Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Summerlin & Bighorn Peaks - 1/8/13

                            View from Summerlin Peak to Spring Mountains

Mike O'Connor and the Tuesday gang conquered the formidable Summerlin and Bighorn Peaks this morning. He writes this narrative below and is complemented with photos by Kay Komuro. Mike titles today's escapade, "SEVEN ANXIOUS VIRGINS."

The tally for the morning muster at the trailhead was one short of a dozen.  Ten venerable gentlemen and one distinguished lady.  The Tuesday target:  Summerlin Peak.  Situated in the far northwestern valley at just over 5000 feet, Summerlin Peak is the guardian of the western beltway.  On this glorious winter day, all 11 hikers would set foot on her summit, seven for the first time.

                                      Summerlin Peak Summit Photo

 After trekking a mile west on an old dirt road, the real hike began in earnest.  Perched at the bottom of the limestone slab, the sheer ascent before us looked somewhat intimidating.  But onward and upward we went, the sticky, dolomitic limestone offering superb footing.  Layers were soon shed as the 35 to 40% gradient had 10 guys sweating profusely and one damsel glistening blithely.  Two hours later found us atop the peak.  The ever-expanding Las Vegas Valley lay beneath us.  Lake Mead shimmered in the distance.

And we had reason to sing as John Novicky was celebrating his 58th birthday.  Following the rousing chorus, we opted to bag the next peak to the west.  Was it Bighorn Peak or Peak 5365?  Quien sabe?  No one seemed to care, so we duly signed the log and began our long, tedious descent back to the dirt road.  Nice and easy does it.  No heroics on the tricky down-climb.     

Five hours, six miles, 3150 vertical feet of climb, minimum bloodshed, maximum laughter.  Twas another good day in the mountains.
                                                     Steep Descent

                                     Blue Line Indicates Hike in 2011
                                 Yellow Line Indicates Change in 2013

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