|Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania! (Cheryl's brother)|
Jerry and Cheryl have been climbing and hiking and snowshoeing during the past month since the orders for social distancing and self-isolation came down from the governor to stem the spread of COVID-19. They are here to school all of us on how it's done!
|Lower Hidden Canyon|
First, they attempted to go to some of their old haunts expecting little to no crowds. (Fat Chance!) They climbed in Lower Hidden Canyon. They tried snowshoeing on the Upper Bristlecone Trail. And, they tried climbing a small peak on the northwest corner of Las Vegas.
Mt. Golden Eagle (northwest Las Vegas)
|Snowshoeing the Upper Bristlecone Trail|
|Mt. Golden Eagle|
Mt. Golden Eagle is a small peak located just south of West Tropical Parkway. Described as a short but nice little hike, it can be compared to the climb up to Cheyenne Peak. All alone, Jerry and Cheryl explored two routes; one route for the ascent and one route for the descent. Seeing how nice it was to climb small peaks that have very little experience with hikers on their backs, J&C decided to look into a few more interesting little peaks to combine their skills of climbing and hiking.
Stats: 2.5 miles; 900' gain; 2 hours
Lucky Strike Canyon Road (RRCNCA)
|Overview of Lucky Strike Canyon Hikes|
One area that has very little traffic is Lucky Strike Canyon Road. The road is traveled with very little effort in a high clearance vehicle. The dirt road starts from SR 95 heading west, directly across 95 from the junction of Corn Creek Road that takes you into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
Lucky Strike Peak (RRCNCA)
|Climbing Lucky Strike Peak|
|Lucky Strike Peak|
The first peak off of this road that J&C decided to climb was Lucky Strike Peak. It is the first peak of significance on the north side of the road rising to 5050' above sea level. It is situated inside the boundary of Red Rock Canyon NCA. J&C began their hike at a trailhead approximately 2.25 miles up Lucky Strike Canyon Road from SR 95. Their first idea was to climb up through a canyon but found the canyon was not going to workout. Instead, they came back and changed to the adjacent ridge. Still a lot of good scrambling. Up on the main ridge, they found a wide knife edge ... or, as Cheryl puts it, a spatula edge! There was no one around but they saw three burros who were keeping their social distance.
Stats: <5 miles; 1800' gain; 3.75 hours
Mt. Pumpkin (RRCNCA)
|Starting out at Mt. Pumpkin (Peak in Distance)|
|Climbing Mt. Pumpkin|
|On the Trailing Ridge|
Mt. Pumpkin was next and it is located directly across Lucky Strike Canyon Road from Lucky Strike Peak. A small turnout road leaves the main dirt road to the left at around 1.7 miles up from SR 95. Drive up and park to start the hike. Following the main trailing ridge in front of them, J&C climbed up to the peak ridge. Next, they traversed along the contour to reach the peak. Their descent took a steeper route down to the dirt road and back around to the car. The entire hike is located inside the boundary of Red Rock Canyon NCA.
Stats: 2.3 miles; 1100' gain; 2.75 hours
|Nearing the Peak Ridge|
|On the Peak (Last approach seen at Right)|
Dull Mountain (RRCNCA)
|Final Ascent on Dull Mountain (Lucky Strike Peak in distance at Left Center)|
Dull Mountain (inside Red Rock Canyon NCA) was the next mountain of significance up from Mt. Pumpkin on the south side of Lucky Strike Canyon Road. They began the hike from a trailhead around 3.2 miles up from SR 95. The single photo that was sent from this peak doesn't appear that "dull!" Nevertheless, J&C found one route to ascend and another route to descend! And, from the peak, you can see Lucky Strike Peak that stands out in the distance.
Stats: 2 miles; 950' gain; 2.25 hours
Kyle Peak (RRCNCA)
|On Kyle Peak (Spring Mountains in Distance)|
The trailhead for Kyle Peak is 6.5 miles up Lucky Strike Canyon Road from SR 95 on the south side of the dirt road. This peak, also inside Red Rock Canyon NCA, appears to be the easiest of the four peaks J&C climbed in this area. However, the photo from the peak may be one of the best of the four since it is a few miles closer to the higher peaks of the Spring Mountains. This peak required a total of about 1.5 miles traversing desert terrain.
Stats: 2.6 miles; 1000' gain; 2.25 hours
Naked Mountain (DNWR)
|Good Scramble in the Gully|
On another beautiful day, J&C decided to branch out to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge located across SR 95 from Lucky Strike Canyon. They parked at a trailhead that the club once used to view an ancient agave roasting pit located 7.2 miles up Mormon Well Road from the Corn Creek Visitor Center. Not too far past Yucca Gap, the turnout is on the left side of the road. Naked Mountain is the peak directly behind the old kitchen and is climbed via a fantastic scramble up through a gully. Views from the obscure peak were gorgeous! Cheryl said, "The register at the peak was placed there by the Angeles Sierra Club in 1996. The next person to sign it was in 2006 and the next, after that, were two people in 2016. Finally, we signed the book!! Amazing!" (Also, too cold and windy to do anything naked.)
Stats: 2.5 miles; 1250' gain; 3 hours
Traction Benchmark (off Cold Creek Road)
|Naked Mountain Peak|
|Traction Benchmark (High Point on Center Horizon)|
|Gully choked with Sagebrush|
|Is the scree field an option?|
J&C's latest conquest took them up to Cold Creek Road starting about 5.3 miles up from SR 95. They parked on the right side of the road then began their hike to the left side of the road into the desert full of Joshua Trees. The exploration to this peak called Traction Benchmark required two different days. On the first "recon" day, they ran into a choked gully and had to turn back deciding not to use the scree slope as an alternative!! The second day took them up a nearby desert ridge and gully, finally reaching the peak that turned out to be the outcropping that appeared to be lower from the trailhead. Cheryl reports, "The register sign in book was put there by the Sierra Club in 1986! It had only eight names. We knew most of them including Ed and Luba. No one since 2018. So, in 34 years hardly anyone has been up there. Well, we want to be remote!" Yet a different gully route was used to descend. Several Southern Desert Horned Lizards were spotted among the packed scree hillsides.
Stats: 7 miles; 2050' gain; 4.75 hours
, ladies and gentlemen, is how you social distance while hiking and climbing. Stay healthy!
|Through the Joshua Trees|
|Climbing Stable Rocky Turf (Cold Creek in Distance)|
|Traction Benchmark Peak and Spring Mountains|