MT. SIEGEL (9,450') CLASS 1
Location: 14-15 miles E of Gardnerville, NV
Drive: Take U.S. 395 to Minden, NV, and drive 0.8 miles south of Minden Junction (junction of Highway 88 and U.S. 395) to turn right (east) on Buckeye Road with its arrowed sign "Cemetary." Pass the Douglas County buildings, and drive past the pavement end after 2.7 miles, where a sign states, "End County Maintained Road Drive at your own Risk." Go straight east another 0.9 mile to a junction with "E. Valley Road," and turn left (north) to proceed another 0.5 mile to "Kristi Ln." Turn right (east). Pass some homes, and head straight east into the Pine Nut Range. The road gets much worse, and well within the range a major junction is reached. Turn right (south) and drive a couple miles further to reach a group of old buildings marked as "Slaters Mine." It is probably wise to park near here. Do not attempt this drive without a back-up vehicle to pull you out of bad spots, of which there are many! A good map of the area may help in navigating this route, although none of my five or so references agree exactly on the details!
Climb: Take the higher road south from the cluster of buildings, and climb up to see the peak on the right (west). Head up the peak's northeast slopes, following jeep tracks, or just head cross-country to the top.
Drive: Take U.S. 395 south 21.2 miles from Minden Junction (junction of Highway 88 and U.S. 395) to turn left (east) at Holbrook Junction to NV 208, following the signs to "Yerington." Drive 9.8 miles to turn left on paved "Upper Colony Road." Go north 5.3 miles to "Day Lane" and then after 0.5 mile, go left on "Red Canyon Road." The dirt road becomes poor at this point. Go left after 0.3 mile, and then right at a fork with sign, "Red Canyon." After 1.3 miles of rough dirt road, come to a BLM sign "Red Canyon." A flat, small, highly primitive camping area is to the immediate right. After 3.1 miles going up canyon, go right (straight) at a junction, going up the canyon wall. In 0.8 mile more, take a hairpin turn left at a junction. Go right (up) at a fork after 1.2 miles more. At junctions after 0.5 mile, then after another 0.6 mile, go left. The road is definitely 4WD here. Don't be hesitant to stop and walk the road to check its safety. The road is tilted, with a long drop down a scree slope if any driving miscalculation is made! In 0.5 mile more past the last fork, park (room for 2-3 cars) just before a small creek and steep hill. Most vehicles will have a hard time turning around or backing up at several points on this route!
Climb: Follow this dirt road straight up, ignoring the spur road right, to a high saddle, and turn right (north). This leads to another longer, broader saddle, where jeep tracks may be followed to the north.
Here, one may head cross-country left (west) to climb over Galena Peak (9,418'), drop to Galena Saddle at 9,240+ feet elevation, and proceed north to the summit of Mt. Siegel, which is marked by a large cairn. There is interesting geology enroute.
Otherwise, one can take a jeep trail north from the longer, broader saddle, and then head left (west) to climb only Mt. Siegel. This choice will probably not save any gain, since a gradual drop is made to join Route A, which roughly comes in here.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: Usually, insufficient snowfall does not merit a ski ascent.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,100 feet gain, 2.5 miles one way; Route B, 1,900 feet gain with an additional 200 feet gain on the return, 3 miles one way.
Notes: Mt. Siegel, as well
as Mt. Como, is included in this guide even though it is not a
Sierra peak. However, being the high point of the Pine Nut Mountains,
it enjoys grand views of the eastern scarp of the Carson Range.
Other worthwhile peaks in this range are Mineral Mountain and
In February 1992, Rick Kraft and I completed an ascent of Oreana Peak (9,309') from its eastern base in the Smith Valley. This peak is to the southeast, across the wide, high valley, from Mt. Siegel and Galena Peak. Our total round trip gain was over 4,500 feet. There was only a dusting of snow, as it had not stormed recently, and most of our route was across bare ground and through brush. The views extended for over 100 miles, with Arc Dome visible straight to the east. This peak is easier from Route B, with about 1,500 feet gain over 1.5 miles one way, from the Route B trailhead.