Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hollow Rock Peak - 3/12/15

Approaching Hollow Rock Peak

Near Hollow Rock Peak

Starting Up Heartbreak Hill
It was a lucky "21" hikers that found the southernmost peak of the Red Rock Canyon NCA escarpment, today. Hollow Rock Peak is situated between Windy Peak to the north and Mt. Potosi to the south and the trailhead for this area is on the north side of Highway 160 on the Mountain Springs Pass. So much conversation was going on in the car, this morning, that our driver drove right by it and had to make a U-turn! Several cars followed! Fun start!

Spring Mountains from Heartbreak Hill
We spilled out of the cars and introduced ourselves. There were a few new faces today. Next, we turned to start hiking up "Heartbreak Hill," a mile of almost continuous elevation gain.

Steep Climb Trail to Peak

Hollow Rock Peak Knob seen in Distance
With twenty-one experienced hikers on the roster, the climb was non-stop. We climbed up past the radio tower and on up to the saddle trail junction before we stopped for a breather. This was the first time up this trail in 2015 and it was a good test to see how much more we need to train before heading into the Spring Mountains in the late spring. For some, ... not so much more!

Nearing the Sandstone / Limestone Line
We turned to the right and followed the trail up a little more to today's high point. Although the trail is not always super clear, there is a trail all the way out through the limestone and onto the sandstone leading to Hollow Rock Peak.

Las Vegas Strip beyond Windy Peak Slope

Sandstone Ridge Trail
Sometimes, there is more than one trail and it is a judgement call as to which trail is best. But, we made it to the colorful sandstone with only one hiccup. From there, the trail continues and there are just a few cairns. We followed the ridge until the cairns suggested a small drop to the right. Nearing the peak, there are two dips in elevation that are required unless you wish to take your life into your hands.

Approaching the Big Dip
The first dip is a relatively small one. The second is the Big Dip! This includes a loose rock and brush descent then a mostly slab ascent back up to the next crest.

Windy Peak as Seen from Hollow Rock Peak

Enjoying the Break at the Peak Area
At this final crest, the peak is in view and a lateral climb takes you to the peak area. The peak, itself, is a sandstone rock knob that many hikers enjoy climbing. We brought along a rope for the descent which can sometimes be a little dicey. We sat and enjoyed the views on a somewhat clear Las Vegas day. The temperature was just right with a little bit of a welcomed cool wind.

Hollow Rock Peak Break with Mt. Potosi in Background
We are not ones to overstay our welcome and soon we began our return. Carefully retracing our steps on the sandstone trail, we then connected with the limestone line.

Climbing Out of the Shallow Dip

Colorful Sandstone on Ridge
The limestone trail was more difficult to follow but, when in doubt, we simply forged ahead on the ridge. When we were almost back to the saddle junction, we turned down to our left and found the bare, burned ridge. This ridge took us back in the direction of our cars and, with a little bushwhacking at the end, we walked straight into the trailhead parking area. Great morning! Great workout!

5 miles; 1700 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Limestone Ridge Trail

Burned Ridge Descent

No comments: