Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cockscomb Ridge - 6/9/11

Sixteen hikers converged at the Trail Canyon trailhead this morning for a hike up to and along Cockscomb Ridge led by the greatly capable Mike O'C. The trailhead is located at the end of Echo Drive off of Highway 157 in the Spring Mountain NRA just northwest of the beautiful city of Las Vegas, Nevada. We are so lucky to have hundreds of hiking venues so close to our city of lights.

We began hiking up Trail Canyon with fervor. It is 2 miles and 1500 feet in elevation gain before you reach the saddle trail junction and a good place to rest. Mike encouraged all of us to hike the 2 miles at our own speed and we did. Eventually, we gathered at the saddle over the course of around thirty minutes. At the saddle, three trails meet. To the north, the North Loop continues to Raintree. To the west, the North Loop continues to Mt. Charleston. To the south, Trail Canyon returns to the Mt. Charleston residential areas. To the east, Cockscomb Ridge lay waiting for us.

When all of us were accounted for at the saddle, we turned our attention to the ridge to the east. In the first photo, you can see the ridge in almost its entirety. It is around a half mile in length with a scary steep side on the north and a not so scary steep side on the south. At the end of the ridge lies Cockscomb Peak, a simple large rock outcropping which requires a hike around it to find the "up." We were not hiking the peak today, however, we will in a few weeks.

Above, there are a few photos of views seen from the end of the ridge which lies at the base of the rock peak. Mt. Charleston can be seen for most of the hike to the south. Mummy Mountain can be seen to the northwest. Fletcher Canyon can be seen to the northeast below us. We all perched on sharp limestone rocks or fallen trees for our break. Then, eventually, we stood for our climb down the beautiful ridge which is featured in photos 3, 4, 7, & 8.

After gathering one last time at the saddle, we made the descent through Trail Canyon. Again, we were encouraged to go at our own speed but we all made it to the cars within five minutes of each other. The weather was perfectly cool with very little wind. The hike was approximately 5 miles with around 1700 feet in net elevation gain.

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