Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Summerlin Peak - 12/31/13

View from Summerlin Peak (Damsel Peak in Background)

Starting From Trailhead (Summerlin Peak in Background)

Laszlo and Rozie Climbing the Steep JS Route
 To end Year 2013 with a bang, Mike OC coordinated our yearly hike to Summerlin Peak. This peak is located within the Red Rock Canyon NCA bounds just outside the northwest section of the city of Las Vegas. Fourteen hikers met at the trailhead that was located off of Cliff Shadows Parkway very close to I-215 and Cheyenne. We were all in good spirits as we started out the wash between Eagle Peak and Cheyenne Peak. (Note: There was a small homeless camp in a cave next to the wash.) After about a mile, we separated into two groups. The larger group turned off to the left on the old road/trail that leads up the route that John Snail showed us two years ago. This is a very very steep route.

Two Groups Merge (Ridge Route and JS's Route)
 The smaller group of four hikers, hiked on up the wash a little further then turned to the left to climb up a ridge that would take us all the way to the top. This is only a very steep route!

False Peak Ahead

Happy Hikers
 The two groups merged at the first false peak saddle. After arriving at pretty much the same time, we concluded that the easier but longer ridge route and JS's steeper but shorter route timed out about the same. Nevertheless, we were all warmed up and starting to feel what kind of toll this hike would take on our energy supplies. (Summerlin Peak is a steep #@$%##@$!) Our next points of interest were the following two false peaks that we dubbed Rozie's Peak and Kay's Peak since these were the places where Rozie and Kay seriously considered calling it a day! It was after the fourth false peak that anywhere will do to begin the traverse hike around and to the left to the Summerlin Peak area. We realized this a little late and, again, the group split into 3 or 4 smaller groups. Each group traversed at a different level.

Climbing Summerlin Peak with Las Vegas in Background
 The traverse hike took us around an indentation between ridges. Below us was a steep cliff area that fell into the rugged canyon below the peak.

View Over Cliff from Traverse Trail
 If you position yourself correctly during the traverse, you will arrive near the saddle to the right of a small hill next to the peak. This keeps you from having to either climb more or lose too much altitude during the crossover.

Hiking Around Small Hill Before Peak Climb

View from Peak Climb
 At the small hill, it is an easy hike around the back side to arrive at the other saddle and the base of the actual Summerlin Peak. A used trail takes you up in a zigzag fashion over slab limestone with some loose rock to the final few feet of the climb. At the top of the peak, there is a metal bar standing to catch presumed lightening and a metal box at its base that holds the log book. We signed the book, took our photos and ate a bite while we enjoyed the view reward. It should be mentioned that three hikers (Laszlo, Mike OC, and Scott) took up the slack caused by Kay forgetting to insert the camera battery during a rushed morning preparation. (She really appreciated it!)

Kay Arrives on the Peak with Others in Tow
 The view from Summerlin Peak is unique. Since it is not near any other peaks that we climb, it offers several views not seen from anywhere else.

Fourteen Hikers on Summerlin Peak

Starting Down From Kay's Peak
Eventually, we all decided that it was time to descend. We also decided, in unison, to go down the way we came up on the ridge route. First, we came off the peak and traversed back over to the ridge. We almost missed the correct ridge but came back to start down endless slab limestone with intermittent loose rock. We were careful and slow. No one got hurt and our legs were duly shaking by the time we reached the wide wash below. We had hiked 5 miles with 2250 feet of elevation gain in 5 hours. (2000 feet of the gain was accomplished within 1 mile.)


Starting Down From First Saddle

Reaching the Floor

Comparison with 2011 Route in Green

No comments: