Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Peak ee Toe - 11/6/12

Today's Super Tuesday Hike was a new hike for just about everyone! A new route and a new name for a peak located between Indecision Peak and Sandstone Peak of Red Rock Canyon's escarpment. Richard Natale provided the route and the photos for this entry. Larry Dunn provided the GPS information and the narration as written below. Thanks guys!

Twelve hikers led by Richard Natale and Steve Anderson followed a newly developed route in the southern Sandstone Escarpment to a peak that Richard has dubbed Peak-ee-Toe.  The 5-1/2 mile trek began at the Lovell Canyon trailhead for Little Zion / The Park, about 3 miles up a good gravel road from Lovell Canyon Road.  The first leg of the hike ascended a wash on the west side of the limestone ridge that lies west of the Sandstone Escarpment.  From the top of the ridge, we could see our destination, lying behind Far Peak.  

We descended the limestone portion of the ridge – a benign downclimb on fairly stable gravel and scree that transitioned at the Keystone Thrust Fault onto sandstone.  The downclimb got steeper on the sandstone.  This was the beginning of the scrambling portion of the hike.  After reaching the first of several “bottoms,” we ascended sandstone slabs and cracks to reach the top of Far Peak.  We all signed the Far Peak register and took a short snack break.

From Far Peak to Peak-ee-Toe is probably only several hundred yards as the crow flies.  You can clearly see the cairn on top of Peak-ee-Toe.  Getting there is another matter!  There are several intermediate downs and ups (see the profile that’s with the Google Earth track, below) before one reaches the top.  Now we were into serious scrambling!  One section was protected by a fixed red rope that allowed a hand-held rappel.  

Another rope (yellow) was rigged to protect the next downclimb; this one through a near-vertical “rabbit hole” and off-width crack that prompted some folks to remove their packs.  Then it was back up again!  Then down again! This ain’t how the crow flies!  Near the final ascent, there was one more section that we protected with a third rope (blue); primarily for the later downclimb.

After a very pleasant break on the top of Peak-ee-Toe, we began the hike back  to the trailhead – a reverse of the approach.  Although we were now a little tired, it seemed a little easier – until the final climb up the limestone ridge, where this writer almost ran out of steam!  From the top of the ridge, we cruised down the drainage via the same wash we used on the way up.  There was running water in Rainbow Spring (near the trailhead), so some hikers diverted to check it out.  Once back to the cars, we all agreed that it had been a very strenuous, but great hike / scramble.  Thanks to Richard and Steve for pioneering the route!  

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