Diamond Peak • Highpoint: Eureka County
• Range Highpoint: Diamond Mountains


The Diamond Mountains
from Eureka


The summit mass - the true
summit is hidden by the
foreground peaks


The true summit from just
a few hundred feet away


The range crest

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Summitpost

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Date: May 16, 2002 • Elevation: 10,614 feet • Prominence: 3,574 feet • Distance: 8 miles • Time: 6 hours • Gain: 2,200 feet • Conditions: Bright blue skies

Diamond Peak is the highest point of Eureka County in central Nevada. It is one of two peaks named Diamond Peak in the Diamond Mountains, whose ridge actually forms the Eureka and White Pine county line. I was spending the weekend in Nevada, and had climbed Bunker Hill in the Toiyabe Range yesterday.

The drive to Eureka along US-50 went well. Eureka County is a large county area-wise, but only has about a thousand people, most congregated in the town of Eureka, the county seat. I planned to camp, but I found a cheap hotel room at an old casino and stayed there for the night. Eureka is a typical Nevada old-time mining town, built into the slopes of a mountain, with a single Main Street, a few side streets, and everything looking like it did in 1900.

Early today, I drove out of town and headed east along Newark Canyon Road a long way to the spine of the range, then north upward along scanter roads. I came upon some snow in the road higher up, and was able to get past one 20-foot patch by plowing into it about five times in low 4-wheel drive until I had bashed a path through it. This allowed me to drive another quarter-mile to a small pass, where I parked. The roads from here were too muddy and snowy to bother with. I was near Alpha Peak, elevation 8,400 feet. I started hiking at 7 a.m. in cold, pleasant weather. There were still many shadows from the low sun.

I decided to hike up the muddy road on Alpha Peak's west slopes, then cut across north to a saddle, losing a little elevation, but placing me at 8,800 feet on another saddle. Diamond Peak was visible to the north, the actual highpoint hidden by a foreground summit. Snow seemed light except for one large patch on the steep slopes south of the peak. The main ridge seemed mostly snow free.

From the saddle I was on now, I found a path that charged up a slope immediately to the west. Once atop this little hill, I found more good paths that went north. There was no developed trail, but these game paths seemed to work well most of the time. Some have been "human enhanced" and judging by the poop on the ground, popular with horses.

The next two miles is along the spine of the range, following a series of paths and cross-country up and over, and sometimes around, the intervening ridge points. Overall, it seemed easiest to stay high whenever possible, as the side-hilling could be ugly at times. This went on for an hour until I reached an open saddle at 8,820 feet. The next segment was a short but steep grunt up open slopes, gaining 500 feet to a rock knob at 9,320 feet. After dodging this rock obstacle, I had another steep 600 feet of easy hiking to the big snowbank. Now for the fun part.

If the snowbank was not here, the path would just go up this slope to the main summit ridge, and would be cake. However, the snow was sloppy enough that hiking through it was not an option. So I went right and worked my way up through large rocks, at worst requiring minor scrambling and using all fours. The going here was slow and muddy due to snow run-off. But this plan worked and shortly I was above the snowbank. Not much longer afterward, I was now on the main summit ridge, with Diamond Peak's summit now visible a quarter-mile away.

The final walk was easy, skirting snow patches whenever I could. I arrived at the top a little after 10 a.m., taking time to tag the large summit cairn. The weather was lovely, and I felt like the only person in the world up here, in the middle of nowhere Nevada. There was one downside: I mushed my finger in the rocks at the cairn trying to locate the register. I never did find it, and thus did not sign myself in.

The hike down went well. The snowbank still motivated me to find ways around it, so this time I skirted it on its steep downrange slopes, which was slow and messy, but effective. I retraced my steps, and was back to my truck in less than two hours. The weather had warmed nicely, and I took a break here to change into dry clothes and relax. I slowly drove down the icky roads onto the firmer dirt roads below, then out to Eureka.

The rest of the day was spent leisurely driving back toward Reno. However, I decided to stay the night in Fallon, then get to Reno the next morning for my flight home. This had been a successful two-highpoint trip, and I was especially pleased to get these two peaks into the record.

(c) 2002, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.