Thursday, May 9, 2013

Krafft Mountain Traverse E to W - 5/9/13

Cairn on Krafft Mountain Peak

Krafft Mountain Ridge

 Krafft Mountain, located in Calico Basin of Red Rock Canyon NCA, is a huge pile of red and white sandstone boulders. Today, thirteen hikers climbed the east side (as seen in the photo to the left), traversed across its ridge, and descended on the west side to the saddle below. As seen in the elevation chart at the bottom of this entry, the 1300 feet of elevation gain is accomomplished in a short amount of distance. The total hike is only three miles.

 We converged at the dirt parking lot at the base of Krafft Mountain in Calico Basin. We knew there was some rainy weather coming in during the latter part of the morning so we wasted no time hiking around the base of the mountain through the boulder field. We had almost reached the entrance to the mouth of Gateway Canyon when we turned to our left and gazed up the steep mountain called Krafft.

Ascending the East Side

Elevation Gained Quickly

 Steve, the coordinator du jour, suggested to climb at our own pace and help each other if needed. The small group of thirteen were all experienced in this type of terrain except for a newcomer who did quite well. We found our own way pretty much straight up the side of the mountain but there were not too many variations on the theme. Looking for solid sandstone rock to climb on was our only concern until we arrived at a saddle behind a big round boulder where we took our first break.

Ridge Summit

Traversing the Rocky Mountain

 After this break, we followed Steve the rest of the way up to the ridge. One more break and we were on our way traversing the ridge to the west side of the mountain. At one point, the difficult terrain sent us down off of the ridge to the north side but we regained the elevation quickly and continued on our way eventually finding the official peak where we signed into the log book.

Interesting Detour

Krafft Mountain Peak

Just before we arrived at the peak, one hiker decided to make it a real hike and hit his head. Blood and everything!

The views from the peak were clear even though it was cloudy. From there, we found the route that would take us to the west side and down.

Turtlehead reigned in the distance as if it was ruling the storm clouds to hold back until we were out of the area.

 The descent route was familiar to a few of us as we had recently used it to go up the mountain. Before we even knew we were close, we arrived on Krafft saddle. From there, the storm clouds encouraged us to finish the hike. We descended on 5 Stop Hill and returned to our cars without dodging a single drop of rain. Short and sweet, the hike still answered our need for heavy breathing!

Down the Chimney

Brittlebush, 5 Stop Hill and Weather Coming In

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