An Ode to Job, and His Peak
You can’t come to Carson Valley without noticing its most prominent figure. Standing proud at 10,633 feet, Jobs Peak watches over the valley with the stoicism of the Queens Guard in front of Buckingham Palace.
And, of course, it always has. Observer Henry DeGroot described it in 1860 as a partially “isolated, naked cone of bleached granite so white that at a distance it is apt to be taken for snow”. True, though at over 10,000 feet there are a few stubborn patches that take some sweltering summer temperatures to get rid of. Snowcapped or not, Jobs is a sight to behold in all seasons.
Before we go any further, it is important to note that Jobs Peak is pronounced like Job from the bible, not like Apple tech guru (Steve) Jobs. Also, and this might drive you nuts if you are a grammar fiend, but there is no apostrophe before the ‘s’ in Jobs. It seems there was at one time, but somewhere along the line that particular punctuation mark went the way of the dodo bird. And technically, Jobs is located in Alpine County, California yet is most visible in Douglas County, Nevada. Add all this up to say that this mountain couldn’t get any more interesting.
Jobs’ home is within the Carson Range and the three peaks you really oughta know are Jobs, Freel Peak and Jobs Sister (yep, that is really its name). Both Freel and Jobs Sister are slightly taller so you could say Jobs is the little, albeit super cool, brother.
Oh, for Name Sakes!
In 1854, an early Mormon settler by the name of Moses Job ran a store at the eastern base of the mountain. It must have been a pretty nifty little store, because it was the catalyst to the small community of Sheridan, Nevada, growing up around it. His store, obviously, was named Job’s – apostrophe and all.
Evidentially, Moses wasn’t a bit short on gumption. According to the book “Carson Valley: Historical Sketches of Nevada’s First Settlement”, he scaled the vast peak and stuck an American Flag at the tippy top. According to the Sheridan historical marker, Job then proclaimed with a great holler that the name of the mountain was to be his own. The broad name “Job’s Group of Mountains” was used in the State Surveyor General Report in 1855 and it was later suggested that one of the adjacent peaks be named in memory of his sister, so that is where the real creativity came in and thus the name “Jobs Sister” came to be. Nope, no apostrophe there, either. The Wheeler Survey map of 1881 listed all three names, adding Freel Peak to the epic trio.
Can I hike it?
If you have a spirit for adventure like Job did, the answer to this often-asked question is, yes, you sure can. However, there are some key things to know before you lace up your boots. It is a misnomer that you can access Jobs Peak via the Faye Luther or Jobs Peak Ranch Trailhead. These trails, both awesome in and of their own, don’t provide a trail to the peak. The best way to conquer Jobs is to basecamp in Carson Valley (either Minden, Genoa or Gardnerville) and get a jump on the day. You can check out where to stay here. You’ll then want to take the beautiful drive up Highway 88 into Hope Valley, before taking a right (north) at Pickett’s Junction onto Luther Pass Rd (Hwy 89). Keep an eye out, because you will want to turn right onto Forest Service Road 051 (also known as Willow Creek) before you reach Luther Pass. This road is dirt and rugged, so be sure to have the appropriate 4×4 vehicle. There is a big open dirt area for parking about 3.5 miles in for Freel Peak, but if you keep going roughly 3 more miles you will be able to hit the trail and start your ascent up Jobs. The trail is primitive and about 2 miles long with 2,000 feet elevation gain.
Important: Be sure to check with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Carson Ranger District before you go, as the gate to the 051 road can be closed during different times of the year due to conditions. Their contact is (775) 882-2766.
Once you’ve summitted Jobs, you have the option to hit the triple crown and bag the other two peaks (Freel and Jobs Sister), or head on back to Carson Valley where there are many beverage and dining options to celebrate your day of backcountry bliss.
A few more crucial tips:
- Adhere to leave no trace principles.
- Be sure someone knows where you are and when you plan to return.
- No special permit is required and dogs are welcome, but be sure to keep them on a leash.
- The best time to visit is June – October, weather dependent.
- Trekking poles are advised due to decomposed granite.
- Give yourself plenty of time.
- Bring water with you.
- Weather can change suddenly, so be prepared and watch signs for thunderstorm activity.
- Some people can feel the effects of altitude sickness even before reaching the top. Make sure to pay attention to the signs: headache, dizziness, among others.
It is hard not to love Jobs Peak for its beauty, history, and even its endearing missing apostrophe. Whether you prefer to amble its summit or simply enjoy the view from the valley below, Jobs is everyone’s favorite friend in Carson Valley.
Photos courtesy of Visit Carson Valley.