Joshua Peak P300 RS
Christmas Gift P500 RS
Joshua Tree P500 RS
Peak 4,460ft P300
Peak 4,113ft P300
Peak 4,376ft P300
Peacock Mountain P300 RS

Sat, Feb 15, 2020
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

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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 to myself.

Joshua Peak

This was the only summit actually located within the Red Rock NCA (the others 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.

Christmas Gift

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.

Peak 4,113ft

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.

Peak 4,376ft

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.

Peacock Mtn

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 showed another 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 stop progress...

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