Southern Highlands Peak P500
Sloan Mine Peak P500
Southern Highlands Hill
Peak 3,664ft

Tue, Feb 22, 2022

With: Tom Grundy
Tom Becht

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile

Continued...

This was a half day effort in the Las Vegas area, in the middle of a 16-day roadtrip. The wind blew strongly all day, picking up desert dust and reducing visibility significantly. It wasn't the greatest day to be out, and besides, I needed to do laundry. I was staying near the airport with my wife who was in town to ref volleyball. She was flying out at midday to head to Hawaii with a ref friend where they would continue their working vacation. Not a bad life. I was up early to join Tom and Tom in the Sloan area south of Las Vegas. They had spent the night camped near Camping World and the Interstate. Iris needed to work today, so she would do so remotely while the boys went off to play.

Southern Highlands Peak

Located just west of Interstate 15 and north of Sloan, the peak features a pair of microwave relay towers and a rough road going nearly to the summit. The crux may be figuring out how to get from the highway to the BLM lands north of Sloan. The road to the summit is only suitable for high-clearance vehicles. We drove up in two Jeeps (mainly because Tom prefers wheeling to being a passenger). It is a short walk of less than a minute to the limestone summit, overlooking the southern part of Las Vegas Valley. We were quick to get up, snap a few shots, and get down with the cold, biting wind blasting us.

Sloan Mine Peak

Directly west of the previous peak, this summit has been extensively mined and continues to be so. The Sloan Mining Company owns the summit and western half of the mountain. More than a hundred feet have been removed and the highpoint is now a quarter mile south of where it used to be. Eric Kassan has a TR on PB that describes two nearly-equal points now vying for the highpoint, but that is no longer true. The southern point is clearly the highest, as seen from Southern Highlands Peak and from the summit. Railroad tracks run though the valley between Southern Highlands and this summit. Two trains came by during our visit, so fairly busy. We parked just below the tracks at the base of the SE Ridge and went up from there. To avoid the strong winds, we stayed off the very ridge where we could, but it makes for a decent climb whichever line you choose (except Eric's track which goes up to the lower northern point first). Like most of the peaks in the area, it is primarily limestone and has good footing for the entire climb. Again, we stayed only briefly due to the wind. There was no register at the summit, but I didn't expect one - no telling where the highpoint will be in a year or two.

After returning to the vehicles, TomB left us to begin his drive back to Southern California. TomG had a few more hours before it was time for he and Iris to do likewise, so we continued to a few more summits.

Southern Highlands Hill

Located a few miles north of Southern Highlands Peak, this minor hill is found just north of the Southern Highlands Golf Club and an exclusive residential community with ridiculously large homes. At the end of Stonewater Ln on the south side of the hill is parking for the trail network found to the west and northwest. We went through the space in the locked gate to the north, not signed for No Trespassing. There is a second fence further north just up from the base of the hill. Going over this was the crux, but unnecessary since there is a breach in the fence to the east that you can drive a truck through. We found this easier way on our return. There is a register left by Terry Flood at the southern of two closed contours shown on the topo map. So far the hill has resisted development, but it is encroaching on all sides.

Peak 3,664ft

This one took some work. It is located about 4mi southwest of Sloan, but we approached from the north on old BLM roads that may be officially closed to the public now. A gate off S. Rainbow Blvd was locked, but the fencing was breached a short distance to the south. We drove more than five miles, first along a transmission line, then up a wash where the road becomes increasingly rough. It becomes a rock-crawling exercise that I didn't find particulary enjoyable. Eventually we stopped about 2mi from our peak when progress became slower than we could walk. We then walked 1.5mi of continuing road followed by a half mile of cross-country to reach the summit. The winds were stronger than they had been all day, and our only respite was staying off the ridge, onto the north slopes. Clouds and dust filled the sky, leaving us with harsh views from a desert world. We left a register here before returning the same way. We did notice the road conditions looked considerably easier coming up from the Sloan area to the east - it might offer a much easier route to get close to the summit for future visitors.

It was 1:30p before we returned to Iris back near the Interstate, about an hour and a half longer than we had planned for. Luckily we were able to get Iris a message regarding our delay, and the exact time wasn't critical - Iris would be able to continue working while Tom drove the rest of the afternoon. I ended up calling it a day and headed to a laundromat where I could revive the collection of unpleasant-smelling clothes I'd collected over the past 10 days. A minor storm was headed over the area that would drop some rain and maybe snow during the night, so I prepared to hunker down and wait for it to pass. It was forecast to be cold the next morning, hopefully not enough to keep me out of the hills...

Continued...


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