Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Krafft Mountain Peak - 3/20/12

                  View of Red Rock Canyon NCA from Krafft Mountain Peak

                            The southern route up Krafft Mountain.

 Super Tuesday lived up to its name today! The scheduled Bridge Mountain hike was changed due to the snow that had fallen over the weekend. When Richard arrived at the meeting place, it was decided that he would show us the route over Krafft Mountain from the south side to the north side; a route that he, himself, had blazed some ten years ago. When asked how difficult the hike would be, he replied, "It's not bad." Hmmm ... We would remind him of his words as we later frantically searched for hand holds and foot holds. Fun, fun, fun!

 We parked our cars in the Calico Basin parking lot near the base of Krafft Mountain and walked straight to the mountain. Up we went at an almost vertical angle using skills labelled as a low 4th class climb. Luckily, none of us had any issues with a ton of exposure! More at issue was the scarce foot holds. This was resolved with a helping hand here and there. Richard is a very good leader who takes time to make sure that everyone is able to get from point A to point B.

 When we reached the ridge, we had only hiked a little over half a mile. Seemed like more! We could see the snow covered Bridge Mountain peeking from behind the escarpment. On our way up, the sun was changing the shadow formations while it continued its trip above the horizon. Colors were warm and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. A little more hiking along the ridge took us to the peak where we signed into the log book and took the panoramic photo at the top of this entry.

                 Snow covered Bridge Mtn. in the distance from the ascent.

                                Just below the peak.

                                Eight happy hikers.

 After also taking a photo of ourselves, we started the descent. At first, the mountain seemed quite tame as we easily scrambled down over the sandstone and brush. On the way, we saw Turtlehead Peak and views of the Las Vegas Strip. As we funneled down into a large sandstone crevice, we became more and more surrounded by walls of red and white sandstone. The crevice was, by far, the most exciting portion of today's adventure.

                                Scenes from the north side descent.

         Snow White and the seven dwarfs? More like, seven great guys and me!

                             Easy does it, Don.

 Crevice formula:
1) Climb into then immediately out of the crevice on steep walls because there is no option to climb down inside the crevice here.
2) Immediately slide back down into the crevice, find the next place you dare to get down to and repeat, repeat, repeat.
3) Crawl through a rabbit hole.
4) Learn how to rappel or sleep there for the next few days.
5) Somehow figure out how to come down 2 huge almost vertical boulders against a wall then take a leap of faith at the bottom.

 6) At the bottom finally, find a way to get down to the floor of Gateway Canyon from your perch about fifteen feet above!

After a few minutes of sliding down between a rock and a hard place, then swinging through a tree, we were all there safely on the floor of the canyon. After a brief rest, we began climbing up the colorful wash. A couple of us had not hiked the canyon in this direction and this part also had a feeling of newness.

We reached a trail that led up to the Gateway Saddle and climbed out. Passing through the saddle area, we took a left back onto Krafft Mountain where we completed the hike by scrambling straight down into the direction of the cars. This scramble was tame compared to the traverse we had just made. The eight hikers had happily hiked less than four miles with around 1400 feet of elevation gain. ... Seemed like more!

                             It's not over till it's over!

                                Almost over!


Jerry Thomas said...

I love the expression on Don's face in your "antics" photo. I imagine that's exactly what he was thinking.

Anonymous said...

I'm rather lucky. I was going to meet you at Willow Springs and decided against it. It would have been lonely. Ed