Escarpment Peak RS
Peak 5,140ft
Trident RS
Flowered Peak P300 RS

Tue, Jan 22, 2019

With: Eric Smith
Steve Sywyk

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2


Bird Spring Range

Following a more technical day tackling Bridge Mtn in Red Rocks, I left our second day as a more relaxed affair, giving Eric and Steve a chance to recuperate. The weather dawned cold and windy as it had the previous two days, but at least it was mostly sunny today, none of the clouds and stinging bits of blowing snow. The peaks I had in mind were a trio of summits at the north end of the Bird Spring Range, south of SR160. Two of these are found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. We could start from our campsite in Cottonwood Valley, part of the Red Rock NCA that has free primitive camping. The area is laced with a network of mountainbiking trails, a popular recreational activity in the park on both sides of SR160. We started off on one such trail that forked off to another called the Badger Pass Loop. After about 45min we left the trail to head more steeply up open slopes towards Peak 5,140ft where Leroy's troubles began. He tends to run all over the place, looking for rabbits and other small animals, none of which he's ever been successful at catching. In the valleys through which the bike trails ran this wasn't much of a problem as he could pretty much go where he wished. As we climbed the slopes, however, we went through a patch fairly heavy with cactus, including some cholla that all too easily found their way onto Leroy. He would stop to pick a needle or two out his paws with his teeth, but I don't think he was terribly successful at this. We took some burrs off his fur before they could become trouble, but the slope, not really bad by Mojave standards, was worse than anything he'd encountered in his native New Mexico. Poor Leroy. Eric didn't seem too concerned about it, chalking it up to a learning experience that would make Leroy smarter or stronger. Luckily the cacti were harder to find along the crest of the range that we followed to the summit and spent more time on. Leroy was a good sport about it and complained little.

We found an LVMC register from 2016 at the summit of Peak 5,140ft, adding our names as the first visitors from the new year. We spent the next 45min following the ridgeline to Escarpment Peak after first dropping down a steep slope to a saddle. We picked up a motorcycle track for much of the distance that made things a little easier with less cacti. Escarpment Peak is named for the more dramatic drop on the east side of the peak, though our route from the west was pretty tame as gradients go. We found no register and left none, pausing at the summit only long enough to take a break from the wind on the leeward side to the west. Afterwards, we continued north following the ridgeline for well over an hour until we dropped to a low saddle. Here I laid out the route to the third summit, Trident Peak which was about a mile in the opposite direction from camp. It was pretty clear we'd have to lose all the elevation we'd gained, then climb some 300ft back up to this more isolated summit. The others declined, including Leroy (though technically Eric made the choice for him), so as they headed west over the saddle we stood upon, I went over the east side on my way to Trident. What had looked like a messy descent turned out to be a good deal easier thanks to an informal motorcycle track I stumbled upon as soon as I had started down. It made the descent more like class 1 and it would take me only half an hour to get from the saddle to the summit of Trident. There was another register found there, from the same LVMC crew (headed by Kevin Humes, it seems, and rather fond of green ink) that I've run across dozens of times now in the past few years (he'd also left the register found on Peak 5,140ft). After descending back down from the bland summit, I picked up the mountainbike trail system that I was able to follow all the way to our campsite. By the time I got back just before 2:30p, the others had already left for Valley of Fire, following directions I'd given them when we were together earlier.

Flowered Peak

With several hours of daylight remaining, I decided to pay a visit to another peak also found in Pucell's guidebook. This one is the highpoint of a small range of hills located west of the community of Blue Diamond, off Red Rock Canyon Rd/Blue Diamond Rd. Purcell describes the approach from the NE as going through a quarter mile of broken glass, wrecked cars and other detritus, so instead I decided to approach from the southwest, utilizing the Late Night staging area off SR160 and the dirt road that leads to the Black Velvet TH. This got me within a mile of the summit, a longer outing perhaps, but none of the trash. I made a looping route of it, sometimes following one of the many bike trails found around here. even goes within about 20yds of the summit, which makes this a bikeable summit. Many, but not all of the trails are shown on Google Maps, but a quick internet search did not reveal any obvious source of a more comprehensive bike map (maybe you have to pay for these at the local bike shops?). The hike is fairly easy, taking about half an hour to reach the summit and less on the return where I used a more direct line of descent. Kevin Humes had left another register at the summit (along with the green ink, of course) that proved more popular than the one on Trident. I was amused to see that the most recent visitor a month earlier was Bob Packard, the famously prolific peakbagger from Arizona.

I called it a day when I returned to the jeep shortly before 4p. I showered where I'd parked, then drove into Las Vegas for gas and supplies before heading east to join my pals outside Valley of Fire SP. It was amusing that I had had some trouble identifying the free camp spot I'd used previously when visiting Valley of Fire, but after a few tries, I had forwarded the correct location to Eric who was already in the area and found it on the third go-around. We would spend the next four nights at this location as we explored the popular state park during the day. The weather finally changed for the better as the winds died down to negligible and the temps rose to more normal desert conditions.


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