Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hollow Rock Peak Loop CCW - 4/21/16

Hollow Rock Peak from Approach Ridge

Mt. Potosi from Hollow Rock Peak

Hollow Rock

Hiking and Conversing
 Hollow Rock Peak perches on the southern end of the Red Rock Canyon escarpment in the National Conservation Area. It is also located inside the Rainbow Wilderness area. Twelve hikers parked their cars at the Mountain Springs Summit Pass Trailhead and began their hike by following the dirt road that led down parallel to Highway 160. We followed the road for a mile before we junctioned with the trail route up to the ridge to the left. This was once a service road that is now blocked off for motorized vehicles.

Dirt Road Approaching Trail Junction
 Four hikers turned left here to follow the road up a switchback and connect with a single track trail. On the way, we were able to overlook the progress of the other eight hikers who chose to ascend through the sandstone wash below.

Trail versus Sandstone Wash
 Progress for the wash scramblers was much slower than the trail hikers as they swept the brush for ticks. The trail hikers earned a long break at the top of the wash while they waited for the others.

Climb Up to Ridge from Top of Sandstone Wash

Hiking Out Ridge to Hollow Rock Peak
 Finally, all the hikers reached the ridge very near the limestone / sandstone line of the Keystone Thrust and began hiking along a cairned route. At the end of this ridge is Hollow Rock Peak but the ridge is full of cliffs right and left. Therefore, the route to the peak heads down to the right (south) and takes a couple of dips. The second dip (Big Dip) is quite large. After climbing up out of the Big Dip, the peak is in view and a beaten trail leads hikers up.

The Big Dip (& Paul)
 Three hikers climbed Hollow Rock and signed the book. In years past, the log book was located at the bottom of the rock where everyone could reach it. Now, it is on the top of the treacherous rock!

Arriving at Hollow Rock Peak
 A word of warning: the rope that hangs from the top to aid mostly in the descent is in bad shape. It needs to be replaced.

View of Windy Peak from Hollow Rock Peak

Climbing Down from Top of Hollow Rock
 We sat in either the shade or the sun and took our break with an expansive view of neighboring Windy Peak and beyond. On a clearer day, Las Vegas would be sparkling to the east. Not today. While we sat, we noticed that someone has placed a big cairn on top of a sandstone knob this side of the Big Dip. Curiosity got the better of us. So, after our break, ten hikers made the short climb up on top of the knob to see the cairn! Returning quickly, we did the Big Dip and the little dip and climbed back up to the ridge.

Sunbathing at the Peak
 Again, we passed through the colorful yellow and purple striped sandstone. We also hiked by a very fancy fire ring at the campsite area.

Curiousity Knob
 At the campsite located near the limestone / sandstone line, we took a right turn onto the regular trail. We still had quite a bit of elevation gaining to do.

Climbing Out of the Big Dip

Finding the Ridge Again
 Around, up, down, up, up, around, down, up, up, up, and over and up and over and ... oh, hello. We met up with a lone out of towner hiker coming our way. She had missed the trail back to the cars at the saddle junction and was just about to correct herself when we offered to take her down the ridge and back to the cars with us. Off we went, hitting the hike high point then down to our left onto the burned ridge. This route is a nice alternative to the tiresome Heartbreak Hill. The ridge led us down to the dirt road that we began on with only a few turns here and there. It was a great day at Red Rock!

5 miles; 1600 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

The Steep and Undulating Limestone Trail

Burned Ridge with Hike High Point Behind

Following the Burned Ridge all the way Down

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