Monday, August 19, 2013

Southern Calico Hills Scramble - 8/19/13

Summit Ridge of the Southern Calico Hills

Slot Below Calico I

 Four Early Risers showed up for a sandstone scramble leaving from the Red Springs Picnic Area parking lot at Red Rock Canyon NCA. With the sun not quite above the horizon, the desert air was somewhat cool but very humid from rainstorms in the area the day before. We began our hike in the shade (and managed to stay in the shade for most of the hike) as we circled around the base of the southeastern side of the Calico Hills.

Morning Ascent

The Sun Rises at Red Springs Pass

 The four of us followed the trail(s) up to Red Springs Pass quickly. The morning freshness helped us along. After reaching the red rock saddle, we dropped down the other side while deciphering the maze of trails. We passed the angel carving  and finally made it to the snack rock below Calico II on the Red Rock Scenic Loop. Just below us, the pools of water held hundreds of tadpoles. We even saw one teensy tiny frog on the rock next to the pool.


Following the Trail Between Washes

After a very short break, we began following the wash down toward Calico I and eventually came to the slot as seen in the second photo. Someone has put a rock below the scramble point. It helps to a degree. (Another note: From here to the finish of the hike, there was a lot of graffiti.) We got past the slot scramble then found the Wave Wash and started our scramble up to the summit ridge. This is an excellent challenge and we handled it well.

Calico Hills Wave

Climbing the Wave Wash

 Once we gained the summit ridge, the sun was beating down on us and we decided to take the shorter route back to the cars. This route headed straight across the ridge and down on a diagonal on the other side. This particular route down is called the Grand Staircase of the Calico Hills. We came down slowly being careful of our joints then returned to the cars. The entire hike lasted 3.5 hours and covered 3.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 1337 feet. Great early morning hike!

Starting Down Grand Staircase of the Calico Hills

Doug & Paul at Bottom of Grand Staircase of the Calico Hills

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