Thu, Mar 31, 2022
|Story||Photos / Slideshow||Maps: 1 2||GPX||Profiles: 1 2|
I was in the Highland Range of southern Clark County, looking to visit a handful of summits found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles guidebook. I would be kept busy for the entire day doing seven of these, having to leave the last for the following morning. It's a rugged range with plenty of scrambling opportunities. I had already been to the range HP in 2018, and then the class 4 Castle Peak in 2020. I'd forgotten how fun that last outing was, but was back to get reacqainted with the range.
It was shortly before 10:30a when I started out to Highland Peak, the closest of the three and only about 1/3mi distant. Cliffs abound in the area and routes need to be chosen more carefully. I headed southeast up the drainage leading to a saddle on the north side of Highland. A cliffband is presented just above the saddle. I used a class 2-3 ramp with exposure to get through this, but it seems there are easier ways if one explores more to the left (east). Above this, it's all class 2. I headed to the northern point first, only to find the southern one is the highpoint, with a cairn and benchmark, but no register. It took about 30min from the Jeep, a straightforward affair.
Sleeping Indian, my next stop, was a bit more involved. I first reversed the route off Highland to the north, then from the saddle I made a descending traverse to the northwest where the guzzlers were located next to another saddle. A pair of ATVs drove up while I was on my way there, but they were already gone by the time I arrived. From the saddle I headed west up class 2 terrain to work my way around an intermediate point and then northwest towards Sleeping Indian. There is some fun scrambling on the narrow ridgeline to Sleeping Indian, but a deep notch is encountered just before reaching the summit. Drats. This forced me onto the east side of the ridge to find a way around, done with some easy class 3 scrambling, then back up and around to approach the summit from the northeast, about an hour and a half between the two summits. Tracy Foutz had left a register here in 2013, with a few familiar names visiting since.
The last summit, Highland Juniper is about 3/4mi southwest of Sleeping Indian. I reversed the route back towards the intermediate point, then southwest down to a saddle. I then began a long-ish traverse around the northwest side of another intermediate point that I didn't want to go up and over. I'm not sure if my route saved any time, but it did save some unnecessary elevation gain and loss. As I was heading to a saddle just east of Highland Juniper, I noted the summit was capped by a cliffband with a few possible options to climb up from the east. After reaching the saddle, I decided to explore the north side (no good way up from there) and then around to the west side where I found a short but spicy class 3 route up to the summit. I spent about an hour and a quarter between Sleeping Indian and Highland Juniper. Adam Walker had left a register at the summit in 2020. A few minutes later, I headed down the east side, finding one of the two options I had spied earlier. It, too, was class 3, but easier than the west side route. I had then to reverse most of the route back to the eastern drainage where I had parked the Jeep, all of this class 2. I was back close to 2:30p, having spent four hours on the 3-peak loop.
Fun as it was, the really interesting part was still ahead. I had noted on my way to the summit past the dryfall, that there was plenty of sheep poop scattered about. I doubted that the sheep had come up through that vertical section, so I surmised there ought to be an easier way up (and down), and with a few hours of daylight still remaining, figured I had time to explore some. I ended up heading south and southeast along the ridgeline, finding two exposed class 3 sections along the way. I was looking for easier ways off to the west or east, but these seemed to be blocked by cliffs that ring the summit mesa. I went down a class 3 step in the mesa on the south side that would probably not work for the sheep either, so I don't think I discovered the sheep route. I still think there's an easier way, but will leave that for someone else to find. But I did find an alternate way down, and that offered some satisfaction. Once past the second class 3 section, I turned northeast and descended easier slopes back to the waiting Jeep. It was 5:45p by the time I finished up and time to call it a day. I didn't have far to drive, only about a mile back down the road to where it crosses a wash descending from the west. This would be the starting point for my first hike in the morning to North Castle Peak.
This page last updated: Wed Apr 27 15:43:41 2022
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: email@example.com