Gateway Peak P300 RS
Damsel Peak P750 RS
Nony Peak P300 RS
Peak 4,292ft P300
Lucky Strike Peak P300 RS

Mar 23, 2024
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profiles: 1 2


I spent another full day in the Las Vegas area chasing down some summits on the northwest side of town. All but one are found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. It was another day of hard wheeling, by the end of which I was hearing some disconcerting noises from the back of the Jeep.

Gateway - Damsel

This pair of summits are located on the west side of Summerlin where development has been steadily expanding in that direction. There are 4WD roads back there, but access has been hampered by the development, and it seems clear that residents and developers would both like to cut them off for good. Eric Kassen had posted a track on PB a year ago for a public access route, but this has now been blocked at the start. I was happy to find another way to reach it off Sky Vista Dr just to the north, but I had to drive through the construction zone to reach the 4WD road. On a saturday, this part of the construction zone was inactive, but just to the north at the next entrance they had a security guy and construction traffic ongoing. When I finally got to the OHV road, I was not surprised to find it in rough condition as I suspect there will be no future grading or maintenance on the road network. There are other ways to reach these peaks not hampered by the development, but they are much longer approaches on foot. I managed to drive to a point about a mile NE of Damsel where I could do a loop of the two peaks in about 4mi, probably the easiest way to do both together.

I chose to head to Gateway first, initially following the deteriorating 4WD road up the drainage heading west. At the main split I turned left to follow that fork up the drainage as it narrows and grows rockier. Gateway comes into view after about half an hour with large cliffs on the east and south sides. I decided to try a direct line to the right of the cliffs, heading WNW out of the drainage to follow a rocky gully up. Near the top I was stopped by hidden cliffs, but found a diversion to the right that would get up to the saddle NE of the summit. Later I found that Anji Cerney's track from 2017 did almost exactly the same thing. Once at the saddle, it is an easy class 2 ramble to the summit, having taken an hour and quarter from the start.

It was terribly windy at the summit so I ducked off the leeward side for a break and perusal of the register left by an LVMC party before 2020 (the ink used for their initial entry was bleached out). There were a handful of other entries in recent years, a little surprising considering the more difficult access these days. There's a nice view of Red Rocks to the southwest, the higher Damsel Peak to the southeast, and the much higher ridgeline of La Madre Mtn to the west and north. My initial thought on getting to Damsel was to return to the drainage I'd come up since the south side seemed fraught with cliffs from what I'd seen. I decided I should at least explore the west side of those cliffs to see if I could get down that way since it would be a more direct line. I was glad I did, because there is a convenient, short class 2 gully that works quite nicely (and indeed, when I looked later, matches many of the available GPX tracks on PB) to get one down to the saddle. The remaining trek to Damsel is straightforward class 2, taking about an hour to get there from Gateway.

With over 800ft of prominence, Damsel is the more popular of the two summits, though the register I found in an ammo can was water damaged and mostly unreadable. There is another popular summit locally called Pincushion Peak about 1/3mi to the southeast, but I chose not to visit it. It doesn't have sufficient prominence, but I'll admit it looks pretty good. Maybe another time. Instead, I chose to descend one of several ridges to the NE that I could follow all the way down to the Jeep. I thought this might be enjoyable class 2, but it was covered in much loose scree on and off the whole way down, never really giving one time to relax and enjoy the views. It would be 11:30a by the time I got back to the Jeep, making for a 3.5hr outing.

Nony Peak

My next objective, Nony Peak, was about 5mi to the NNW, halfway up Kyle Canyon. It is an easy one from the paved road coming in from the north, but a long drive back out through Summerlin and NW Las Vegas. I thought I'd try to drive the OHV route out to the north that Jerry and Cheryl Thomas had driven a year ago in their Razr. As already mentioned, the roads are very rough and this section was some of the toughest I've yet attempted. I got within about 100yds of the saddle with La Madre Mtn when I called a halt. Too much side angle driving over rough rock would be required and I didn't have the confidence I'd be able to manage. I ended having to drive back out the way I came. In all, I would spend two hours driving between the two outings, but probably 45min of that was spent on the futile attempt to get through the pass.

Nony is a minor bump sitting right off the NW side of Kyle Canyon Rd on BLM lands. There is a trail system that goes around the summit with a TH located SW of the summit. I chose to park off the pavement to the SSE for the most direct way up to the top. It's all class 2 broken limestone, steep but otherwise easy. My only concern was the wall of clouds to the west over the higher summits of the Spring Mtns that were threatening to bring rain showers. It was so windy that some of the rain drops were being blown my way though the clouds were still several miles away. I was up and down in 20min, finding no register. I did note a person similarly bundled up from the cold who was plying the trail. I was happy to find that the clouds never did progress further and I would have no more threats of rain today.

Peak 4,292ft

This minor, unnamed summit lies back down Kyle Canyon Rd on its southeast side. Most folks seem to climb it from the north directly from the pavement, a distance of about half a mile. I chose to do some Jeeping and drove around the backside in Harris Springs Canyon. That makes for a shorter, albeit steeper climb of about a quarter mile, all class 2, taking less than 30min for the roundtrip effort.

Lucky Strike Peak

This good-looking summit is located at the mouth of Lucky Strike Canyon, serviced by a somewhat rough BLM road that runs the length of the canyon. There are a few GPX tracks available on PB, and my route made use of all of them, going up one way and down another. The ascent route looked the most interesting which is why I went up that way. Starting from the BLM road about a mile and a quarter SE of the summit, I headed up the wide mouth of the drainage on the peak's SE side. I angled to the right as I climbed out of the flats when I reached the peak's base. There is an interesting alcove on a more direct line that one of the tracks had gone into, then retreated. It is ringed with a series of stepped cliffs that might have a way through, but I didn't feel like taking a second crack at it. Instead, I followed the track I knew would work, to the right and up a class 2-3 gully in the curving ridgeline that would lead to the summit from the northeast. The upper part of the ridge is easy class 2 with some additional class 2-3 at the very end, taking a bit over an hour to reach the highpoint. A register from 2015 had six pages and maybe a dozen entries, not all that popular, though most of visits were in the past few years.

I chose to descend via Adam Walker's route to the south, one that I was initially regretting because the upper slopes are all disagreeable scree that would be hard to describe as fun. It funnels down to a gully where things soon get interesting and offer compensation for the scree slog above. There is some not-overly-difficult route-finding to get down through the gully as it twists and turns, dropping through dryfalls and whatnot on more solid limestone than was found above. The fun part lasted about 10min, but it made the route worthwhile. Below, it becomes an easier gradient into the wash system that can be followed back out to the flats and eventually the Jeep. It was close to 6p when I finished up, making for a pretty full day, a nice combination of wheeling and hiking. As I was driving back out Lucky Strike Canyon, I started hearing noises from the rear that were new and a little concerning. Once on the highway, everything seemed normal.

Back at the hotel in Las Vegas, I pondered what might be causing the noises at the rear of the Jeep. After picking up my wife at the Mandalay Convention Center later that evening where she'd been reffing a volleyball tournament, I had her drive it a bit in the hotel parkinglot so I could listen, but I still couldn't find the source, as it was quite dark outside. I decided it would be better to get the Jeep home than take my chances on another day of wheeling. During the night I had the thought that I should check the rear brake bolts to see if any had come loose, as that seemed the most likely source of the problem. After dropping my wife off at the convention center in the morning, I crawled under the Jeep and found that one of the bolts holding the rear caliper to the mounting bracket was indeed missing. The other bolt was loose, allowing the caliper to move - thus the source of the noise. I tightened the remaining bolt with an adjustable wrench (one of the few tools I carry), then left town. I did some research while driving back to California and found that these bolts are fairly common and might be available at an auto parts store. I stopped at one in Barstow, and eventually found one that matched close enough (it was slightly shorter than the OEM bolt) to fix it for good. I wish I'd realized it could be fixed while I was back in Las Vegas because I had another full day planned. Oh well, at least it wasn't something like a damaged transmission or rear differential which would have been a whole bigger problem...

Submit online comments or corrections about the story.

More of Bob's Trip Reports

For more information see these SummitPost pages: Damsel Peak

This page last updated: Mon Apr 1 14:43:05 2024
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: