Mount Rose • Highpoint: Washoe County
• Carson Mountains

My summit photo

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Date: June 25, 2002 • Elevation: 10,776 feet • Prominence: 3,630 feet • Distance: 12 mile • Time: 6 hours • Gain: 2,500 feet • Conditions: Dry, cloudless • Teammates: Adam Helman

Mount Rose is saddle-shaped summit topping the Carson Mountains, southwest of Reno. It's a very popular area for hiking and exploring, and in winter, when the peak is snow-covered, is an absolutely gorgeous mountain to view. It's also the highest point in Washoe County. Adam Helman and I were finishing up a few days of peak-bagging in northwest Nevada, with Mount Rose as our last summit before Adam had to catch his plane in Reno. Yesterday we had climbed Star Peak in Pershing County, then got cheap rooms in a hotel in Reno. I was tired of smelling myself.

We didn't have far to drive to the trailhead, located at a pass along state route NV-431, which connects Reno to the Lake Tahoe area. We arrived early enough to find a good spot in a dirt clearing off the road, but it was obvious this place sees lots of people (hence, cars). We started our hike at 7:30 a.m. in clear and calm conditions. The trailhead is at elevation 8,840 feet.

The first 2.5 miles of the hike is along a dirt service road, which is closed to the public for driving, but open for hiking. The road itself eventually leads to radio towers on another peak. This stretch went quickly, gaining about 550 feet and covering it in slightly over an hour. We then arrived at the real trail, where the main road goes left to the towers. An information sign marks the start of the trail, with Mount Rose's summit partially hidden by foreground hills.

From this informational kiosk/sign, the trail actually descends about 300 feet through lush (and mushy) wetlands fed by streams. After crossing the main drainage, we now started up the trail as it contoured along the east slopes of Peak 10,490. In time, the trail surmounts a pass between this peak and Mount Rose, roughly 9,730 feet elevation. We'd been hiking for 90 minutes, making good progress, so we took an extended break here to eat and hydrate.

The remainder of the hike ascends Mount Rose via a series of switchback from its south and west sides. The tree cover here is not too thick and we had pleasant views, while the grade of the trail is never too severe, so that we could enjoy the walk. Partway up we passed treeline, then simply followed the trail through jumbly rocks to the summit, arriving at 10:30 a.m. There was one other hiker already up there so we three sat and chatted.

The summit features a large rocky windbreak. The map shows other summit bumps within similar contours as the summit, but by inspection, these are obviously lower. We had a good time on top, enjoying the mild weather and great views, including Reno in one direction, Lake Tahoe in the opposite direction, and gobs of peaks in all directions. We could see Freel Peak to the south, and even Lassen Peak way off on the northern horizon. They say Rose gets high winds. We had mild breezes, nothing more.

The hike down went quickly. Even the boring road walk back to my truck went quickly, and we exited in less than two hours. Adam's plane didn't leave for a few hours, so we killed time at a Denny's. This had been a very fruitful week of peak-bagging, and my thanks to Adam for being a good partner for the final four days.

Once I dropped him off at the Reno airport, I headed west along US-50 into California, planning to visit an old college friend and her family. That was fun, and the next day I made the long return drive back up US-50, then cutting east across Monitor Pass into Bridgeport and catching US-95 in Hawthorne. By day's end I was in Henderson, spending the night at my parent's place. I was back in Arizona the next day.

(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.