Boundary Wilderness

Boundary Peak, Nevada (13,140')

part of the hiking pages on muellerworld

Table of Contents:

Trip Report

Friday, October 3, 1997

I left Simi Valley, California at 4:00pm heading for Dyer, Nevada, some 330 miles away. My trip took me through Mojave, Lone Pine and Big Pine, California, before heading through the mountains into Nevada (see bottom of page for directions). I had borrowed several audio books for the trip (knowing that there were not many radio stations in the desert), Garrison Keeler's "WLT" kept me company for most of the 6 hour trip. Most of my trip was done in the dark, but I found Dyer, Nevada and blew right through it before I knew it. 17.7 miles north of Dyer is a junction with Nevada Route 3A. I switched audio books to Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations" and found the dirt road just south of the Route 3A intersection. The road heads west into the mountains.

The road was decent, somewhat washboarded, but tolerable at about 25mph (see milage chart). After a few miles, it started to wind its way through and around some small foothills (I assumed, since it was dark). I had been told that I needed to go about 8 miles in to find the trailhead. After the roads had narrowed, steepened and after 11 miles, I realized I had no idea where I was. To make things worse, I had not gotten gas for 200+ miles, and was left with only an eighth of a tank. After a few dead ends, and trailing down a few roads that didn't seem right, I decided to return to the gas station in Dyer and fill up.

The gas station had closed several hours before my arrival and the sign said that it would not reopen until 8am Saturday. I was bummed, because I wanted to get an early start at the mountain. Across the street, there was a gathering of people at what looked like a bar, so I drove over to see if anyone could point me in the direction of the nearest gas station. Camping behind a store in Dyer, Nevada Getting out of the car, I realized that this was not a bar, but a curiosity shop, and that the gathering of people mostly represented one demographic: drunk, white, middle-aged, men. Fortunately the closest one was the owner of the shop and sober. He said that the nearest gas was 60 or so miles away, but offered to call the gas station owner to get me gas (if it was an emergency). I told him that I would wait until the morning, but asked for his suggestion of a place to camp. He said I was welcome to stay out back, behind his store. I thanked him and started asking him about Boundary Peak. As we talked, a very intoxicated man sort of stumbled our way, until he reached the driver's side door of a full sized truck. As he leaned on the truck's door another truck pulled off of the road and slowed down a little, but did not stop. I watched in horror as the guy in the moving truck rammed the rear of the truck that the sick guy was using for support. The guy just hopped out of the truck and said hi to everyone as I worked my way back to my Subaru wagon. I pulled around to the rear of the place and backed up near a fence. There were a couple of guys wandering around the side of the building, and I was a little nervous about my situation. I moved my car back in behind a semi tractor trailer, in among a few piles of stuff near a rusted out car, and decided to just fall asleep in the back of my car. I tried not to think about weird things happening in the middle of nowhere with drunk good-old-boys nearby. Nothing happened.

Saturday, October 4, 1997

At 8:00am, I drove across the street and up to a pump. Before I got around the car, a woman came out of the store and explained that those pumps were broken and that I would have to back-up to the other ones. I did. Shortly after I began filling my tank, a tan S-10 pick-up came flying across the street and skidded to a stop right in front of my car. A forty-ish blond woman asked me frantically if I was pumping gas. I said yes. She said that the store is not open and that the pumps shouldn't be on. I pointed to the large neon OPEN sign but she dismissed it and said "it's not your fault, but the store is closed!" as she disappeared inside, only to see the cashier and a few local customers. I topped off the tank and went inside. She apologized and said that the store usually opened at 9am on Saturdays (I had read the sign wrong the night before). Apparently the cashier had thought it was Sunday and opened up at 8am (my lucky day!). We all laughed about it, and I took off for the trail.

The dirt road leaving Route 264 heading west into the mountains B&B Mine area B&B Mine area Getting near the trailhead

I retraced my route from last night, heading 17.7 miles up to the intersection with Route 3A and followed the road back into the mountains. This time, it was apparent that where I had turned around (twice) last night was the correct road it pointed straight at the forepeak of Boundary. Before long I came to the trout lake and then to the trailhead. Two men were just leaving as I arrived, I said "hi" to one of them and he was off. It took me about 10 minutes to dress and pack before I departed.

