Sunday, October 9, 2016

Angel Peak - 10/9/16

Geodesic Sphere Housing on Angel Peak

View from beginning of Ravine Descent

Angel Peak from near Juniper Trailhead

Starting down the Wash
 Angel Peak lies on a mountain ridge out by itself in the Spring Mountains. There is a road that leads out to the utility paraphernalia on the peak but it travels through the private property of the Spring Mountain Youth Camp. The camp is off limits to everyone except those who reside within (and, the occasional maintenance truck). Therefore, Angel Peak is very difficult to get to. There are many routes that have been tried. Some routes are quite long and tedious. Today, another route was taken by thirteen hikers. It was shorter than other routes but only slightly less difficult.

Hiking Down the Wash
 We started at the newish Juniper Trailhead on Lucky Strike Road and started down the Showgirl Trail. Just after the first switchback, we dove down into the brush to find the wash.

The Wash
 This is a wash we have climbed a few times in the past coming out of the AtBF Canyon. It is a good wash to hike with few obstacles in the path.

Through a Little Brush

Main Canyon Junction
 We enjoyed the descent at a pretty good pace and eventually came to the junction with the main canyon below. The brush in the main canyon is thick of sage brush and juniper trees. It is difficult to see where you are going on the canyon floor. We used the surrounding ridges to help guide us. We found our way over to the other side of the main canyon but the brush was very thick at times. Plowing through limbs and bushes became the norm.

Main Canyon at top of AtBF Canyon
 On the other side of the main canyon, we found a fallen tree with rocks placed on it. This was a cairn so we started looking for the trail that it indicated.

Climbing the Game Trail to Right of Major Ravine
 A vague trail led up the hill to the right before we reached the major ravine we had planned to use. What the heck. Let's try it.

Looking across Ravine to Less Brushy Other Side

Angel Peak from Ascent
 The vague trail continued off and on on the side of the ravine about 50 to 100 feet up from the bottom. We still had to plow through brush at times but the trail was very useful. We noted that the other side of the ravine seemed to have less brush to deal with. And, the wash bottom was out of sight most of the time. We stayed with our little trail that curved around with the bend of the ravine and finally reached the Wooden Pole Powerline Road, a treacherous dirt road that is one of those "long" routes up to Angel Peak.

Out of the Brush Momentarily
 When we looked back, we saw parts of Mummy Mountain, the Deer Creek Road wall and the canyon that we had descended from the trailhead.

Starting Up Wooden Pole Powerline Road
 We placed a small cairn where we junctioned with the dirt road and turned left. The climb up the dirt road (albeit only half a mile) was the least fun part of the morning. (The second least fun part was the descent on the same stretch.)

Starting Up Lucky Strike Road

Utility Buildings Below
 Finally, we reached the pavement of Lucky Strike Road. Another right turn started us up the hill in a spiraling fashion. When a fork in the road to the right came, we continued straight on Angel Peak Place. The views from this part of the climb were, perhaps, the best views of the hike. With spent rabbitbrush in the foreground, we could see for miles out into the desert and back over to the north side of Las Vegas.

Scenery along Angel Peak Place
 As we curved around, a good top view of the Spring Mountain Youth Camp was offered. It appeared desolate. But, we all marveled at the nice football field rising at its decent elevation.

Spiraling up Angel Peak Place
 We circled around thinking that a gate might block us from entrance to the peak. There was no gate on the paved road. Fences and gates blocked most of the utility buildings just down below the peak.

Arriving at Angel Peak

Deserved Snack Break
 We aren't sure if the white geodesic dome like structure on the peak is still in use. Supposedly, there are radio relay and weather instruments contained behind the thin white bubble. We sat for our well-deserved break on a concrete wall in the sun. Very nice. Great cool day! Then, we had to face the return. Our first challenge was the descent down the steep slippery treacherous dirt road portion of the hike. Easy does it.

Starting Descent down Other Side of Ravine
 When we almost reached the small cairn that we had built, we turned to the right. A decision had been made to try our descent on the other side of the ravine hoping that there would be less brush to deal with.

Rock Shelves
 This side of the wash had its own challenges. There were a few short rock shelves surrounded by slippery scree. Still a lot of brush. Then we dove down into the wash bottom below on a very steep scree slope.

Steep Loose Descent to Wash Bottom

Wash Bottom
 Once in the wash, we were very happy until we came to thick brush that we had to go up and around. The up and around was difficult but back in the wash, we were able to hike all the way out to the main canyon. We crossed the main canyon to the other side to descend down to our wash junction. Once there, we started up the wash. It was a tiring climb so we started our shortcut early up to the trailhead. This turned out to be steeper than the shortcut we took on the way down. Nevertheless, we made it with smiles still on every face!

7 miles; 2000 feet elevation gain; 5 hours

Back in Main Canyon

Hiking Back up Wash

Almost There!

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