6862 ft (2092 m) – 1438 ft gain
Sitting at dinner in Beatty, after our nice afternoon in the Bullfrog Hills, Darren and I decided we would explore another small range on our drive home. The Goldfield Hills are a jumble of irregular hills around the mining town of – of course – Goldfield, Nevada. Mine tailings, head frames, and shacks mingle around prospects, some active, most not.
The thing about mining towns, those from the historic-era and otherwise, is that they are crisscrossed by a maze of roads. We turned off Hwy 95 on the margin of town and headed into the predawn among the Joshua Trees and tailings piles of all sizes. I had the high point coordinates in my dashboard Garmin with a background of topo maps; still, I took a wrong turn following a well-used road and missed the lesser track among the beaten down two-tracks. It was indeed a maze. We got it straight and worked our way to the base of Cole. Although it is not an impressive sight, the light of the early morning peaking from the east made it look worthy of a good walk.
We climbed a sparse ramp on south-facing slopes to gain a rocky ridge. For the first time we could see the great views that the high point provided; we had been somewhat sheltered in the mine-strewn hills only to crest above it all as we approached the summit. A false cairn, maybe an old mining claim, rested on a southerly summit, tricking us briefly. We found a low rock stack protecting the summit register a quarter mile further north. A cold wind picked up as the sun played in-and-out amongst some low-slung clouds. We had walked for less than an hour, but these small hills remain well worth it. Surprising us as usual.
The summit ridge continues north and curves gradually west to form a crescent with a west-facing opening above a steep canyon that drops to quickly to the wash below. We descended the northwestern limb following steep steps to a low pass. The sun opened up nicely, but the wind kept any warmth away. We did not have far to go, however, as we wandered among tall Joshua Trees before entering a wash that led to the truck.
It was quick walk, basically a short detour on our way home. I have written many times that even short excursions to small hills are worth any detour necessary. Cole VABM at the top of the Goldfield Hills is no exception.