Calico Peak Back Door Loop (Counter-Clockwise) - 1/22/13
Side of Calico Peak from Ascent
Calico Peak, New Peak and Turtlehead Peak from Traverse
Glorious Super Tuesday! The weather was absolutely gorgeous! There were sixteen energetic hikers! The scramble scheduled for the morning was top-notch! And, two coordinators were game even though the route was slightly unknown! (This is always an excellent ingredient for an exciting hike!)
We began crossing Calico Basin from the Red Springs parking lot with the beautiful view of New Peak ahead of us. We hiked all the way to the base of Ash Canyon. Here, we met our daring ascent of the day! The red crack to the left of the canyon would take us up 1000 feet in elevation over half a mile ending on the top of Calico Peak. The ascent started with steeply sloped sandstone. Above us, we had a view of the white peak.
Starting Up Crack Ascent Below Calico Peak
As we climbed the steep slope, we quickly began finding interesting obstacles. The climb was often third class with fourth class sneaking into the mix once or twice. Nevertheless, hand holds and foot holds were there if you searched for them and search, we did. There were a couple of places where team work was useful and necessary. Route finding was also a useful skill. Although we had done this crack as a descent once before, the experience provided few clues as to how the ascent could be accomplished. It was a whole different nut to crack , rock to split, cat to skin ... so to speak.
After a while of climbing, the "good hike" required shedding of blood was accomplished.
One of Many Sticky Situations
To the left, the photo is not to be misconstrued! (I promised to say that.) In fact, the writer, for one, was very thankful for the sacrifice these great two men made to anchor the rope so that she could pull all of her weight on the rope to surmount this one particular obstacle. We were all having a great time! (Ed's wife persuaded the photographer to take the pic!)
Mike showed his happiness at reaching the dog leg turn to the right on the ascent. The toughest stuff was behind us and the rest of the ascent was a simple very steep climb. It was here that the red sandstone turned into white sandstone and the view of the dust covered city of Las Vegas came into view over the ridge.
White Sandstone After Dog Leg to Right
Michael is Thankful That We are Almost There!
At the top of the crack extension, we leveled off then turned to the left to finish the ascent to Calico Peak. We all signed into the log book and took a well deserved break. To the left, there is a photo of one view from the top. Below, there is a photo of the gang on top as taken from the start of the next descent.
After our break, we descended from the peak a new way. It wasn't the steep ridiculous way we went up on the previous hike and it wasn't the regular way we descend down to the other side of the main tank. This descent brought us fairly gently down to the south side of the frozen over main tank where we were then ready to continue down to what we referred to the "meadow."
Frozen Main Calico Tank
Descent from Main Calico Tank Area to Meadow
The descent to the meadow was a rocky hill with a slight trail. At the meadow, we continue straight gently climbing below the first red peak. One of the coordinators (moi) was trying to find the particular chute that climbed up to the second red peak. She found a climbable chute and, with reservations, climbed up with everyone in tow. Oops! At the top, it was clear that a mistake had been made. There was discussion on how to make lemonade but we decided to go back down to try again.
The second chute did the trick and everyone made it up to the top of the second red peak where we stopped for a moment to take in the view ... and some water. The descent down to Angel Pass, was another fun interesting crack. We met two young people at the pass that were staring at us like we were a little off our rocker! Nevertheless, we left them in our dust and continued down to Calico Basin where we returned to the cars. (4.5 miles; 4 hours; 1750 feet gross gain)
View of Southern Calico Ridge from Above Angel Pass