Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mummy's Nose via Lee Canyon Highway - 6/26/12

                             Mummy's Nose from the North Loop Trail.

 Lawdy Me!! Twelve hikers arrived at the chain up area on Lee Canyon Highway in the Spring Mountains NRA with intent to make an assault on Mummy's Nose. The climb and descent would take every bit of our energy and strength over four miles with 2800 elevation feet gained and lost. For the writer, this was easily the most difficult hike she has ever completed. Judging by the faces and laughter of the other hikers, it was surmised that that was the consensus.

 We began by hiking up the highway to the dirt road that takes off to the left. A short ways up the road, we took a turn to our left ... up. This was the end of a wash that would become the crux of the hike. We climbed along the side of the wash until we crossed over to junction with a trail that led up and above on the right side of the wash. At the junction, we gathered for a small rest. We continued climbing until the trail dove down into the wash again.

                                Looking  back down the ridge trail.

                                Ascending the wash to the saddle.

 The wash was rocky and very steep. The group quickly separated into two sub groups. Over the next three quarters of a mile, we scrambled, caught our breath and scrambled some more. It became very slippery in many sections. We passed by the base of the mountain wall to the right and continued up. The closer we got to the saddle, the steeper the trail became. Nevertheless, we had, by then, entered into a beautiful world of bristlecones, limestone and outstanding views.

                                Don and Lettie approaching the saddle.

                                View from the saddle.

 Finally, we reached the saddle where the faster hikers awaited us. We took a break while we waited on a final hiker who had fallen behind. While we sat and laughed at our exertion, Lettie tried her hand at climbing the yellow rope that led up the wall to our right. This was a rope for another day! Today's trail led up to the left and we were now beginning the final peak approach.

                             Lettie finds the energy to joke around!

                         View down to Deer Creek Hwy from the peak approach.

 The peak approach began with a Class 3 scramble up a limestone crack. We made easy work of the fun and followed a cliff ledge around to the right. This took us to a trail that followed the peak ridge all the way up. There was not much room for error so we were all very careful during this section. The area surrounding the peak was covered with cliffs and large scree, albeit several trees that might serve to catch a fall!

                        View of the remaining Mummy Mountain from the Nose.

                                Eleven hikers try to not slide off the peak!

 We were finally able to say we made it! The peak area was small and a bit scary even for those that don't normally have exposure issues. The views were incredible! Mummy Mountain, Lee Canyon, Deer Creek, the North Loop Trail. Two hikers stepped off the peak to admire the cliff below. Geez, Louise! Anyway, a quick snack in the harsh wind and we were on our way back down.

                             Carefully descending the peak area.

                                Class 3 scramble off of the peak area.

 We reached the saddle and the "fun" had only just begun! Now came the steep wash. We began by sliding down the loose dirt to the right side of the wash. We took this approach to the descent until we had to give in and enter the rocky wash about half way. The scramble down just kept coming. All energies were used to avoid injury as the limestone was slippery from yearly ice melt. Although it seemed like forever, we finally came to the trail that led up out of the wash to the ridge where we gathered once again.

 From there, we continued our steep descent on the trail but this time, we stayed on the same side of the wash du jour. Several cairns were marking this trail. Perhaps it would have been a slightly easier way up. We gathered one last time at the dirt road. Most of the hikers continued descending straight down the hill to the cars. Three hikers had had enough and chose to take the dirt road back to Lee Canyon Highway. After about five hours, all hikers were accounted for as we slowly climbed into our cars!

                             View from the ridge trail up to the saddle.

1 comment:

Jerry Thomas said...

I wanted to go with you guys, but I had just done Mummy's Chin on Sunday and I was still sore from that hike. We had a couple of scares with large rocks shooting down the slope. You have to be very careful on that hike!