Monday, November 30, 2015

Hiking Las Vegas Blog Has Moved

Thanks for Reading this blog. I am now blogging (writing hiking articles) at this location. It's actually part of my website Hiking Las Vegas. It's much more interactive than this blog.

The new blog will be much more active. I will be writing articles at least once a week. There are dozen of articles, such as 5 Super Tough Hikes in the USA, Save Money on Your Hiking Boots, 4 Tips to Prevent Tightness After Hiking.

Read the new blog by clicking here.

All the articles on this blog will remain here for you to read.

See you on the new blog,

PS: If you want to join the 52 Peak Club, click here.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Global Peak Backway Route

Global Peak from the east
Global Peak is an obscure peak in South Red Rock Canyon. The traditional route is difficult with lots of elevation gain and class 3+ scrambling. A leader of the 52 Peak Club found a much easier route from the west via the backway to Windy Peak.

It's a fun route, but not easy to follow and not intuitive.  I created the below video to help hikers follow the route.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Safer Descent of off North Sister

For years hikers would descend a very loose slope from the summit of North Sister. This was very dangerous due to hikers accidentally knocking down loose rocks.  Yesterday (6-16-2015), the 52 Peak Club found a safer way to descend. It's not perfect, but it is better.

In a nutshell the new descent follows a rocky ridge down about 60 yards from the summit and then descends a class 3 down climb into the loose slope as the original route. This new descent avoids the top half of the slope making it much safer. Caution still must be used since the second half of the descent travels down the same loose slope.

Below is a video showing the descent.

You can use this new descent route if you are doing the original route (Old Mill TH) or the new route from Mack's Canyon road.

Old Mills Trailhead

Pure confusion. We tried to enter via cars at around 7:45 am on Tuesday, but the area was closed via a gate. Parking before the gate, but still at Old Mills Picnic area, could result in big fines or your car being towed.  I call the new Visitor Center about the when Old Mills Picnic area is opened. They did not know!!!  All they told me was it's probably open on weekends and if you are there to use the picnic area, it's $20 per car.

I asked about if you only wanted to hike and was told there was no charge. I would not bet my life on that. How can the ranger, volunteer etc. verify that people are only hiking and not using the picnic facilities???

Where to Park?

You can park at a large gravel pulloff about 0.25 miles before the turnoff to Old Mills. It's on the south side of SR 156. See photo below. This is legal and there's plenty of room. There are trespassing signs, but they only apply if you hike south into the woods. Old Mills TH is north and west from where you park.

The start of the trail has changed slightly. In the write up I state you walk about a half mile along pavement to where the pavement ends. The pavement has been extended, but the unsigned trail is pretty obvious. See the below photo.

If you park outside of Old Mills Picnic area, you are going to walk more than a half mile, but it really doesn't matter since this is a round trip hike.

Park Here - walk west up SR 156 to Old Mills Picnic area

Start of trail - no sign, but it's obvious

The Route:

The route is in good shape. Although the path you take from the main trail is faint for the first 25 yards it becomes easy to follow all the way to the saddle. From the saddle to the ridge the path is very faint, but direction of travel is obvious. Once on the ridge the path is easy to follow to the class 3 climb that lies just below the summit of South Sister.

I learned one trick as we follow the cairned route from South Sister to North Sister. Once past the exposed traverse, which is just beyond the arch, veer right instead of left. This is shorter and avoids a down-climb.

This is one of my favorite routes in Mt. Charleston and now it's safer. I prefer starting at Old Mills rather than Mack's Canyon road for three reasons:

  1. No HCV is needed.
  2. It's easier to follow
  3. It's not as loose or brushy.
Want to do this hike with the 52 Peak Club? Click here for more information.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hollow Rock Peak

This is not a new peak, but a very seldom climbed peak in South Red Rock Canyon. Why? Several reasons:
The original route was terrible: lose and uninteresting
It was not in any hiking book
It is not a 52er Peak.

Someone created a good route from the backside. It's scenic, fun, and has a class 4 summit boulder.
Also, it's a good warm weather hike, since the route stays around 6,000 feet the entire time.

How to get there:

The trailhead is the same as Windy the Backside, which is off of Blue Diamond Highway.
Follow the wide trail up to the ridge. Instead of heading north toward Windy Peak, head south (right) and follow a path along the limestone ridge for about two mile. The path is well cairned, though faint in parts.
The last 0.5 mile is on standstone and is mostly class 2. The peak comes in and out of view as you make your way to the summit boulder. The class 4 climb is near the tree and to the left of the obvious crack.

Distance: 5 miles - up and back
Elevation gain: ~1,500 feet
Time: 2 to 3 hours - up and back
Class: 4

Notes: There are two summits, but only the class 4 summit boulder has a sign in book. The other summit is class 2. The summit boulder has an anchor for the downclimb.

Hollow Rock Peak - Click to enlarge

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dress For The Forecast, Not the Season

I used to say dress for the season (Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter). After following the weather for many years, I have changed to: Dress for the forecast. Here's an example why I changed my thinking. It's May here in Las Vegas. One thinks May in Las Vegas means warm temps, say in the mid-eighties. In a span of eight days the temps ranged from 96 degrees to 60 degrees! Those temps are both daytime highs.

When it's 96 degrees, you want to wear cotton to keep cool. Cotton retains water (your perspiration) which has a cooling affect. Conversely, when it's cool out, you wear clothing that keeps you warm.

Clothing helps you stay dry and comfortable. How do you prevent becoming chilled? Wear layers of clothing. The secret to layering is combining the correct clothing in the proper order. Done correctly it traps air warmed by your body heat while wicking moisture away from your skin.

The first layer (the one closest to your skin) will wick moisture away from your skin while trapping body heat. Any of the wicking fabrics found under the trade names Thermax or Coolmax work well. They come in different thickness. The colder the climate, the thicker the material you will want.
The middle layer acts as insulation. Fleece sweats, polypro pullovers, or a long-sleeved flannel shirt are good choices. The middle layer can be more than one garment. The final layer protects from wind. A windbreaker is fine in Las Vegas, except during winter months in Mt. Charleston. Jackets made from GORE-TEX are recommended during winter.

There are plenty of good websites to check for the forecast. Here are two I use: and Noaa
Note; Both links are set to Las Vegas. NV. You can easily change the setting to your home town.