Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hollow Rock Peak - 4/30/17

Hollow Rock Peak from Approach

Sandstone & Mt. Potosi

Hollow Rock

Gathering at the Saddle
 At the end of the southernmost ridge that juts out from the Red Rock Canyon NCA escarpment is a very large boulder that sits atop this peak. This climbable boulder is said to be somewhat hollow and can only be proven by surmounting the boulder. The peak is called Hollow Rock Peak and there is a very nice hike that begins at the Mountain Springs Pass Trailhead, climbs up Heartbreak Hill and follows a trail out the ridge to the peak. Today, early, thirteen hikers set out to do just that and decided to make it a loop. Our first goal was the saddle junction at the top of a one mile / 600 foot climb.

Mt. Potosi from Hollow Rock Peak Trail
 The group was pretty well-matched and we all made it to the saddle within the same two or three minutes.

Hiking the Trail
 We turned to the right at the saddle with a beautiful Mt. Potosi rising in the morning sun across Highway 160 to our right.

Ups and Downs

Claret Cup Bloom
 The Hollow Rock Peak Trail takes you on several rises and falls, foregoing the preferred rule of skipping the small intermediary peaks by traversing around them. We passed several Claret Cup Cacti blooming near the trail. Someone has placed cairns that mark the trail for now. The terrain to each side of the ridge was steep and unforgiving. As we rounded the last corner of the limestone portion of the ridge, we could see the peak at the end.

Hollow Rock Peak as seen from Trail
 Hollow Rock perched on the end of the peak like a punctuation mark. We dropped down to the limestone / sandstone demarcation and continued on the trail straight ahead.

The Last of the Limestone
 One more small peak made of limestone required a traverse around and we came to "the campsite." Yes, you can always count on this campsite being there!

Hitting the Sandstone Ridge

Down the Slab
 Stepping onto the sandstone, we followed the trail balancing on the top of the ridge. Not a knife edge but the sides did drop steeply down. The trail followed the ridge until we were about halfway along, then it dropped slightly down to the right. Next came a small series of steep undulations that we accomplished expertly, having done this hike many times previously. If you stay too close to the top of the ridge, you run into scary stuff. Stay to the right.

Windy Peak next Door
 Instead of hiking the last deep dip, the group chose to take the higher traverse around on the ridge side.

View Back at the Approach Ridge
 Soon, we were all sitting at the peak taking our break. No one really cared to climb Hollow Rock today. Nah.

Snack Break at Hollow Rock

Las Vegas from Hollow Rock
 We enjoyed the views of Windy Peak next door and the Calico Hills beyond. Las Vegas could be seen through a light haze. Mt. Potosi and South Peak were on the opposite side of the ridge and Cottonwood Valley was seen below. Finally, we had had our fill and decided to start the return. We kept to our same route for the return on the sandstone but, when we reached the sandstone / limestone line, we bid adieu to the approach route. Here, we turned down to the left toward a beautiful sandstone wash on a trail.

The Sandstone Return
 The trail hangs right on the line in the limestone. We lost it once but found it again without much trouble.

Hiking through the Color
 Following this trail took us to the top of an old abandoned dirt road and we started down.

Wash at Sandstone / Limestone Line

Trail down to Abandoned Road
 The old road led down to connect with the forest road that runs alongside Highway 160. Here, we turned to our right and followed the undulating forest road for about 3/4 of a mile. After hiking under a triple-pole utility wire setup, we waltzed into the trailhead with just under 5 miles. Short but challenging. Great group this morning ... once we woke up!

5 miles; 1500 feet elevation gain; 3 hours

Abandoned Dirt Road

Undulating Forest Road

Through the Finish Line

No comments: