On my own today in the Las Vegas area, I headed to BLM lands southwest of town
for a collection of summits, four of them found in Purcell's Rambles &
Scrambles. The longest hike combined two summits in a 4-mile loop, but most
of them were short but steep affairs. There are many jeep roads found
throughout the area, most can be managed by any reasonably high-clearance
vehicle. There were a few other vehicles encountered over the course of the
day, but for the most part I had many square miles of lovely desert terrain all
This was the only summit actually located within the Red Rock NCA
are on BLM lands to the east). It lies just east of the Bird Spring Range and
might be considered part of it. Roads get within half a mile on the west and
south sides. I used the west side approach up the NW Ridge, pleasant
enough and not very steep. An LVMC party had left a register here in
2018. Some snow could be seen on the much higher Potosi Mtn to the west.
About 3mi southwest of Joshua Peak, this summit lies in the middle of a long
north-south ridgline separating two wide valleys. The east side of the ridge
is a picturesque escarpment that looks good from that direction. A
road not shown on the topo map runs up to a low saddle on the ridgeline
just south of Christmas Gift. A short but steep climb up broken limestone slopes
gets one to the top fairly quickly. The busiest register of
the day with three pages.
Joshua Tree / Peak 4,460ft
Joshua Tree lies at the southern end of the same escarpment shared with
Christmas Gift. Viewed from the south or east, it is
the best-looking summit
of the day. I combined this with Peak 4,460ft which lies on another ridgeline
to the southwest. A road runs through the pass between them. I started from
the pass thinking it would be the quickest way, but realized I probably
should have driven another half mile further southeast where I would have been
between the two. Still, it made for a nice 2-hour loop. There was no register
atop Joshua Tree, but Tracy Foutz had left one (oddly, undated) on Peak
4,460ft. There is a geocache located in a small cairn on the slightly lower
point just northwest of Peak 4,460ft.
A fairly short outing, taking less than 20min each way with about 500ft of
gain. Not a very good-looking summit, but easy. No register. I wasn't
carrying a daypack today, so wasn't placing any registers of my own. Not that
these small peaks really need one.
This summit was the furthest south of the day, marking the turnaround point
before heading back to SR160 where I'd started. A spur road leading to the Gary
Allen Quarry gets one close to Peak 4,376ft on the east side. Another
short but steep climb takes less than 20min. No register here as well.
This summit is found a few miles east of the day's first summit, Joshua Peak.
It was one of the longer hikes, about a mile and a quarter each way from the
west. The lower slopes are moderately steep, but then it rolls off for
the last half mile as one continues east towards the highpoint, making
for a lovely late afternoon hike with nice lighting. It was the only summit on
the day with a view of Las Vegas, though that's not really a plus in
my book. An LVMC party had left a register here, the only summit that
ascent for 2020. I finished up after 4:30p and called it a day. The sun would
set before I was able to finish the drive back to the pavement near SR160.
The city suburbs continue to grow, building up on both sides of what used to
be a fairly lonely highway. Now it seems to always be busy with traffic and
there are a dozen streetlights that have been installed along it. Hard to