Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ash Canyon / Krafft Mountain W/E Traverse Loop - 10/22/13

View of Red Rock Canyon from Krafft Mountain Peak

Krafft Mountain Peak Cairn

Ash Canyon

 It's the season for the Red Rock Canyon venue. Today is Tuesday. With associative properties utilized, there were sixteen crazy hikers ... ahem ... advanced hikers ... on a route that took us up Ash Canyon, around Dragon (New) Peak and over Krafft Mountain on a West/East Traverse. With Mike OC at the helm, it was sure to be fun and challenging so we parked at the dirt parking lot deep in Calico Basin and began heading toward Ash Meadows.

Ash Canyon Ascent

 The ascent up Ash Canyon began in the center wash and worked its way over and up the left side where exposure on the sandstone slab was abundant. We planted our hiking boots solidly on the steeply slanted rough sandstone and climbed carefully along the red and white canyon. It was a beautiful day and the morning sky was blue as could be.

Ash Canyon Wash

 Choosing different routes, we completed the climb up to the overlook by converging in the final dry fall of the wash. At the top, we looked up to see Red Cap decorated with a waning gibbous moon as seen in the photo to the left. A few minutes of rest and we were skipping down the Rattlesnake Trail to Gateway Canyon where we turned right.

Descending Gateway Canyon

 We followed the limestone gravel down to the saddle trail junction. Turning right, we climbed up to the Krafft Mountain saddle which is situated between Krafft Mountain and Dragon Peak (aka New Peak). Another short rest and we began our scrambling climb up the red and white (pink) sandstone mountain. Krafft Mountain offers many different routes of both ascent and descent. Although the writer recognized several landmarks from before, we also took a few new routes around the sandstone.

Ascending West Side of Krafft Mountain

 The first high point that we reached is the peak. Krafft Mountain is a long mountain and there is also a secondary peak. We took our long break at this summit while we appreciated the surrounding views. Someone had built a very tall cairn on three high points of Krafft Mountain. As we looked down the spine of Krafft, we saw the other two cairns along the mountain and the Las Vegas Strip in the far distance.

Taking a Break on Krafft Mountain Peak

 After our break, we dropped down to a dip on the long mountain then began a super scramble along the next part. We chose a new route that Mike dubbed the "South Face Express." Hanging off the southern edge of the spine, we negotiated our way along a surprisingly easier route to the secondary peak. Reaching the secondary peak boulders, we told a couple of bad jokes and took our photos.

Traversing the South Face Express

 Reluctantly, we finally started down the double dare descent; our muscles and bones screamed at the thought. Nevertheless, we followed Mike down a treacherous section of sandstone until we got about halfway down then we separated into 3 or 4 small groups going different ways. We all made it down in one piece ... which was our goal ... and hiked around the mountain to our cars.

5 miles; 2000 feet elevation gain; 4.2 hours

Summit Photo of Krafft Mountain Secondary Peak

Krafft Mountain East Side Descent Shenanigans

Terra Firma at Last

No comments: