Thursday, November 14, 2013

White Rock Springs Peak Loop - 11/14/13

White Rock Springs Peak (Left Peak)

Tunnel Vision Peak from White Rock Springs Climb

Scrambling Up the Backbone Ridge
Just when you think that you have seen the best views that Red Rock Canyon NCA has to offer, you are introduced to a new hike! Eighteen hikers (with a few newbies) drove up to the White Rock Springs Road on the Scenic Loop of Red Rock and parked at the lower parking area. We welcomed the walk up the road to warm the muscles, took a short break at the restroom then began our climb up the rocks.

White Rock Hills Peak from White Rock Springs Climb

La Madre Range from Climb

Reaching the First False Peak
 White Rock Springs Peak is located on the north end of the White Rock Hills. There is a long ridge rising up from the upper parking area of the short spur road. Our climb up this ridge contained a lot of scrambling and we gained altitude fast. The views of the surrounding landscape were open and beautiful. We passed one false peak as we reached the upper lateral ridge and the rest of the approach to the secondary peak was relatively flat.

Backbone Ridge Ascent to Calico Hills

Three White Rock Hills Peaks (L-White Rock Hills Pk, Ctr-White Rock Springs Pk, R-Secondary Pk)

Approaching the Secondary Peak
 The difference in altitude of the premier peak and the secondary peak is only around twenty feet. Nevertheless, the log book is located on the highest peak so off we went. Making a 90 degree left turn at the secondary peak, we began a precarious traverse over to the rock outcropping about 25 yards away. The scramble over to the peak involved either balancing over the top of small rock cliffs or hiking down and up to get around them. Each of us chose our route with advice being yelled in every direction!

Beginning Precarious Traverse from Secondary Peak

Turtlehead, Las Vegas Strip, & Calico Hills

Colorful Rock and Saddle Below
 Finally, we reached the premier peak and signed in. The views were, again, fantastic! There were steep cliffs below us just about everywhere we looked. The La Madre Range towered above us and we enjoyed a nice break. We finished our snack and began reversing the precarious traverse. (If you choose to go up and over the small cliffs, just be careful of those rocks above your head!)

White Rock Springs Peak Summit

A Few Hikers on the Summit

Kay Made it Down!
 To the left, there is a photo of Kay sticking her landing from a down climb that George is beginning above her. Just behind them, Mike found that big rock at head level and when most of us reached the secondary peak on the return, Mike was being attended to with a one inch head gash. A little blood, a few bandages and we were all on our way again going down the north side of the hill. This down scramble was evidently seldom used as the trail was basically a game trail and the rocks and dirt were undisturbed for the most part. Since we were blazing the trail, there were a few slips and falls but no one got hurt except for minor scrapes and cactus needles.

Photo from Precarious Traverse

Steep North Side Descent

Finishing Descent on a Large Sandstone Slab
 Finally, we found ourselves at the top of a very large sandstone slab area. Random hikers below us were yelling up to us to ask how we got where we were. (This couldn't be good!) Nevertheless, from this point, the descent became easier and the wash at the bottom appeared. We turned right in the wash, climbed up to the White Rock Hills Loop Trail, followed it for a while then dropped into the wash again. The wash led us to the upper parking area of the White Rock Springs Road and another half mile or so down to the lower parking area.

A fantastic loop hike of 4 miles with 1700 feet of elevation gain over the course of 5 hours.

White Rock Hills Loop Trail

White Rock Hills Wash

No comments: