Mummys Forehead 52PC / RS
Mummys Chin 52PC / RS
Mummys Nose 52PC / RS
Harris Mountain P900 GBP / DS / RS

Tue, Jul 18, 2017
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

Continued...

Day 3 in the Spring Mtns had me back for another go at Mummy Mtn. Not the highpoint which I had reached two days earlier, but a trio of summits around the mummy's "head" that I had been unable to reach on that first effort. Cliffs seemed to bar any possibility of traversing from the highpoint to the head. Today's effort would approach from the northwest off Lee Canyon, a route I had gleaned off PB with a GPX track I downloaded. I intended to make a loop of things by descending to the northwest off Mummys Nose and around its NW Ridge, a route I had viewed from several angles the previous day when I was traversing the Sisters. With heavy rains forecasts from afternoon thunderstorms, I got a very early start to avoid any foul weather. Finishing well before 10a and with the threat of thunderstorms minimal, I drove to Kyle Canyon for a second hike to Harris Mtn. This one would take but 2.5hrs (more than 4hrs for the first one), finishing the day early by 12:30p. Though I had done less than 10mi of hiking, the gain had exceeded 6,000ft and I was ready to call it day.

Mummys Head

I used the large parking area on the west side of Lee Canyon Rd (SR156), about a mile uphill from the SR156/SR158 junction. The route up the main gully is not hard to find - simply cross the road and dry creekbeds and head southeast up the drainage. The route climbs 2,300ft in 1.25mi to a saddle between Mummys Forehead and Nose, steep by most measures. Ducks and a use trail soon appear - this is a 52 Peak Club route, so we wouldn't expect anything less. No route-finding issues at all if you simply pay attention to the bountiful ducks. At the saddle, you have two choices for reaching Mummys Forehead & Chin. Either drop 200ft down the other side of the saddle and follow the forested drainage southwest up to the cirque between the two, or climb 40ft of class 4-5 face climbing from the saddle to reach easier ground and follow the NE Ridge to Mummys Forehead. The former is no more than class 2, but the latter is more sporting. A small, dead tree leans against the class 4-5 section and a rope tied to it goes up the face where it is anchored to a large tree. The sheath of this green rope was complete worn off where the rope goes over the sharp limestone edge, making it less than ideal as a handline. I ended up using the dead tree to start, then climbed exposed stuff to the left of the handline before zagging back to the rope above the abraided section. I had looked at the line going up where the rope lay, but it was too vertical and that ragged section had me nervous (which is why I moved left on less-vertical terrain). A second rope is found just above the first, going 20ft up a near-vertical section. No abrasion on this rope, but I'll be damned if I'm going vertical on a handline. As it turns out, the second rope is completely unnecessary. A class 3 route with some exposure goes far to the left. To avoid climbing through some brush, continue traversing left until a clear route can be found above. This would be the obvious way to go if one wasn't tempted by the second rope. To keep others from attempting to climb up the rope, I pulled it up from above. Both ropes are several years old and quite stiff. I wouldn't want to rappel on either, especially that first rope. Maybe someone reading this can bring up a fresh rope to replace or at least supplement that first rope.

Once above the rope sections, the going is quite easy through a bristlecone forest, class 2 all the way to the summit of Mummys Forehead. It took me 2.5hrs to reach the top of the first summit, your mileage may vary. An ammo box here has the usual busy register for a 52 Peak Club peak, rife with business cards that have since been removed. It was funny that the slogan on the club card seems to have skipped proof-reading - "Changing lifes one peak at a time." Mummys Chin is only a quarter mile south of Mummys Forehead, but the connecting ridgeline is attention-getting. One can ignore the ridge by dropping down into the cirque before climbing the second peak, but I decided to see if the ridge would go. It does, at class 3-4, but the loose material that comprises the route is not worth recommending. It took about 15min to traverse between the two, another ammo box holding a register here. I spent some time studying the view to Mummy Mtn where I had been stymied two days earlier. There was no obvious weakness that I had missed, and at least one of the two major chutes I could see to the left had hard snow patches that would have stopped me short of descending those. I'd be curious to know if folks have found a way to traverse across that gap.

I turned northeast and descended the gully between the Forehead/Chin, using the easier alternate route back to the saddle rather than try and descend the class 4-5 section. The gully drops steeply, narrows some, and soon I picked up ducks and a use trail traversing below cliffs to the 200-foot ascent slope up to the saddle. Back at the saddle, more ducks and use trails lead up to Mummys Nose, a class 2 effort that had me atop this last summit by 8:30a. A plastic bottle holds a register here - an ammo box would seem more appropriate, of course. After snapping a photo looking back at the Forehead & Chin, I turned northwest and started the descent off Mummys Nose. The ridge itself cliffs out in a few hundred feet, but alternates to the left (west side) offer ways through the cliffs and progress downslope. Some ducks appeared that took me down about a quarter mile, but these appear to be for a route coming up from SR158 somewhere. I knew there were significant cliffs on the west side of the NW Ridge, so I moved right to drop steeply down a forested section I had seen the day prior, hugging the base of the cliffs all the way around to where one can drop easily down scree slopes to the west. This route along the cliffs was super-sweet, almost as though it were a use trail - but no ducks. Yay. Anyway, I would recommend this for a descent route but it would be extremely tedious for an ascent thanks to the scree overkill that characterizes most of the route. I eventually rejoined my original route in the gully with less than half a mile to go. It made for a fine tour of the Mummys Head. Back at the van, I drove down Lee Canyon to the junction with SR158 and took that for 10mi to Kyle Canyon and the Mt. Charleston development which I would use to ascend Harris Mtn. The roads are signed to discourage recreational use of the residental areas, but I simply drove to the starting point indicated on the GPX track I had gotten from PB. Though parking is not allowed on any roads, I took that to mean the paved roads, not the gravel cul-de-sac I found at the end of the road past the last homes. I spent a few hours here when I got back and even had a police vehicle drive by, but they didn't bother to stop and tell me I couldn't be there. Again, your experience may vary. The route is a simple one, Harris Mtn less than 1.5mi from where I started. I crossed a stream diversion channel (much work was spent to keep some of the homes safe from flash floods here) and started up to Harris's NW Ridge. A fire burned here several years ago leaving much of the slopes open and sunny. It appears to be too dry for brush to grow up and choke the slopes, leaving cross-country travel pretty straightforward. I spent about 1.5hrs climbing 2,500ft to the summit where one gets a fine view overlooking the La Madre Wilderness, Red Rocks Recreation Area, and the Mt.Charleston massif that dominates the view to the west. There is a benchmark here and a tattered register in a rusty tin. This one isn't one of the 52, so no club cards or the usual large entries from club parties. I descended back down the next ridgeline to the west just for a change of pace. It turned out to be slightly more direct, getting me back down to the van in just about an hour. Time for a shower and a beer...

Continued...


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