Saturday, August 2, 2014

Turtlehead Peak - 8/2/14

Stormy Weather to the South from Turtlehead Peak

Sunrise on the Sandstone with Storms in Background

 Today's route to Turtlehead Peak was not your everyday, run of the mill, route to the patriarch of the Red Rock Canyon NCA scenic loop. That said, five hikers had bunches of fun climbing to the peak following one of our most adventurous hikers, Steve Allen.

Each one of us drove to the meeting spot very early this morning while watching a lightening display across the southern edge of Las Vegas. Cancel? Well, no.

A Quick Look Back to the Sandstone Quarry Parking Lot
 We could clearly see that the skies over Turtlehead Peak were light. The rain was not moving in that direction and we could always turn around if the weather started getting bad.

Gaining Elevation and Looking Back to the Escarpment

 So, we drove to the Sandstone Quarry parking area on the Red Rock scenic loop and started out the Turtlehead Trail. We saw several hikers besides us throughout the morning. But, no one did the peak quite like we did! After we climbed up the approaching ridge, we took a right fork trail that crossed the wash. This trail faded out pretty quick and up we went, straight toward the base of the Turtlehead cliff.

Well, USUALLY we are over there!
 The funny thing was that the plan was to climb this thing "the easiest way possible!" ... Someone didn't listen and, next thing we know, we are following Steve straight up.

There's the saddle ... way over there!

 It was all in fun and everyone just got a big laugh out of it. Elevation was gained quickly and the photo opportunities were really nice. Before we knew it, we were almost to the base of the cliff where the bighorns roam. In this area, we could see the saddle over to our left and there was a lot of rough terrain between us and the regular ascent ridge that we were trying to get to.

Jim at the base of the Turtlehead cliff.
 We did a bit of maneuvering around the sharp limestone and found the wash that served as a "portal" to the regular trails above.

Climbing the Portal Wash

 The weather was still behaving when we connected with the regular trail that climbs along the edge of the ridge. In fact, we were very thankful that the sun was not making an appearance. A few minutes more of climbing and we were signing into the log book on the peak. The views were fantastic! Two out of the five of us were newbies and Turtlehead did the rest of us proud.

Taking in the View from Turtlehead Peak
 Steve promised to take us down on one of the regular trails. Question is, which one of the regular trails is the least slippery?

Las Vegas from Turtlehead Peak

 Well, coming off of the peak, we reached the first saddle and, perhaps, the trail here is the best. But, we went on to the next saddle and started down. As soon as we could, we worked our way over to the before mentioned trail. The closer to the wash trails you are, the less slippery the terrain. It was a fun outing today at Red Rock!

4.5 miles; 2000 feet elevation gain; 4 hours

Descending on the More Familiar Trails

Our Basic Route Today
 Regular Route for Turtlehead Peak Below:


thomas yang said...


thomas yang said...

very good hiking trail