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Gimpilator
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PostFri Jan 12, 2018 2:58 pm 
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12-15
Lava Butte

I wanted to get more acquainted with some of the smaller ranges visible from my new home neighborhood.  The first area I went to explore is a group of small peaks east of Frenchman Mountain.  I started with Lava Butte, a striking one from nearly anywhere in the southern half of Las Vegas valley.

Most people do the east ridges, but I canít understand that, because powerline roads can put you much much closer to the mountain, on the north side.  I hiked up the northeast ridge for a round trip distance of 2.8 miles.  There were even some sections of trail on this route.  The exposed geologic layers east of Frenchman are pretty amazing to view from above.

Muddy Mountains
Muddy Mountains
Railroad Range
Railroad Range
River Range and Lake Las Vegas
River Range and Lake Las Vegas
Wilson Range and Lake Mead
Wilson Range and Lake Mead
geology and stuff
geology and stuff

downtown Vegas with Red Rock Canyon peaks behind
Frenchman
Frenchman

White Eagle Peak

Hiked up the east face from Rainbow Gardens road.  Interesting limestone along the way and some fossils too.

Lava Butte seen from White Eagle
Lava Butte seen from White Eagle
Lava Butte
Lava Butte
Frenchman
Frenchman

Waltís Ridge

For the final peak of the day I chose Waltís Ridge.  The road indicated on google maps, which would get you close to the peak, is no longer accessible.  A new fence blocks all motorized access.  I crossed the desert on foot and ascended the south ridge of the northeast peak.  There was no register, so I left one.   Next I visited the southwest peak where someone else had also recently left a new register.  Finally I descended the gully to the south.

Walt's Ridge across the way
Walt's Ridge across the way
south ridge
south ridge
fossils
fossils
Lava Butte
Lava Butte
River Mountains
River Mountains
Frenchman
Frenchman
geologic
geologic
the southwest summit
the southwest summit
descending
descending
small dryfall
small dryfall

12-16
River Mountain, River Mountain Peak, Black Mountain

Another small range nearby home is the River Mountains, west of Lake Mead.  Research I had done in prior years talked about a long trail coming from the south, but I was aware of a system of roads in the basin west of the main peaks.  After studying satellite maps, I went to investigate that option.

view from where I parked
view from where I parked

As it turned out, I was able to get into the basin by first driving some rough powerline roads and then going up through a pass (36.024858, -114.911610).  At the far east side of the basing I entered a narrow canyon with loose gravel and drove up to the pass between the two highest peaks.  From there, bagging both peaks was a trifle.  I stopped to talk to a large group of hikers who were stunned that my car would make it up there.  I continue as far as Black Mountain to the south.

River Mountain Peak seen from River Mountain
River Mountain Peak seen from River Mountain
downtown and Charleston
downtown and Charleston
northshore area
northshore area
Lake Mead
Lake Mead
River Mountain Peak
River Mountain Peak
summit
summit
Black Mountain
Black Mountain
looking back at River Mountain
looking back at River Mountain
Black
Black
Wilson Range
Wilson Range
2nd time up River Mountain Peak
2nd time up River Mountain Peak

12-17
Kraft Mountain

I met David and his friends in Calico Basin to hike up to the beautiful layered sandstone of Kraft Mountain.  It was not their intent to go to the summit, so after awhile I bid them farewell and headed up solo.  This peak has just enough route finding challenge to keep it fun and interesting.  There is usually a direct class 3 option through obstacles, or a less direct class 2 alternative.

Calico Basin
Calico Basin
Kraft rock
Kraft rock
Turtlehead
Turtlehead
New Peak
New Peak
Wilson, Rainbow, Bridge
Wilson, Rainbow, Bridge
Bridge
Bridge
Wilson
Wilson
overlooking Gateway Canyon
overlooking Gateway Canyon
looking back at Kraft
looking back at Kraft

New Peak

After Kraft I crossed the saddle to scramble up the east ridge of New Peak, which some locals call ďHell HillĒ.  I did some exposed moves on less than solid limestone and then decided enough was enough.  I bypassed the worst of it along the north side and then scrambled a steep gully directly up, slightly east of the summit.  Descending the west ridge was much more pleasant.

New Peak east ridge
New Peak east ridge
Turtlehead
Turtlehead
register
register
west ridge ahead
west ridge ahead
came down this
came down this

Turtlehead Mountain

This peak has a nice trail to the top on the far side, but that wouldnít help me at all in my attempt to link up 4 peaks.  I descended to the three way junction of canyons and then headed up the north canyon toward the east ridge of Turtlehead.  I thought that this might be an unusual route, but found out later that Dustin had just done the same thing recently.

Turtlehead above
Turtlehead above
looking toward Greycap
looking toward Greycap
Greycap
Greycap

The east ridge was blocked by some cliffs, so I scrambled up some junky limestone slabs along the upper wash.  Once I reached the north slope it was much better.  There were several groups of people on top and the register was ruined.

Turtlehead summit view
Turtlehead summit view
Greycap
Greycap

Greycap

For the final summit I went east to Greycap.  This was a much nicer route than the previous, mostly on sandstone formations.  I descended Gateway Canyon just for fun, even though it was a longer way back.

looking back at Turtlehead
looking back at Turtlehead
La Madre
La Madre
Turtlehead from Greycap summit
Turtlehead from Greycap summit
Gateway Canyon narrows
Gateway Canyon narrows

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http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1177 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostFri Jan 12, 2018 2:58 pm 
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12-18
Gass Peak

Another mountain highly visible from Vegas is Gass Peak, located at the southern end of the Sheep Range.  Gass has a trail to the summit.  There are some towers up there, so I didnít stay long.


Fossil Ridge

This little peaklet sees very few ascents and had no route information anywhere online, until now.  I chose the gully southwest of the summit, which appears to be blocked by a significant dryfall.  As it turned out, the dryfall yields at class 2 with ledges.  At the top of the gully I followed the crest of the ridge east to the summit.  I cursed myself for forgetting to bring up a blank summit register.

ledges through the dryfall
ledges through the dryfall
upper gully
upper gully
Fossil Ridge westward
Fossil Ridge westward
Gass
Gass

Castle Rock

There was time for one more peak, so after moving the car  I crossed several miles of open desert southward to get Castle Rock.  There was some steep bands of limestone with natural caves and two summits worth visiting.  The east one is higher and has a register.

Gass
Gass
Fossil
Fossil
Castle Rock
Castle Rock

12-19
Mount Tipton

I was in the mood for a bigger peak so I drove into Arizona for Mount Tipton.  Hiked up the old road to a small pass and then went cross country through dense brush and cactus.  Several deer kept their distance from me.

Tipton
Tipton

I entered a boulder choked wash and followed that a long way up to a pass.  Near the pass I heard a large animal.  I had assumed all the droppings were from a mule, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a wild horse nearby.  What a beautiful creature!


Above the pass, there was a bit more unpleasant terrain until I reached the final summit ridge.  Open forest at the end was a nice reprieve.  From the summit I looked southeast and made mental notes to add several new objectives to my to-do list.

Hualapai
Hualapai

Mount Perkins

After Tipton there was still time left for one more peak, so I drove across the valley to Perkins.  The road was pretty messed up about a mile below the top of the ridge, so I hiked from there.  Several groups of cows were present on the route.  I got to the summit just before sunset for a stunning view of Lake Mojave.  The register had a mailbox, much like Mailbox Peak in WA.

Tipton
Tipton
Lake Mojave
Lake Mojave

12-22
Sheep Mountain

Most of this day was assigned to Ladder of Doom Canyon, but after we were finished with that I went to nearby Sheep Mountain solo.  The standard north route didnít interest me.  I wanted to see what a more direct west approach might be like.  I went up the west ridge, southwest from the summit.  There was some class 3 to get up through minor cliffs and more again near the summit.  It was a fun route with mostly good rock.

Sheep
Sheep
summit
summit
Charleston, Griffith, Harris
Charleston, Griffith, Harris
Potosi
Potosi

12-23
The King, The Queen, White Gold #7, The Jack

I had a few free hours in the morning, so I went to check out some more peaklets visible from town.  This little sub-range is located between the Black Mountains and the Railroad Range.  I started with The Queen which was steep and loose and then ran ridges in between, ending with the Jack.  Itís a fun area with varying colors of volcanic rock on the various peaks.

The King from The Queen
Queen summit
Queen summit
Railroad Range
Railroad Range

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1177 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostFri Jan 12, 2018 2:59 pm 
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12-24
Opal Mountain

I drove through Searchlight and then east to access some very rarely visited peaks.  I started with the furthest out, Opal.  Itís down near the river.  I ascended the south ridge to the broad mesa like top which is scattered with basalt boulders.  Fantastic views of Lake Mojave and Mount  Perkins where I had just been.

Opal south ridge
Opal south ridge
Mojave Lake and Mount Perkins
Mojave Lake and Mount Perkins
craggy Copper Mountain
craggy Copper Mountain
Spirit visible to the south
Spirit visible to the south

Dupont Mountain

This peak might be the least visited in the group.  It looks intimidating from any angle.  I made an ascending traverse along the east face to reach the south ridge.  I was hoping to climb the south ridge, but it proved to be too craggy, so I followed an old mining trail to a mine and then scrambled class 3 and 4 on the southwest face.  I made some committing moves on the way up, but then found a less direct and easier way to descend.

Dupont, not listed in the guidebook
Dupont, not listed in the guidebook
Copper
Copper
Dupont, with a side of cholla
Dupont, with a side of cholla
south ridge, still too craggy
south ridge, still too craggy
class 4, just what I was looking for
class 4, just what I was looking for
ore
ore
Indigo and Copper
Indigo and Copper
Ireteba
Ireteba
Matt Burton
Matt Burton

Salt and Pepper Mountain

This peak appears to have a pleasant approach from the northwest, however to link it with Talus Mound, I decided to ascend toward the saddle between the two peaks, starting from the southwest.  This worked alright, despite not being the most pleasant of options.  There were some narrow exposed sections getting over a preliminary high point along the ridge.  Also, the summit area looked to be blocked by cliffs coming from this direction, but upon closer inspection I found a very nice slanting ramp, class 2.

Salt and Pepper
Salt and Pepper
Copper
Copper
volcanic choss near the summit
volcanic choss near the summit
nice ledge
nice ledge
Talus Mound and Indigo
Talus Mound and Indigo
Copper
Copper

Talus Mound
After retracing back to the saddle I went up and tagged peak 4 of the day.

looking back at Salt and Pepper
looking back at Salt and Pepper
Salt and Pepper from Talus Mound summit
Salt and Pepper from Talus Mound summit

Indigo Peak

Made use of the northern gully.  Plenty of rock hopping.

Salt and Pepper and Talus
Salt and Pepper and Talus
Salt and Pepper and Talus from Indigo summit
Salt and Pepper and Talus from Indigo summit

Copper Mountain

The guidebook author Courtney Purcell suggests scrambling the entire south ridge of this peak including knife-edge sections and class 4 notches.  I couldnít see the logic of that, considering thereís a nice sandy road to the mouth of the south facing canyon between the west peak and main peak.  This shorter route is half the distance of the full south ridge and has merely a smidgen of class 3 at the end.  I took a ball of cholla in the back of the leg while passing through a thick patch of it.  Trekking poles work as chopsticks to remove these.