My car in the Parking Area Trail Register Where the trail starts

I left the trailhead at 9:25am (Click here for a Map of the trail I took to the summit). Shortly after the barricade (logs) there was a registration box, where I was the fifth hiker to check in that morning (two were just a few minutes in front of me). The first couple of hundred yards of the trail were a reclaimed section of road. Grasses and small trees were the vegetation. The stream was on my left. After a short walk, the trail crossed the stream so that the stream now was on the right. The vegetation was still grasses and small trees, but was starting to get brushy. The trail was well-worn and very obvious. After 12 minutes of relatively-flat hiking I came across a "Boundary Peak Wilderness" sign, as I walked up the valley towards my destination.

Early in the hike Boundary Wildernes sign early in the hike Brushy Trail Bristlecone Pine Trees as the valley heads to the left towards Boundary Peak

The trail became overgrown with bushes still easy to follow, but very bushy. Long pants area very good idea on this section of trail. There was horse dung everywhere, but I didn't see any of the wild horses said to roam the area. The valley started to curve to the left, heading straight for the upper end of the creek the trail followed. On the slope to my left were bristlecone pine trees. At 10:10am, I passed close to a pine tree and between two posts sticking up.

The valley that leads to Boundary Peak (False Summit Visible) Looking back from where I had just come from Farther up the valley, looking back Starting up the steep Talus

After the valley curved left, the trail became more sandy and increasingly steeper. For the next 2 hours and 43 minutes, I slogged up an unending talus slope which was in excess of 45 degree slope in parts. The footing grew increasingly worse and with each step, I would slide backwards a little. I caused many mini-avalanches as I ascended.

Half-way up the steep Talus, looking left Half-way up the steep Talus, looking right

I reached the col at 12,000 feet at 12:53pm. There is an obvious ridge towards the summit. This ridge is covered in boulders, and the trail is intermittent, but the way to go is plain to see - up. The wind was considerable as I crested the ridge, so I paused momentarily to put on my outer shell jacket and remove my ball cap that I almost lost to the wind. As I climbed above 12,000' I heard an unnatural clicking sound nearby. It continued with me for a minute or two, but I still saw nothing. I stopped and listened, and approached the other side of the ridge, only to find that I had rejoined with Bruce and Scott, the hikers that I had seen early on in the day. They had taken another route up the mountain (via Trail Canyon Saddle), but we were now on the summit approach together (they were hiking with ski poles and the clicking sound was the metal tips hitting the boulders).

At 1:25pm we summited Nevada. Part of Mono Lake was visible to the west, and the craggy Montgomery Peak was ever-present to the immediate south. Off in the distance to the south was White Mountain Peak, California's third highest peak (14,263'), and the apex of the White Mountain Range. The volcano hills were to the north, and we could see the highways forming a large semi-circle from Dyer, north and then south again into Bishop.

Summit Rocks Summit Rocks Summit Photo

Montgomery Peak, Califfornia to the south Bruce & Scott on the summit

With not a cloud in the sky, we enjoyed a long rest and lunch in the lee of a large rock overhang, just below the USGS survey marker. The three of us signed the register that was crammed full with at least 6 years of paper. We saw comments all the way back from 1991, including several highpointers. The register was a small silver box wedged below a rock, about 3 feet from the survey marker.

View to the East View to the Northwest View to the North View to the South - White Mountain Peak in the distance

At 2:15pm we started our descent after taking each other's summit photos. In 10 minutes I arrived at the col and waited for the two to join me to discuss our decent. I decided that the path I came up would work because the talus would allow a quick descent. Scott and Bruce started to follow my lead, but decided after I had descended 200' that they would continue along the ridge to a less rocky chute. The decent was rough going. Although I had climbed in talus all the way up, all I could find on the way down was rock. Looking down the steep slope, I could see the trail I ascended, but it never seemed to be there when I got there. Eventually, I found some talus and made quick progress down the hill. Towards the bottom of the steepest part, I rejoined the horse dung-covered trail and continued towards the bristlecone pine trees. By 4:00pm, I had signed-out at the register and started getting ready to leave the area.

On descent On descent View from the Highway west of Boundary Peak, heading back into California

On my way out, I saw the owner of the store I camped behind last night. He and his family were fishing for trout at the pond. I thanked him again for allowing me to use his backlot as a campground, and said goodbye. There were a few couples having a picnic near the lake as I drove past. I decided to take the same trail out as I came in on, hoping to avoid any chance of wandering aimlessly in the hills again. I reached Route 268 at 5:00pm and started my 330+ mile drive back to the Los Angeles Area.

