Tue, Feb 21, 2023
It was supposed to be week+ roadtrip in the Las Vegas area, but illness would cut it short after less than four days. I had been spending the holideay weekend in Las Vegas with my wife who was reffing girls' volleyball during the day, while I went out peakbagging wth Iris and Tom. I had dropped her and a friend off at the airport on Tuesday morning and headed out to the NE side of town to meet up with Iris and Tom. I found them a few miles north on US93, camped off a BLM road. Iris was scheduled to do remote work from the van until noon, leaving Tom and I to fend for ourselves in the morning.
We headed a few miles south on a powerline road, aiming for the Tri-Lambs, a trio of summits in the Las Vegas Range, on the eastern boundary of the DNWR. The road is suitable for lower clearance vehicles if you can find a place to turn around. We found parking options limited in the vicinity of our peaks, so pulled off the sandy/brushy side of the road where we could. It was just before 7:30a when we started out for Dudley, about a mile and a half to the southwest. The range is primarily layered limestone, with various broken cliff rings that need to be worked through. Dudley was probably the easiest of the three, a decent climb up the NE Ridge, all class 2. There are some interesting cave features found along the way, looking to be used by the bighorn sheep to stay cool during the warmer months. We spent just over an hour in reaching the summit, finding a Kevin Humes register from 2020. Adam Walker's was the only other entry. Louis lay another mile to the north, via a somewhat indirect route that took us over an intermediate bump with numerous broken cliff bands. Our second hour was spent getting between the two summits. Louis' register was nearly a carbon-copy of the one we'd found earlier.
It was now 9:30a and with my slow pace, it seemed unlikely that we could get to Gilbert and back to the Jeep by noon. So we decided to leave Gilbert for another time, and head to Little Smokey which was more or less on our way back. We descended the NE Ridge off Louis, finding the cliff bands here more serious. Though we had initial success by descending a gully to the north, after returning to the ridge, we found more difficulties lower down. We ended having to traverse around the north side of the ridge to find a first way down, then a second episode just below this one. Tom had done a better job of sizing up the cliffs and went down through the last band much earlier than I. I ended up back on the NE side with no easy way down and Tom already below the last band. I called to him to continue as I no longer had the energy to to Little Smokey - I was feeling spent mid-morning. By the time I had gotten around the last cliff band and down to the saddle between Louis and Little Smokey, Tom was already 2/3 of the way up to Little Smokey - clearly much faster without me. I continued south into the wash system to go around Little Smokey's south end while Tom went up and over Little Smokey. I was back to the Jeep by 11:10a, feeling pretty beat. Tom was less than five minutes behind me.
By the time we had returned to Tom's Truck and Iris, I had decided it would be best for me to head home, rather than try to keep hiking. It's pretty rare for me to cut a trip short like this, and I was feeling guilty for abandoning my companions. It would be more than 9hrs of driving with a few pit stops before I managed to get home. I had entertained the idea of sleeping in the Jeep somewhere on the way home, but the closer I got to home, the more I found sleeping in my own bed more appealing...
This page last updated: Fri Apr 7 12:32:52 2023
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