The five mile hike up to the peak and back is filled with around 2000 feet in gross elevation gain. Just to keep things in perspective, we divide the hike into four phases. Phase I takes the hike up from the paved picnic area through a shallow wash to a saddle on the ridge where a big log is decently provided for rest. This phase is very steep and a rest is usually needed.
Phase III is the easiest section where the hiker continues along the ridge with views of Mt. Charleston and the Bristlecone Loop Trail. Things are really starting to get very pretty here with the introduction of bristlecone trees and limestone.
Finally, Phase IV arrives as we pass the last saddle and begin a slippery slope climb on loose dirt and rock decorated with gorgeous old bristlecone tree sculptures. The photo above indicates the angle degree of the slope as we chose our foot steps carefully. By this time, the elevation gain was really testing our legs.
At the end of our break, we took a vote. Who wanted to descend off of the rock peak a different way? Well, the writer was out voted! Anyway, we came down by continuing in the direction we came up. The rock peak turns into a knife edge as we followed our fearless leader Mike OC. Finally, we dropped off the cliff with care, as seen in the photo below. Here's where the writer got creative!