too lazy to figure out the names
Partial Summit Panorama from Mica Peak. Click to view large size.
Partial Summit Panorama from Mica Peak. Click to view large size.
Looking back towards Jumbo Peak that we climbed a few hours earlier
Gold Butte in the foreground
Tramp Ridge in the foreground with Mormon Peak far in the distance
Virgin Peak is a tall and prominent summit in the vicinity
The Grand Canyon’s rim started to become visible
A closer look at Lake Mead
Me on the summit of Mica Peak

After soaking in enough of the views we rushed the descent. Rob and I took turn setting the fast pace back across the summit ridge. To descend the lower west ridge we got into a jogging mode to finish the round trip in just over 1.5 hours. I then negotiated a different spur road to drive back to the main Gold Butte Road which we followed northwards all the way to Whitney Pocket. We still had a long ass drive northwards to Mesquite before hopping onto I-15 back towards Las Vegas. We got back to Adam’s home at dinner time so we all stuffed in another massive Chipotle bowl. In the evening I booked the PCR COVID test which was unfortunately mandatory to cross border back into Canada. I made a rough plan for the last three days to bag a few more peaks while driving back home via California.

We again, did some harder-than-necessary scrambling on the descent
Rob traversing around some jagged parts on the south ridge of the ridge
Descending the lower slopes now, with Gold Butte starting to look bigger again