Northshore Peak P1K 52PC / RS
Northshore South
Hamblin Mountain P750 DS / RS
Hamblin Mountain West RS
Hamblin Butte P500 RS
Anniversary West
Anniversary Narrows Peak 52PC / RS

Thu, Feb 15, 2018

With: Zach Moon

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2 3


I awoke soon after 5a and had trouble getting back to sleep. I had gone to bed early the night before, around 9a, in my quiet camp spot in Lake Mead NRA. I was to meet Zach at 7a a few miles away and it seemed too early to get up. For 45min I tossed and turned and then fell asleep again. The next thing I knew it was 6:50a and I bolted upright. Aackk! I'm late! I raced to get my act together and drive to the TH, arriving in my PJs exactly at 7a. Zach had been there earlier and was just driving back after checking another parking area up the road when I arrived. I apologized profusely but Zach took it in stride. I hate being late. We were here in Nevada east of Las Vegas to tag a handful of summits in an area neither of us had visited before. I picked them from a variety of sources. There were three different hikes, a nice selection of what the area has to offer. We even added additional bonus peaks since we were doing so well on time. Still, we barely scratched the surface of the fun that can be had here, a bonanza of rugged limestone, sandstone and volcanic peaks that could keep one busy for months.

Northshore/Northshore South

Our parking location was a turnout on Northshore Rd, about 1/3mi from our summit. On paper it looks like a quick hike, but the metric topo map doesn't show the formidable cliffs that ring this side of Northshore Peak. Hmmm, we needed another strategy. Zach had already checked on SummitPost and Purcell's guidebook confirmed that the saner way to climb this is along the Northeast Ridge starting from a TH parking another mile up the road. We left Zach's Camry and carpooled in the van to the other parking area and started from there. It's a nice climb once one has gained the ridge from which there are swell views off both sides - the firey red Bowl of Fire with the Muddy Mtns behind it to the right and Lake Mead to the left. I was not surprised to see ducks their fine summit selections without a ducked route. There is a short step along the ridge, easy class 3, otherwise your standard class 2 desert summit. As the highest peak between Northshore Rd and Lake Mead, it is a P1K, the most prominent of the day's summits. We found a busy register as expected, filled with entries from 52Peaks parties. I checked my GPSr and noted Northshore Peak West less than half a mile in that direction. Should we head over there? Zach was game though he noted Purcell described it as a choss pile. We followed the connecting ridgeline to the southwest, finding a good scramble on solid limestone, wondering why Purcell had given it a poor rating. It wasn't until I checked my GPSr again at the second summit that I noticed we'd climbed the wrong one, sort of. We'd actually climbed what PB calls Northshore South and is the obvious bonus I had looked at from Northshore Peak. Northshore West turns out to be a standalone peak now to the northwest of us and it did indeed look like a talus heap - we would skip that one even though we walked right by it on our way back to the highway. We descended the exceedingly steep NW Ridge off Northshore South, finding it about as spicey as we'd have comfortably liked (ok, perhaps a bit uncomfortably). Despite the exposure and some loose rock, we made it down safely to the saddle between Northshore South and West. From there we followed an easy wash back to the road and the then along the road to Zach's car only a third of a mile away.

Hamblin/Hamblin West/Hamblin Butte

A little 9a, we were doing well on time. Hamlin Mountain, found in Zdon's Desert Summits, would be the longest hike of the day. We reparked the cars several miles west along the road at another turnout on the north side. Directly south across the road is a stake marking the start of a trail we knew nothing about, but conveniently leads to the Hamblin's summit in about 3mi. The trail is unsigned at the start and it is easy to lose in several washes that it follows or crosses, but for the most part it's pretty darn good. Getting to the top in a bit more than an hour, it wasn't yet 11a. after signing the register and taking our share of pics (really nice views of Lake Mead from the top), we decided to head off for Hamblin West less than half a mile away along a connecting ridge. The Lake Mead views from this second summit were even better, the scrambling decent and the register less popular. I pointed out Hamblin Butte another mile and a half to the northwest, sort of on our way back to the road. Not surprisingly, Zach was game to tag that one, too. We dropped off what I thought was a connecting ridgeline to Hamlin Butte, but is really just Hamlin's steep Northwest Slopes. We had to drop all the way to the bottom where a wash separates the two peaks, then climb up the south side of Hamlin Butte. This turned out to have the best scrambling of the day, a fine bit of solid volcanic class 3 rock, especially in the lower half. The top rolls off and is more broken, tame class 2, but we both enjoyed the line we had ascended. We found another register here, also with few entries, though like all the registers we found today, none went back more than about a decade. The descent off the north side of Hamlin Butte went well, a convenient break in the cliffband was easy to find. Back down on easier terrain, we followed a pleasant wash up an easy gradient before returning to the road about a quarter mile from our cars.

Anniversary West/Anniversary Narrows

After moving our cars a few miles yet again, Zach decided he was getting tired and needed a break. Not tired from climbing, but rather a lack of sleep. He was running on only a few hours sleep after driving out from Fresno during the night and needed a nap. He drove back to Las Vegas while I drove up the Anniversary Mine Rd to near the Anniversary Narrows Trailhead. I didn't make it to the trailhead, seems I didn't read the map too well on this one, and ended up at the Anniversary Mine instead. Though signed for Private Property andNo Trespassing, it seems the mine has been abandoned, maybe. A gate was askew and I simply drove in, past what looks like the abandoned offices and up a spur road to the edge of Anniversary Narrows, a small gap through which Lowell Wash flows. Occasionally, anyway. The TH is actually on the west side of the narrows while I was on the east side. Rather than drop down and follow Purcell's route through the narrows and then up the west side of the peak, I decided to try and follow the SW Ridge directly, up and over a bonus peak on the way. It was a bit tricky with some class 3-4 downclimbs through cliff bands, but it paid off and worked nicely, with some fun limestone slab scrambing thrown in for fun. I used up most of the available daylight on this one, taking almost 2hrs to go 1.5mi to the summit of Anniversary Narrows Peak. There was another 52Peaks register here, busy as expected. I had found no register on Anniversary West, so had left one there, or at least tried to. Seems I was a bit premature and left it on a lower bump further west - maybe someone finding that one can move it to the higher summit (which on PB is oddly named "Mean Gene Peak"). To speed the return, I dropped directly to the southwest from the summit, easy going at the top and bottom, but with some fun & tricky scrambling down a steep drainage in the middle. I eventually returned to the mine site after traversing the base of the ridge, getting myself back to the van by 5p - using up just about all the available daylight today...


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