Summerlin Peak 2x RS
Mt. Woody P300 RS
Mt. Gottlieb P750 RS
Mt. Golden Eagle P300 RS
Lonely Pinon Peak P300 RS

Feb 17, 2019

With: Iris Ma
Bill Carpenter
Jon Avery

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2 3
Summerlin Peak previously climbed Feb 20, 2017


Today's hikes were in the mountains northwest of Las Vegas, the westernmost extensions of La Madre Mountain, a massive limestone collection found north of Red Rock Canyon NCA. With Iris running a bit late, I drove from the Strip where I was staying to meet up with Bill at the end of Far Hills Rd. He had spent the night sleeping in his car near there, experience first rain and then snow during the night. While waiting for Iris, I explored the area west of where we met to see if the dirt roads were accessible. They were not, due to a new development getting underway and a massive trench that had been dug cutting off access to the road I had hoped to drive. My backup plan was to use the Buckskin Shadows TH parking further north that I had used on a previous visit to Summerlin Peak two years earlier. I texted the new meeting spot to Iris while Bill and I prepared to move our cars 10min up the road. As luck would have it we all arrived at the TH parking area at the same time and were off and running (ok, walking) just before 7:30a.

Summerlin Peak/Mt. Woody/Mt. Gottlieb

It hadn't just snowed on Bill's car, but also on the mountains behind him, especially at the higher elevations, up to several inches in places, keeping the outing more interesting than it would be otherwise. There was no snow lower when we started, whatever having fallen during the night already melted off. We followed a trail up the wash heading west, going around the south side of nearby Cheyenne Mtn. A new development has sprung up between our TH parking and Summerlin Peak, causing us some confusion. There is a trail that goes around the north and west sides of this development, but we didn't know that until later. Instead, we wandered through the mostly empty streets, looking for a way to get across it to the base of Summerlin's Southeast Ridge. I did a poor job of navigating through the suburban neighborhood, taking us through the back yards of some of the model homes that ended with difficult class 3 crossing of a brick wall. We eventually got to the west side of the development and almost immediately spotted the trail we should have used. Oh well. We had great fun imagining what we would have done had security caught up with us during the escapade. Iris said she would have run.

We followed the trail south as it contoured around the base of the mountain for only a short distance before heading upslope towards the Southeast Ridge. The ridge climbs steeply for almost 2,000ft in less than a mile and it would take us over an hour just for this ridgeline portion. The climbing is mostly class 2 but there are a few spicey class 3 sections where cliffs need to be negotiated. There is an obvious, huge cliff along the ridge that we avoided by crossing a drainage and going up through a break in the cliff to the adjacent ridge to the north. On my previous visit I had downclimbed some stiff class 3-4 through that obvious cliff, but had forgotten it would work on this go around. There is more class 3 fun in the final 100ft or so to the summit as the ridgeline narrows considerably and grows steepest.

It was 9:10a by the time we arrived on top. We were bundled up from the wind and cold which would not leave us the whole day. Temps stayed in the 30s at the higher elevations above 4,000ft and though not as windy as the previous days, it was enough to have us putting on additional jackets each time we reached a summit. There was a busy register on Summerlin, a bit battered, but useable. As we were starting off again, heading to Mt. Woody further west, we spotted someone far ahead of us along the ridgeline. We joked that it was Robert chasing us again, but of course it was someone who had simply gotten an earlier start on us. As we continued along the ridgeline gaining more altitude, we encountered more snow and found ourselves following in the snowy footprints of the person ahead of us. By the time we reached Mt. Woody another 300ft higher at 5,300ft, the other person had nearly reached a further point along the ridge, Little Red Rock Peak. We took a short break at Mt. Woody, disappointed to find no register here. It would take us almost 20min to reach that next point, Little Red Rock, where we found the other gentleman had waited for our arrival. He turned out to be Jon Avery, a 26yr-old local from the Las Vegas area. He was doing almost the same outing as us, also for the first time, and planned to continue up to Mt. Gottlieb, our final stop. We got along like brethren souls and ended up hiking the rest of the day together. We all signed a register we found here left by Harlan a year earlier, already with 4 pages of entries. We had one tricky section to downclimb on our way to Gottlieb, but otherwise it was a class 2 exercise in snow avoidance. Though the underlying limestone gave us great footing, our boots were wet by now and we had had well enough of the wet snow that could occasionally be slippery.

It was 11a by the time we reached the 5,800-foot summit of Mt. Gottlieb, our highest elevation for the day. We were near the lower layer of clouds that permeated the sky and we would have only sporadic views from the summit. The summit had a more serious ammo box to hold a far busier register. We signed this one too while snacking on delicious chips Bill had been carrying around and sharing, along with Iris' signature Halloween candy selection. Because of the weather uncertainty, we decided to take the safe exit off the mountain rather than explore the unknown South Ridge. We returned back to the saddle with Little Red Rock and descended the gully to the south, mostly class 2 with a few short bits of class 3. Jon had parked his Subaru at the end of West Lake Mead Blvd which made for a shorter return. It would be 12:30p before we found our way back to Jon's car, then a 10min drive to get us back to our other vehicles.

Mt. Golden Eagle

We still had lots of daylight (not sunlight, sadly), so we decided to find some other peaks in the area we could do. I took five minutes to consult my GPSr and Purcell's guidebook that I had conveniently in the jeep, and quickly came up with Mt. Golden Eagle only 10min away. It isn't quite so big as the name might suggest, but it's an interesting limestone standalone, much like nearby Cheyenne Mtn and Lone Mtn that I had already climbed. We piled into the jeep, leaving the other cars at the original TH parking, and headed off for Golden Eagle. We found our way to West La Mancha Ave which quickly becomes dirt/gravel. It was also blocked by some concrete barriers but we were easily able to get around it using a jeep-able bypass. We also found a spur road climbing partway up the north side of the peak, leaving us only about 1/3mi from the summit with maybe 500ft of gain. It started snowing more strongly as we had been driving and was coming down at a rate of maybe an inch per hour as we started hiking up. It lasted only for about the 15min that it took us to reach the summit ridge, but it added some excitement climbing through some class 3 sections. There are two summits of nearly equal height, but the southern one is a tad higher and held the register. On the return we took a more direct route that bypasses the north summit and avoids all the class 3, the whole outing taking less than an hour.

Lonley Pinyon Peak

It was just after 2p, so I suggested we might do this last peak. From the summit of Golden Eagle, I had spied a dirt track running high up the east side of Lonely Pinyon Peak that would make it fairly easy. The others were all game so off we drove. We reached the end of the road at about 3,700ft, leaving us about 2/3mi from the summit with just over 1,000ft of gain. The hike was interesting, taking us about an hour and quarter roundtrip. We went up the central gully on the east side before turning left to head more directly to the summit. No additional precipitation fell and we had decent views despite the heavy cloud cover, with a great deal of snow showing on the higher La Madre Mtn to the southwest. We cobbled together a register to leave at the summit from some leftover pieces, then headed down the north side of the central drainage to make a small loop of it. We got stymied briefly when we found ourselves atop a ring of cliffs near the end, but we eventually found an easy way around them to get back by 3:45p. A good day overall despite the weather, totaling about 5,000ft of gain and ten miles.


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