Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bridge Mountain - 4/1/14

From Bridge Mountain Approach to North Peak (Sandstone)

Las Vegas from Bridge Mountain Approach
 The Super Tuesday group hit Bridge Mountain yesterday and Mike OC and Laszlo arranged an entry for the website. Thanks guys! It sounds like you all had a fantastic albeit chilly hike!

Susan Points Out the Old Trail

Dropping Down the Red Sandstone Layer
 A biting north wind and a light dusting of snow greeted us at the trailhead. We were at the top of Rocky Gap Road at 6450'. It was 34ยบ with a wind chill in the teens. Brrr. The dress code was long johns, wool caps and ski gloves. Destination:  Bridge Mountain. Is this really the first day of April?

We were a dozen strong.  Paul, Steve and Ed graciously volunteered to drive, as only 4WD vehicles can negotiate the nasty five-mile stretch from Willow Springs to the crest. Thanks gents. Ya done good. 

Group Assembled Above Fern Canyon

Taking in the View Above Fern Canyon
 Let's hike this puppy!  We knocked off the short, one-mile, uphill section, arriving at the North Peak turnoff without breaking a sweat. It was too damn cold to sweat. Then it's the big drop down to the top of Fern Canyon. What a panorama. Clear views of the city and Lake Mead, as the wind blew out all the dreadful smog. One more big drop all the way to the base of the sandstone slab.

Down Climb During Approach Across Bench

Starting Up to the Peak (Crack Ascent)

Crack Ascent (Outside Crack is Preferred by Most)

The Bridge
 Ditch poles. Regroup. Power bar and a slug of water. THE HIKE STARTS HERE.

We deemed the crack was too icy, so all hands ascended the exposed slab. There's a short Class 4 section near the bottom, then it's Class 3 all the way to the arch, where our two virgins got their first glimpse of the majestic Bridge Arch. Scottie and Jim were duly impressed. 

Ice on Final Ascent Next to Hidden Forest

Snack Break at Hidden Forest
 Continuing upward, it was under the arch, up the crack and around the corner. The summit lay directly above us.  Only 350 vertical feet left. But it was a 350-foot wall of ice.  THE HIKE ENDS HERE.

There was very little discussion. The decision was a no-brainer. Tacit approval from all. Too dangerous. Time for lunch. And a turnaround.

Vitals:  5.8 miles, 3010', 5 hours.

Three-Inch Ledge or Steep Down Climb?

Final Peek at Valley Below

Fern Canyon and Beyond (The Valley Below)

No comments: