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Kraft Mountain previously climbed Mon, Feb 15, 2016|
Big Bird Peak previously climbed Mon, Feb 15, 2016
The prior day's outing to Mescalito/Bridge had been a bit more than any of us had been expecting, finishing in the dark after more than a full day. Patrick had gone home to lick his wounds. Karl, who hadn't joined us, reported a lovely outing to Crest and North Peaks via the convenient trail on the backside. In order to draw Karl back into the fold and to give Tom a deserved break, I suggested an easier outing in the Calico Hills, specifically to Greycap, with Goat Bed Peak as an easy bonus. The outing wasn't nearly long enough to satisfy us for the day, so we tacked on a few other summits in the area that I'd done earlier, and finally an almost-embarassing outing to Wilsons Pimple to close out the day.
We spent the first 30min getting to the base of Goat Bed (really just a small point on Greycap's SE Ridge) across Gateway Canyon from Big Bird, then climbing nice sandstone slopes to the more straightforward class 2 limestone ridgeline. By 8:10a we'd reached the summit, pausing briefly to peruse a register found there and take in the views overlooking the Calico Hills. A mile to the northwest rises the higher Greycap to which we soon set off for. In his book Rambles & Scrambles, Purcell describes the traverse between the two as "remarkably interesting", the inspiration for the day's outing. Upon actually doing it over the next hour and a quarter, none of us were to find this suitably descriptive. The ridge becomes more challenging than the section we had just done to reach Goat Bed, but aside from a few towers that needed circumventing and a very nice (but short) sandstone section, it was mostly nothing special.
Greycap's summit does have a fine view of Turtlehead to the west and its register had some remarkably interesting original art. The scrambling got a lot more interesting as we headed off the south side, following a series of ducks that led down the colorful sandstone bluffs that characterize this side of Greycap. This was the stuff we'd come to Red Rocks for, and over the next hour we got to enjoy the wonderfully accomodating sandstone features as we dropped 1,400ft into Gateway Canyon whose dry gravel wash forms the Lower Gateway Canyon Trail. We had originally planned to return over Hell Hill Trail (between New Peak and Kraft Mtn) back into Calico Basin, but as it was barely 10:30a we decided to add Kraft and Big Bird to the morning's agenda.
Safely off, we regrouped and headed down. We found a ducked line off the south side that was more interesting than the ridgeline I'd followed up from the SE on my first visit. It was after noon by the time we got down to easier ground. There were a number of bouldering parties spread out over the area by this time. Conversation mixed with the barking of dogs and other noises to liven the scene as we passed through. There was far more talk than actual action, but that often seems to be the case for bouldering in general. We joined other folks hiking and jogging on the trail network as we made our way back to the parking lot by 12:30p.
We drove back to Moenkopi Rd where we showered and consumed a few adult beverages and snacks to while away some time before heading back into Summerlin for dinner. We ended up eating burgers at Islands off Charleston Rd, a decent enough choice where we had our fill before heading back to camp. A Civil War drama that we watched turned out to be somewhat of a dud (Gods and Generals) as one by one we lost interest. Possibly, that had more to do with us being tired and over-satiated at that point...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Greycap - Kraft Mountain
This page last updated: Tue Mar 15 08:49:44 2016
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