Copper, upper south ridge
Copper, upper south ridge
the west peak across the way
the west peak across the way
Indigo below
Indigo below
thick cholla
thick cholla
Copper summit
Copper summit
Ireteba
Ireteba
Dupont
Dupont
looking down what I came up
looking down what I came up
cholla
cholla
back to the saddle
back to the saddle

Copper Mountain West Peak

Having done the shorter route on Copper I still had time to explore one more peak, so I traversed through the saddle to Copper West Peak, my 7th of the day.  Evening light was illuminating the Ireteba Peaks in yellow.


looking back at the main peak
looking back at the main peak
false summit
false summit
Black visible below
Black visible below
last light on the main peak.
last light on the main peak.

video link

Daylight hours were almost completely used up.  Despite rushing down, I did not have enough time for my final objective, Black Mountain.  I considering doing it in the dark, but decided that was a foolish idea.  Sometimes the shorter winter hours are frustrating.


12-27
Mescal Range Highpoint

I ascended the northeast ridge which is accessed from roads southeast of the peak.  I didnít try to drive to the end of the road.

Clark
Clark

Climax Peak

I followed the ridge more or less directly from the range highpoint.  Great views of Clark Mountain.

looking back at Mescal
looking back at Mescal
old meth lab on descent
old meth lab on descent

Kokoweef Peak

I scrambled up the north ridge and startled a group of large birds.  I have never seen these birds before, but they reminded me of the ďkongmaĒ Himalayan snow pheasant I saw in Nepal.  Good views down into the Kokoweef Mining town.  I have since learned that the bird in question is the Chukar partridge, an introduced game species not native to the area.

Mescal and climax seen from Kokoweef
Mescal and climax seen from Kokoweef
Chukar partridge
Chukar partridge
Striped
Striped
Slingshot
Slingshot
New York Mountains
New York Mountains

Striped Mountain

I ascended the east ridge which goes directly to the south summit.  There are two summits and the northern one is higher, despite the benchmark indicated on the south one.

ascended this ridge
ascended this ridge
Mescal seen from the summit
Mescal seen from the summit

Slingshot Mountain

I ascended the cactus choked gulley northwest from the summit.  I had a hunch that this peak doesnít see a lot of action, but I was in for a real shocker when I finally got the register jar opened.  The last signature was from 1988.  I was the 4th party overall, maybe even the 4th ascent ever.  Wow!

first ascent in 29 years
first ascent in 29 years
New York
New York
Striped, Mescal, Clark
Striped, Mescal, Clark

Kessler Peak

This one took me longer than I expected, probably because it had a bit more elevation gain than I expected.  My fault for never paying attention to the actual numbers until after the fact.  The route up the northwest ridge was very pleasant, the best one of the day.  By the time I got to the car, there was only about an hour left until sunset.

New York
New York
Providence Mountains
Providence Mountains
Clark and Mescal
Clark and Mescal

Tuetonia Peak

I didnít really have enough daylight left to do the 4 miles, plus route finding and scrambling for this last objective, but I decided to do it anyway.  I ran across the desert to the base of the mountain.  I scrambled up to the base of the cliffs and found the correct notch between the south peak and main peak after first making a blunder and going to the wrong notch.


The sun was starting to set.  My beta indicated that the next part would range from 4th class to low 5th.  I took off my ripped-up deteriorating trail runners and put on climbing shoes.  I could see the exposed slab climb, which didnít look very fun to me.  However, to the right of that I spotted a nice looking 20 foot chimney.  I climbed this narrow chimney with zero exposure.  At the top I expected some more difficulty, but there was none.

the tight chimney
the tight chimney
looking down the chimney
looking down the chimney
last peak of 2017!
last peak of 2017!

The views of the surrounding desert in the fading light were superb.  It was my final peak of 2017 and 7th for the day, a good way to wrap up another year of peakbagging.


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http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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DadFly
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Joined: 02 Jul 2012
Posts: 53 | TRs
Location: Redmond
DadFly
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PostFri Jan 12, 2018 10:04 pm 
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Those monzanite domes in the last few pics look interesting.
Where are those?

--------------
"May you live in interesting times"

Keith
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Thatís a wrap!  December of 2017
  Happy Birthday Alpine Andy, travis.diller!
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