Eric left us in the morning to head back to Albuquerque. Iris was still off
working for The Man in Baltimore, but was due back this evening in Las Vegas,
leaving Tom and I to hang around the area for the day. I had picked out a
collection of peaks on the east side of Las Vegas found in Purcell's
Rambles & Scrambles. Of most interest were Pinnacle and Red Needle which
garnered high ratings for scrambling.
This summit is located in the middle of a huge residential development
sandwiched between Lake Las Vegas to the north and E. Lake Mead Pkwy to the
south. It's very easy but has great views, nice for an early morning warmup.
We drove roads not exactly open to the public (intended for construction
traffic) to get within a few minutes' hike on side of the
volcanic . It's not clear if the top will be developed or left as
open space, but you can expect any homes built there to be the most expensive,
commensurate with .
Lake Las Vegas is squeezed between Lake Mead NRA to the east and BLM lands
to the west. These next five summits are all located on the BLM lands NW of
Lake Las Vegas. Access is more obvious from the north via SR147 (aka
E. Lake Mead Blvd, not to be confused with the similarly named E. Lake Mead
Pkwy to the south), but we were to the south. Access here is a bit confusing
and non-obvious. We first tried to gain access off Lake Las Vegas Pkwy where
Google Streetview shows a truck with trailer accessing the dirt road. That is
no longer driveable, and can only be used for foot or bike access. We studied
the satellite views more and found we could gain access from the roundabout
with Montelago Blvd. We left Tom's truck at nearby Terrazza Park and took the
Jeep for the rest of the day.
is a nice looking volcanic plug just west
of a set of power lines. The BLM road we followed to the north is the service
road for these power lines. We managed to get pretty close by
at one of the transmission towers. it was a 15min
/ to . There was a single
modestly exposed class 3 section that we climbed (though we found an easier
option on the way down) on decent rock, a fun but rather short exercise. Paula
Raimondi had left here a year and half ago - her name pops
up regularly around Las Vegas. There is a neat view of Lava Butte to
with the striking figure of Red Needle in the foreground.
It was to this that we next turned our attention.
We had not planned on any rock climbing this trip, so did not have any real
gear necessary to climb this feature. In his guidebook, Purcell describes
using an extension ladder to aid the climb. Without either proper gear or
ladder, it seemed we stood little chance, but we decided to give it a look
anyway. The feature is indeed as impressive as it is from a
distance. The conglomerate nature of the rock does not inspire confidence. The
initial step up sandstone slabs are easy enough, then one must
uninspiring crud to reach the main obstacle - a 15-foot,
slightly overhanging crack. This is where Purcell had deployed his ladder. Tom
had some webbing, a harness and few loose slings. We found a rope
, thinking this might offer a way up, but a strong
tug brought it tumbling down. Tom to tie around a
small chockstone partway up the crack, as a means to offer some protection. I
used a hip belay to keep Tom from tumbling off our ledge should he fall, but any
fall would likely offer real bodily harm. After to find
suitable foot and hand holds, Tom judged the rock quality to be insufficient
for a safe climb, and he backed down. More gear would be called for. We would
not climb Red Needle today.
Red Fox Peak
We returned to the utility road and drove a short distance north, parking at
an informal shooting range on of Red Fox. Various
bullet-ridden items are strewn about, including a child's
set. There are disturbing psychological questions
surrounding such target choices that are probaby better left unexplored. We
the class 2 NW Ridge in less than 10 minutes. Kevin Humes
had left here the previous year, one of many he's placed in
the Las Vegas area. I had left my GPSr in the Jeep by accident, so the GPX track
does not include this summit.
This is the most mountain-like of the day's summits. With nearly 900ft of
prominence, it dominates the area and is easily recognized from many vantage
points. We parked where the BLM road goes over a saddle northwest of the
summit near , and took 30min to climb to the
summit. on that side are loose and crumbly and not all that
much fun. is a pile of volcanic rock and features a
upside down in the latest of conservative protest gestures designed to bring
awareness to the socialist/globalist policies ruining this great nation. Or
whatever. The fine views include a really cool one of Rainbow Gardens to
, a unique geologic feature best viewed from up high.
White Eagle Peak
After returning to the Jeep, we spent the next 30min driving north and then
south to access Rainbow Gardens and White Eagle Peak. The name was bestowed by
Purcell for the defunct White Eagle Mine on the east side of the summit. The
area has numerous prospects and tailings, all inactive now. The BLM has added
to keep out overly-enthusiastic OHV drivers.
to from is a standard
class 2 desert hike, taking less than 20min. The footing is better than on the
previous two summits, and the makes for moderately fun
scrambling. The summit held another Kevin Humes from the
previous year. Stav Basis was the back in October.
Division Peak - Unity Peak
These two peaks combined for an interesting outing. Purcell has given Division's
East Ridge high marks. We managed to drive fairly close to the ridge's toe
on , off an unmarked road north of SR147. The area has
been used extensively for target practice. The peak is primarily composed of
limestone, which accounts for the on
. It's , but still enjoyable, in the
class 2-3 range. We took half an hour to reach of Division,
finding yet another Humes register, this one , with a number
of recognizable names. We dropped off to
with the higher Unity Peak, then scrambled up its
, another 30min between the summits. And yes, Humes had left
a register here as well. There is a good view
to Sunrise Mtn, the highest in the immediate area.
was the most interesting of this short loop, taking
us down the SE Slopes. There are cliffs in the lower half to be negotiated,
Tom and I taking very different routes as personal preferences dictated. He
went down more to the west while I continued on a descending trajectory to the
southeast, but both routes had their challenges.
Near the bottom I came upon what looked to be an abandoned homeless
encampment, partially built into small caves in the cliffs. Someone had spent
considerable time here, but most of what remains is just piles of discarded
materials and trash. It was 3:45p by the time we back at
the Jeep, Tom arriving a few minutes before me.
We drove back to Lake Las Vegas to
retrieve Tom's truck, splitting up from there. I took off to start the long
drive back to San Jose while Tom hung around Las Vegas for the arrival of Iris's
flight in a few hours. Traffic getting through Las Vegas was pretty sucky
during the afternoon commute hours, so it was some time before I got back in
California. I ended up driving to the Halloran Springs exit off Interstate 15,
about 15mi east of Baker. I planned to do a short hike in the morning near
there before continuing my way home...