Booth Pinnacle And Pyramid Peak
Booth Pinnacle (unofficial name) and Pyramid Peak are a couple of striking peaks in the Black Mountains of Nevada's Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  On 19 December 2011, Kelly Bou accompanied me as I set out to climb both peaks via the approach from Boathouse Cove road.  While there are other approaches, this one seems to be the most direct and entails the least elevation gain and loss.  The catch though, as we found out that morning, is that the Boathouse Cove road is really rough in places.  Driving all the way to the usual trailhead requires some back-roads savvy and determination with a dash of lunacy thrown in!  One spot in particular was badly washed out, and I briefly got my rented Jeep Liberty stuck here.  Although I was eventually able to free my Jeep and get past this section, some more problematic areas just beyond prompted me to turn around and park before the washed out section.  Therefore, we started our hike about 2.5 kilometres short of the usual trailhead.

I cannot overstate how invaluable Harlan Stockman's GPS tracks were for this trip.  At the unmarked trailhead, there are multiple washes heading in the general direction toward the peaks, and I had to check the GPS data a couple of times to make sure we were on the right track.  After topping out on a low rise, Kelly and I dropped down into a labyrinth of washes and shallow canyons, and again, the GPS data helped us find the most efficient path through this confusing terrain.  We eventually emerged from these smaller washes onto a much broader wash which runs past the north side of the two peaks.  We left the wash according to the GPS data and climbed up an obvious ridge slightly northwest of Booth Pinnacle.  Initially easy, this ridge gets steeper higher up and requires some route-finding to avoid loose and exposed sections.  We eventually topped out on Booth Pinnacle, and though Kelly had reservations about continuing on to Pyramid Peak, I was confident that I could tag it with minimal extra effort and time.  After a very short break, we carefully descended the ridge to a saddle west of Booth Pinnacle.  When I was certain that Kelly could safely make her way back to the wash on her own, I headed off across the connecting ridge to Pyramid Peak.

Although Pyramid Peak is guarded by a lengthy cliff band and a significant false summit, the terrain is generally much easier to negotiate than the upper ridge of Booth Pinnacle.  I easily circumvented both the cliff band and the false summit, and the final summit block was a short but delightful romp.  After radioing Kelly that I had reached the summit of Pyramid Peak, I dropped down to the col between the summit block and the false summit.  This was where Stockman began his return trip down the north side of Pyramid Peak, but the route is obvious enough that I did not have to consult my GPS.  The looseness of the upper slopes worked wonderfully for my descent, and although I had to find my way through a few twists and turns near the bottom, it was not long before I rejoined Kelly in the big wash below Booth Pinnacle.  Though it was a long walk out, we had no problems retracing our steps through all the washes and back to my Jeep.

The drive out along the Boathouse Cove road was slow and problematic.  The growing darkness made it difficult to see the road at times, and I actually made a wrong turn in one of the washes.  Fortunately, I noticed my mistake fairly quickly (big boulders started to appear in front of me!), and I did not have to back up very far to find the correct route.  Kelly and I both breathed a huge sigh of relief when we finally hit the pavement of the Northshore Road (highway).

The nerve-racking drive on the Boathouse Cove road aside, this was a superb outing in terms of challenge, scenery and weather--my favourite of our week in Las Vegas.
This road is in need of some serious repair. Kelly walks across the washed out section of Boathouse Cove Road.
Someone needs to build a big cairn here. Kelly arrives at the usual "trailhead" for the approach to Booth Pinnacle and Pyramid Peak.
Entering the labyrinth... From the top of the low rise, Booth Pinnacle and Pyramid Peak are visible on the horizon at centre.
Very enjoyable hiking...if you know where you're going! Kelly follows a good trail in the wash.
The peaks are not as high as they seem, but they are still a fair distance away. The terrain starts to open up closer to the two peaks.
The ascent slope becomes obvious the further west you hike. Kelly finally reaches the big wash that runs along the north side of the peaks.
No trails here--pick your own path. Kelly looks back down to the big wash as she climbs up the slopes north of Booth Pinnacle.
This is actually pretty close to the summit. The west ridge of Booth Pinnacle is steep and rugged.
Beware of loose rocks here. Kelly carefully climbs up the west ridge.
Whew! That was a bit of a haul to get here. Here is the cairn on the 918-metre summit of Booth Pinnacle.  Pyramid Peak is visible to the west.
I'm really proud that Kelly made it up this tough peak! Sonny and Kelly crowd around Booth Pinnacle's summit cairn.


Almost feels like a different planet here...

An amazing variety of rock is represented in this view to the northwest which includes Sentinel Peak (light-coloured rock at centre) and the Muddy Mountains on the horizon.


Although I'm loathe to drive the Boathouse Cove Road again, Manganese Peak just might be worth a return visit. The Overton Arm of Lake Mead and Manganese Peak (left) are visible to the east.
Kelly is a trooper! Kelly descends the west slopes of Booth Pinnacle.
Pyramid Peak is definitely an easier climb than Booth Pinnacle. The cliff bands guarding Pyramid Peak can be circumvented on the right.
Looks impressive from this angle. Here is a look back at Booth Pinnacle from the slopes below Pyramid Peak.
Yeah, I have that effect on others... A trio of sheep are perturbed by Sonny's presence.
The hardest part was traversing the loose slope in the foreground. The summit block of Pyramid Peak comes into view.
I basically went straight up the obvious crack. Surmounting the summit block is easier than it appears.
Took me a little over an hour to get here from Booth Pinnacle. Sonny stands on the 922-metre summit of Pyramid Peak.
Carrying fat-assed tourists. A helicopter flies over the area.
Worth another look! The view to the northwest is similar to that from Booth Pinnacle.


Actually, you're probably looking at "Mystery Cairn" and "Vista" Peaks. "Redstone" Peak itself is probably not visible here.

The Redstone Peaks (unofficial) are visible to the north at right.  The peak on the left is unnamed.


Bonelli Peak looks like a very long trip... Here is Booth Pinnacle as viewed from the summit of Pyramid Peak.  On the horizon at right is Bonelli Peak.
A beautiful peak. Booth Pinnacle is worth a second look.


Best view of the day.

Here is a more comprehensive view of Booth Pinnacle and Lake Mead.


Virgins and mead, oh my! This part of Lake Mead is known as Virgin Basin.
I startled a great horned owl near here but was unable to get a photo. A small cactus grows uncharacteristically in a shady wash.
Stay left of this on the way out. This unnamed peak is a useful landmark for navigation.
A lot of walking ahead of us still... Kelly hikes past some colourful rocks in the wash.
A tough but rewarding trip! Total Distance: 20.0  kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 7 hours 38 minutes
Total Elevation Gain: 893 metres