Monday, January 16, 2017

Ejection Seat Ridge Extended - 1/16/17

Spring Mountains from Ejection Seat Ridge

Ejection Seat Ridge

Redstone below Ridge

Starting up Slot #1
 Ejection Seat Ridge is a small ridge located on the south side of Northshore Road between mile marker 14 and mile marker 15. It's claim to fame is that it is a crash site of a military jet on a training run back in the early 1950's. The pilot ejected from the plane, presumably just before it crashed, in his ejection seat which is found on the ridge near the crash site. He survived with injuries but did not take the ejection seat with him! The plane lies in a small canyon wash in some of the largest pieces in the Lake Mead area.

Slot #1
 Thirteen hikers parked at the mile marker 14.5 on the south side of Northshore Road and dropped into the wash. About 1/3 of a mile to the left, we began trying to find a way out of the wash and back up to the road.

Slot #1
 After some experimenting, we found an easy way and crossed the road to drop into the wash on the other side. A right turn led into our first slot diversion. It was a beautiful slot with a tall dry fall at the end.

Slot #1

Climbing out of Wash
 We returned to the other side of the road the same way and continued up the wash to the left. Staying to the right, we climbed up and found a large piece of petrified wood. Then, we dropped back down into the wash only to turn to our right and begin climbing up to the east end of Ejection Seat Ridge. Our starting target was a large rock outcropping that looked a lot like a UFO. We circled around the rock and started up a very steep climb. We followed a faint trail and tried to be sure-footed in the cold wind.

UFO Rock
 The view toward the Spring Mountains in the distance just got better and better. But, now that we were on the ridge, the wind became stronger.

Starting up the Ridge
 This was the top end of the ridge so we began a gradual descent as we followed it.

Steep Terrain

Group surrounds the Ejection Seat
 We saw the ejection seat in the near distance and headed straight for it. It was lying on the ground so we propped it upright again and took a photo. Very interesting that the "seat" was not a seat at all; just a backboard of sorts. After taking in the technology, we continued down the ridge coming to a small canyon wash. This was the site of the crash. Everyone took a trip down the wash to see all the large plane parts. We were very careful around the jagged metal remains. A fall could mean a cut by the sharp aluminum.

Plane Crash Remnants
 The tail section is the largest piece that is recognizable. After the inspection, we returned to the top of the wash.

Hiking down through Crash Site
 Although there is still a foot trail that we have yet to explore at the bottom of the crash wash, we decided to continue the hike by using a game trail that traverses the contours of the ridge from the top of the crash wash.

Following a Sheep Trail

Redstone from Sheep Trail
 There is nothing wrong with the game trail except that it is a bit narrow and care must be taken to not slip on the rocks. We found a very old horn from a male bighorn sheep along the trail. When we reached a point where we thought it was reasonably easy to descend to the foot trail below, we did so. Turning left, we took the foot trail over to the top of a long gentle descent ridge that passed above the redstone below. We enjoyed the smoothness after the difficult footing previously.

Descending Long Ridge
 There were a few large rocks on the gentle ridge that, for us, indicated the junction turn down to the right. At the bottom of this slightly steeper ridge was Snack Rock where we stopped for a break.

Snack Rock
 The redstone outcropping was fun to climb on for a few of us and it offered a few intriguing photos as well.


Snack Rock View
 After the break, we dropped into a wash on the other side of the large outcropping. This small wash offers a bit of fun scrambling and ends up in a slightly larger wash bedded with sandy gravel. This wash junctions with an even larger main wash that runs between the road and Lake Mead. We turned to the right and hiked up through the beautiful redstone all the way to the road. Then, we ducked through the culvert and came out the other side for our Slot Diversion #2.

Descent Scramble
 On this side of the culvert, we had a choice of going left or going straight. Today, our choice was straight.

Main Wash
 As we hiked up, the canyon slot became more and more narrow. The geology in this whole area is so interesting. Soon, we came to a dry fall that we have previously descended but that would be difficult to climb.

A Step Up

Culvert under Northshore Road
 This was our turnaround point for Slot #2 so we returned back down and through the culvert again. A large wash that turned to the left out of the main wash was next and we followed this wash back to the trailhead where we had to climb up and out one last time. It was a fun day of learning the area at a fairly slow pace. The wind died down and the sun got warm near the end of the hike.

5 miles; 1000 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours

Dry Fall in Slot #2

Exiting Slot #2

Wide Wash on Return to Cars

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