Forum Index > Trip Reports > Spirit Mountain Wilderness (Lake Mead NRA) Nov 17-21, 2015
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John Morrow
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John Morrow
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PostSun Nov 22, 2015 10:20 am 
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Some adventurous and trailless travel in two compact, yet wild, wilderness areas: Spirit mountain Wilderness and Bridge Canyon Wilderness.  No sooner than I dropped off my friend Deb at the airport, another coworker and friend, Laurie, arrived to share my next desert journey.

Spirit Mountain Backpack Overview
Spirit Mountain Backpack Overview

Day 1:  We drove from Vegas through Searchlight to the trailhead off the Christmas Tree Pass Road.  Then down Pipe Spring Canyon from Pipe Spring Trailhead:

Spirit Mountain Day 1
Spirit Mountain Day 1
First Pipe Spring narrows
First Pipe Spring narrows
Dropping down Pipe Spring
Dropping down Pipe Spring
dryfall scramble
dryfall scramble
flowering beavertail!
flowering beavertail!
Pipe Spring Canyon
Pipe Spring Canyon
unusual flower
unusual flower

Searching for water and afternoon hike from a nice camp:

Watered narrows
Watered narrows
Nice granite floor
Nice granite floor
tadpoles!
tadpoles!
more narrows
more narrows
evening comes early
evening comes early
scene across river
scene across river
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
more dature
more dature
Spirit Mountain Wilderness
Spirit Mountain Wilderness

Day 2:  Dayhike loop.  It started by first climbing Mount Newberry 3624' from Pipe Spring Canyon on the south slope, then getting lured into a blind exploration of an unnamed canyon on the NW side.

Spirit Mountain Day 2northhalf
Spirit Mountain Day 2northhalf
Spirit Mountain Day 2southhalf
Spirit Mountain Day 2southhalf
Mount Newberry above camp
Mount Newberry above camp
Mount Newberry scramble
Mount Newberry scramble
Newberry view
Newberry view
Across to Spirit and Devils Thumb
Across to Spirit and Devils Thumb
Newberry final scramble
Newberry final scramble
fun class 2
fun class 2
Lake Mojave north
Lake Mojave north
From Mount Newberry
From Mount Newberry

What an amazing unnamed canyon!  Scramble-able dryfall after dryfall of sculpted granite.

That start of a canyon was too tempting to not go explore.
That start of a canyon was too tempting to not go explore.
Wow, great canyon descending
Wow, great canyon descending
tons of slickrock falls
tons of slickrock falls
a look back
a look back
nother look back
nother look back
funnin'
funnin'
just fantastic descending
just fantastic descending
goes on
goes on
tough spot
tough spot
and on
and on
a bypass or two
a bypass or two
neat looking mountain
neat looking mountain

It seemed to go a long long time until we finally met White Rock Wash.  There we began our traverse of the shore of Lake Mojave soutward to the mouth of Pipe Spring Canyon.  Miles of badland terrain were made thankfully easier by way of a 4WD powerline road.  We never appreciated a road so much before as we'd have never made it back by nightfall without it.

???
???
at the lake!
at the lake!
back up Pipe Spring
back up Pipe Spring

Finally, back up Pipe Spring Canyon back to camp.  A fine canyon throughout its length.

completing the loop
completing the loop
Pipe Spring Canyon
Pipe Spring Canyon
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Day 3:  Packing up camp, we climbed out and traversed over Pipe Spring highcountry into Sacatone Wash.  Descending Sacatone to the junction with Lower Grapevine Canyon, we first dropped packs and explored the lower canyon narrows.

Spirit Mountain Day 3
Spirit Mountain Day 3
morning color
morning color
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Leaving Mount Newberry
Leaving Mount Newberry
traversing to Sacatone
traversing to Sacatone
Over Pipe Spring Canyon
Over Pipe Spring Canyon
Neat Granite
Neat Granite
Descendign Sacatone
Descendign Sacatone
Sacatone cacti
Sacatone cacti
Wow, bloom!
Wow, bloom!
Sacatone cholla
Sacatone cholla
Sacatone garden, Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Sacatone garden, Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Down Sacatone
Down Sacatone
Pencil cholla
Pencil cholla
Sacatone view
Sacatone view
colorful datura
colorful datura
Grapevine Canyon walls in view
Grapevine Canyon walls in view
sidetrip down Lower Grapevine
sidetrip down Lower Grapevine
Lower Grapevine Narrows
Lower Grapevine Narrows
Long narrows
Long narrows
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
curves
curves
Class 4 chokestone
Class 4 chokestone
nice flowering grass
nice flowering grass

Finally, we headed up canyon, crossed the road, passed the petroglyphs, and landed for 2 more nights in Upper Grapevine by a nice dryfall tank watersource.

Middle Grapevine narrows
Middle Grapevine narrows
stiff Class 4 dryfall
stiff Class 4 dryfall
another dryfall climb
another dryfall climb
a stopper 20 ft dryfall
a stopper 20 ft dryfall
solid scramble detour
solid scramble detour
top of detour
top of detour
looking down the blockage
looking down the blockage
out of Lower Grapevine
out of Lower Grapevine
Upper Grapevine Camp
Upper Grapevine Camp

Note: Heading upcanyon (downstream of Christmas Tree Pass Road) we found an impassable dryfall that required a scramble traverse on the north side wall of the canyon.

Day 4:  Explorations from camp heading south over into Bridge Canyon (future trip option.) Then denied a hope of looping back to the trailhead via a gap in the north slope of Grapevine Canyon due to many many impassable granite blobs and tight mesquite thicket draws.

Spirit Mountain Day 4
Spirit Mountain Day 4
Grapevine Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV
Grapevine Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV
Grapevine dryfall waterhole
Grapevine dryfall waterhole
Quest for water
Quest for water
Into Bridge Canyon wash
Into Bridge Canyon wash
back out and down Grapevine
back out and down Grapevine
downward
downward
seeding yucca
seeding yucca
searching our exit
searching our exit
impenetrable brush and boulders
impenetrable brush and boulders
possible exit looks real clogged
possible exit looks real clogged
give up, head back
give up, head back
this fellow blocked me
this fellow blocked me
moon upper left
moon upper left

Day 5:  Not finding a loop opp, we were relegated to a road walk to the car before getting Laurie to the airport.  Such a great trip with a fine backpack partner.

the road alternate
the road alternate
East Face Spirit mountain
East Face Spirit mountain

Some rock art:

Pipe1
Pipe1
Pipe2
Pipe2
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
Spirit Mountain Wilderness, NV
G1
G1
G2
G2
G3
G3
G4
G4
G11
G11
G10
G10

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Rainie Too!
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Joined: 12 Dec 2008
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Rainie Too!
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PostTue Nov 24, 2015 7:11 pm 
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Looks peaceful John. Nice that you share these wonderings with what I am sure are appreciative fellow travelers and friends.
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puzzlr
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Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6550 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Nov 24, 2015 8:28 pm 
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I archived this for future reference when I'm in the southwest again. Looking at the aerial google maps this region has far fewer "user" roads than I'm used to seeing in the west, and it's huge! Thanks for the report of a new area, at least to me.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Spirit Mountain Wilderness (Lake Mead NRA) Nov 17-21, 2015
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