Thursday, October 6, 2016

Eagle Peak Loop - 10/6/16

Eagle Peak Ridge (Summerlin Peak in Background)

Red Barrel Ferocactus

Starting Up to Peak

Almost to Small Saddle
 There were seven of us today and it is now cool enough to start doing some hikes in the desert. The chosen desert hike was Eagle Peak Loop, a debut for the blog. Although the blog has an up and back entry, today's route went up, around on the sharp ridge, then down to a trail and back around to the cars. We started out by heading directly to the flagged peak. There is a vague trail that leads up but it disappears here and there.

City from Saddle
 No worries. Just go up! It's a good climb! Head toward a small saddle on the left side of the peak then there is almost as much climbing still to come.

Long Seabed Fossils
 On the last half of the climb, hikers can see many seabed fossils beneath their feet in the limestone.

Group at the Flag

Starting along the Ridge
 Someone has solidly erected an American flag just below the peak. (Not sure why they didn't put it at the top.) However, they did a very good job with concrete and a metal flagpole. After everyone was at the top of the peak, we continued along the ridge. The left side of the ridge was a bit cliffy so we leaned to our right. The limestone is very "sticky" and is easy to hike on so we tried to use the slabs whenever we could.

Paul's Geocache
 Paul, a geocacher extraordinaire, had placed a geocache up on the ridge some time ago. He revisited the site and found that several geocachers whose names he recognized had signed in. Someone also replaced the container.

Continuing along Ridge
 It was breezy up there on the ridge today and we had to hole on to our hats. But, ... Donette's hat got caught in the wind and off it went down the cliff.

Oops! Donette's cap blew down.

Donette with Retrieved Cap
 The cliff in this area had a large shelf about twenty feet down and Mike decided it was a doable retrieve. He scrambled down to get the hat and Setsuko found a better way for Mike to return. Just a little side excursion! Onward along the ridge, we had to climb two or three more small peaks. A couple of them required a bit of scrambling. One, especially, had to be climbed along a knife edge. It was a bit of a thrill!

Approaching the Knife Edge
 But, at the end of the climb, we were standing on the secondary peak along the ridge where we stopped again for a breather.

Mark climbs on Board
 At the next peak, we dropped down to the left on a trail to go around the obstacle. Here's where we passed a cave that appears to be used as a home at times.

Secondary Peak with Lone Mountain in Background

Inspecting the Cave
 The trail took us along the ridge just below the top until we came to another saddle. Although there is the option of descending via trail to the left side of the mountain, today, we turned to the right side instead and did a steep free descent in the limestone slabs. When all seven hikers were down, we turned right onto a trail and followed it until we could easily cross over to the cars at the trailhead. Fun short hike!

2.5 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 2.25 hours

The Steep Free Descent

Junctioning with the Trail

Following Trail back toward Trailhead

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