Saturday, July 29, 2017

Wallace / No Name Loop - 7/29/17

Wallace Canyon

Wallace Saddle and Traverse Terrain to Right

No Name Ridge from Traverse

Hiking Up Washed Out No Name Trail
 At the top of the Lee Canyon arm of the Spring Mountains NRA are the ski slopes and the start of the Upper Bristlecone Trail. This may be considered the gateway to several hiking trails and, like today's, lots of bushwhacking opportunities. Ten hikers arrived for a somewhat strenuous hike that included bushwhacking and a rarely used trail. As we parked at the Upper Bristlecone Trailhead, we noted that they have finally placed traffic cones on the road to block off parking on the helipad. Las Vegans are sometimes a little daft when it comes to reading signs so traffic cones come out!

Climbing Wallace Canyon Trail
 We warmed up on the Bristlecone Trail as we climbed up for one very familiar mile. The unfamiliar part was that a recent deluge had previously made the trail a river and there were many rocks all over the nice trail that used to be clean.

Wallace Canyon Trail
 At 1.0 mile, we came to the No Name Trail junction where we turned to the left.

Approaching Wallace Saddle

Taking a Breather on Wallace Saddle
 We hiked up the also washed out No Name Trail for about a quarter mile and came to the Wallace Canyon Trail forking off to the left after the No Name Trail had crossed the ravine wash once. This trail begins a steep climb up the slope. There were several trees that had fallen across the path since the last time the writer had hiked this trail a couple of years ago. At the end of the steep climb, there is a short ascending traverse heading straight over to the Wallace Canyon Saddle. Wallace Canyon drops steeply on the other side. Also of interest, there are some experienced hikers that use this as a route up to Charleston Peak by way of Devil's Thumb on the north ridge. For this adventure, turn left on the saddle and begin the climb up the ridge. (Expect some 3rd class stuff as you near Devil's Thumb.)

Use Trail down to Crash Site
 After everyone got to the saddle, we dropped down over the other side and found the trail that leads around to the airplane crash site that happened in 1978.

All that Remains of Crash
 Until a couple of years ago, the entire airplane was still located here. The wilderness people removed it much to the chagrin of area hikers.

Our Break at Crash Site

South Sister from Wallace Saddle
 The story goes: In February of 1978, a man and his 21 year old son rented a small aircraft to fly out to help in a search for one of two downed planes in the area. For unknown reasons, they crashed into the deep snow of Wallace Canyon. The man left his unconscious son to walk out in zero degree weather for help but didn't reach help for two days. By the time a search and rescue team reached his son, he was dead from injuries and exposure. Hikers have gathered tiny bits and pieces that the wilderness people left behind and made a small memorial with a cairn. The site is still a quiet place in the woods to reflect.

Following Small Game Trail on Traverse
 We returned to Wallace Saddle on the same use trail then started out the side of the saddle on a tiny game trail. (Richard dubbed it the chipmunk trail!) The trail left us hanging on the side of a scree filled slope as we attempted to stay high and traverse all the way over to the next saddle, No Name Saddle.

Arriving at No Name Saddle
 The chipmunk trail was usable all the way over but we still had to climb a little when we connected with the No Name Trail. The trail here was washed out down to the bedrock!

Interesting Descent on No Name Ridge

Descent with Wallace Saddle in Distance
 After a pause on top of the hill next to the saddle, we turned back on ourselves and began our descent along this ridge, No Name Ridge. It was steep but doable. The ridge undulates a little among limestone outcroppings then it drops down. Quite the adventure that is noted in a few of the photos! At the end of the ridge, we joined the Bristlecone Trail at the exact location of the No Name junction where we had been earlier. From there, we passed several recreational hikers on our way down to the trailhead and the cars. Fun adventure of bushwhacking ... and we need a bigger chipmunk!

4.5 miles; 1300 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Limestone on No Name Ridge

Descending a Washed Out Upper Bristlecone Trail

Washed Out Bristlecone Trail

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