Outside Bishop, California, I met a state trooper who's interest I had attracted after crossing his path 17 miles an hour over the 65mph speed limit. The rest of the trip was uneventful all the way back through Big Pine, Lone Pine, Mojave and eventually home to Encino. In 30 hours I had driven about 800 miles, camped-out for 8 hours, hiked 9 miles and made it back just in time for a friend's birthday party Saturday night. Sunday was a recuperation day.

Comments about the Hike:

Web Resources:

Other sources of information:

Driving Directions:

Driving information from Major Cities
City Distance Yahoo! Driving Directions
Los Angeles 309 miles LAX to Dyer
San Francisco 353 miles SFO to Dyer
Reno 233 miles RNO to Dyer
Las Vegas 238 miles LAS to Dyer

The Route I took from Los Angeles to Dyer, Nevada (292 miles):

The Intersection 17.7 miles north of Dyer, Nevada (on Route 264):

There is sometimes some confusion about which dirt road to take to get from Route 264 back to the trailhead. There are loads of questions and answers on the Highpointer's Forum, so you might want to take a look at what others have said...

I was told to go to the y-intersection north of Dyer and take the dirt road that heads west from about 100 feet south of the intersection. It was 11:00pm at night and I found it with no problems. There are other dirt roads that will lead you to the trailhead, but some are supposed to be on Private Property. The dirt road I describe is not (as far as I am aware).

In September, 2001, Don Desrosiers e-mailed me the following ascii map of the intersection that is 17.7 miles north of Dyer, Nevada.

Apparently, there is a discrepancy between a Nevada State highway map and the Inyo National Forest map. I hope this clears up any confusion.

I have also included a detail from another map that shows the intersection and the dirt roads that head off to the west (my route will appear if you move your mouse over the map).

To Bishop   <--------------US 6 --------------------> To Tonapah
                     \             /
                      \           /
                       \ 264     / 773 (USFS says 3A)
                        \       /
                         \     /
                          \   /
                           \ /
         dirt road <--------\
         to Boundary Peak    \ 
                               \ 264 (USFS says 3A)
(thanks Don!)                 to Dyer (17.7 miles south)


Dirt Road Milage Log (1997):

The "Dirt Road" is the unpaved road that starts at the intersection 17.7 miles north of Dyer, Nevada, and continues west into the mountains and to the trailhead.

                         Miles  Milage    ET
                         -----  ------   ----
Begin Dirt Road            0.0	  0.0    0:00
(at intersection on 264)

Cross another road         1.9    1.9    0:03

Cross under power lines    2.5    0.6    0:02

Small wye in road          4.0    1.5    0:04
(Stay left)

First "S" turn up          6.2    2.2    0:05
rolling hills

Rusty pipe on left         8.5    2.3    0:07

Entering National          9.3    0.8    0:03
Forest Post at right

Parking area "s"          10.9	  1.6    0:04
turn (B&B Mine) **

Tee in Red dirt road.     12.2    1.3    0:08
Take right towards Mtn.

Sign "Leave a clean       12.4	  0.2    0:01
camp & dead fire"

Sign "Use water not dirt  12.8	  0.4    0:02 
to extinguish campfires"

Trout pond on left	  13.0    0.2    0:02

Wye in road stay right    13.3    0.3    0:03
(left reconnects shortly)

Wye in road. Stay left    13.8    0.5    0:03

Parking area on left,     14.5    0.7    0:04
continue straight

Parking area on right     14.6    0.1    0:01
(Trailhead)               ----   ----    ----
                                 14.6    0:52
                                 miles   minutes

** Note about the "s" turn:

The "s" turn is shaped like an "H", actually. As you approach, straight 
ahead is the parking area, take the right-handed turn, then immeadiately 
a left-handed turn (if you go right, you'll see the B&B mine buildings).

An attempt at an ASCII map:

to trailhead <----<---------- B&B mine
            Parking------<-------<----- From Route 264

Maps and an Aerial Photo of the Area:


Please contact me with corrections, questions or comments: Matt Mueller   updated: 9 June, 2002
  revised: 11 March, 2002
  revised: 25 November, 2001
  revised: 15 November, 2000