Davidson Peak
Located about 24 kilometres northwest of Mesquite, Nevada, Davidson Peak is sort of the kid brother to the bigger and flashier Moapa Peak further west.  Dinah Kruze, Bob Spirko and I made plans to scramble up Davidson Peak via its east ridge on 21 October 2015.  A cursory route description for Davidson Peak can be found in Andy Zdon's Desert Summits, but his approach directions may be outdated.  We had no issues with the initial part of the drive in, but after turning onto a rough and undulating power line road, we found it increasingly hard to reconcile Zdon's approach directions with what we were seeing first-hand.  We eventually abandoned the power line road and switched to a much better road that Bob had previously spotted on Google Earth.  This road leads easily to the start of Davidson Peak's east ridge; we would later follow this same road all the way to the highway on our drive out.

Driving Directions:  Exit I-15 at East Mesa Interchange (signed "Truck Parking") which is 10 miles (16 kilometres) east of Exit 100 (Carp/Elgin).  There are two paved roads--one on either side of I-15--which run westward while paralleling the highway.  The south side road eventually goes through an underpass and joins up with the north side road (also known as "Old Spanish Trail Road").  Continue west on the north side road until it turns northward away from the highway.  The pavement ends here.  Ignore all side roads and stay on the well-maintained gravel road for about 12.5 miles (20 kilometres) as it winds its way around a sub-peak with antennas to the start of Davidson Peak's east ridge.  A 2WD vehicle should be okay for this road, but high clearance would be helpful in a few rocky spots.  Just before the road begins to climb steeply up the sub-peak, a rougher side-road branches off to the right.  Park here.

We followed the side-road briefly before leaving it to make a bee line for the start of the east ridge.  The side-road actually ends up in the same spot albeit via a more circuitous route.  The east ridge is mostly Class 2 hiking although there are a few spots that require some route-finding and hands-on scrambling.  These actually made the ascent more interesting in my opinion, and I delighted in every opportunity to put my hands onto rock.  As we approached the summit, I was captivated by the precipitous drop on the west side of the mountain as well as the spectacular sight of Moapa Peak which looks more impressive from this vantage point than from the highway.  After tagging the summit, we descended partway down the east ridge before stopping for a quick lunch.  We then resumed our descent which was largely uneventful.

Davidson Peak remains a rather obscure mountain if the lack of information on the Internet is any indication.  However, given the easy access, an aesthetically pleasing ascent route, and the minimal effort required, Davidson Peak deserves much more attention from desert peak-baggers.

Be sure to check out Bob's trip report.
But the ridge to the right looks higher... In this view from the parking spot, the summit is the little bump just slightly left of centre.
The route follows the ridge to the left. Dinah and Bob start to head up the ridge in front of them.
It's probably possible to take a more direct line to the summit from here, but the terrain is steeper than it looks. The summit is visible directly ahead, but the route swings to the left and eventually goes up the left skyline.
Some route-finding required up ahead. Dinah and Bob skirt the edge of some impressive cliffs.
Stop worrying and just follow me, Dinah! Bob and Dinah traverse below the ridge crest in search of an easy way up the cliff bands on the left.
Looks pretty straightforward from here... After reaching a plateau and descending slightly, Bob continues up the east ridge of Davidson Peak.
Bob calls the sub-peak "Little Davidson Peak". Bob looks east toward the sub-peak of Davidson Peak.  Much of the ascent route is also visible here.
No worries. It's still easy scrambling here. The ridge begins to narrow at this point.
What is Dinah looking at? This section requires a little hands-on scrambling.
But the summit on the left looks higher... Bob and Dinah approach the false summit on the left.  The true summit is on the right.
Don't look down, Dinah! Precipitous cliffs appear on the west side of Davidson Peak.
That was easy. Bob and Dinah take the last few steps before the summit.
No summit register. Are we actually on the true summit? Sonny, Bob and Dinah pose on the summit of Davidson Peak (1623 metres).
Naturally, I want to climb it, but this one will take some planning. To the northwest is Mormon Peak, the highest point in the Mormon Mountains.
Might be fun to try and traverse the ridge... Davidson Peak's north ridge has several interesting bumps.
Can you spot my car? This is looking down at the sub-peak and east ridge from the summit.

 One of the best scrambles in the Las Vegas area.

The most striking view from the summit is Moapa Peak to the southwest.


Blood sucker! Ticks are apparently alive and well in the desert in October.
I let them have a head start down, but I will soon catch up to them! Bob and Dinah carefully descend the steepest and narrowest part of the east ridge.
It's also possible to continue down the rest of the ridge near the crest. Dinah and Bob descend another tricky spot on the east ridge.

 This road is so much better than the crappy power line road!

Here is one last look at Davidson Peak from the approach road.


Highly recommended! Total Distance:  8.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  5 hours 5 minutes
 Net Elevation Gain:  679 metres

GPX Data