Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cockscomb Peak and Charleston Peak

On Saturday, nine hikers followed the somewhat loose route to Cockscomb Peak. This is a short, but exciting route to a rarely visited summit. There's a sign-in book at the summit now. Due to the loose rock, hikers must use caution on this route. Here's a slide show of the hike: Slide Show

On Saturday afternoon seven of us met a 4 pm to drive to and car camp in Carpenter Canyon. It's about a 90 minute drive from Vegas. The plan was to relax Saturday night at the camp and then get up early Sunday morning to hike the toughest route to Mt. Charleston: a route that gains over 5,000 feet in elevation with no stinking trail!

Around 7 pm Kenny came roaring into camp. It was great to see him; however, he still is over a month away from hiking again. Dave Ricker also camped with us, but did not hike to the peak the next day. After dinner we watched Office Space on my portable DVD player. Yeah, I know, really roughing it. Actually, the weather allowed us to watch the movie without being cold. By the time the movie was over, it was 10 pm. No 10 hour night in a tent, which is great by me. I normally sleep six hours or less a night.

The next morning we broke camp a little before 7 am and nine hikers (we were joined by Milan and Mark) headed deeper into Carpenter Canyon. There was more water this year than in any year in the past (I have been doing this hike since 1999.) The first part of the canyon is always challenging to navigate. Paths end abruptly due to brush or springs that are impossible to cross without getting wet. And this is southern Nevada! We pushed on beyond the paths and dropped into the drainage. Due to the water, it was very slick in spots. I think everyone slipped at some point. When the water dissappeared underground, we made good time until it appeared again. There's some climbing on this route, though it can easily be avoided. The canyon gives way to a steep scree slope and at times it was all fours. We intersected the South Loop Trail and met up with Debbie as planned. The walk to the summit was sort of anticlimactic after the route we followed.

Though the weather looked threatening, it never rained a drop on us. It's sort of ironic that this was the fourth time I had scheduled a hike to Charleston Peak this summer. The other three times were no goes for various reasons. This hike went off without a hitch.

Believe it or not, this was Myra's first time on Charleston Peak! She choose the toughest route and did great. I forgot what she wrote in the sign-in book at the summit, but she was pretty proud and rightly so.

We descended the way we ascended with a few shortcuts. It took us a little over four hours to reach our cars. The drive out was long, as always. I believe its better to do this hike as a car camp the night before rather than a day hike... too much driving for one day.

*Carpenter Canyon is marked by a large highway sign off of State Route 160.
*The road to the canyon requires high clearance and at least an all-terrain type vehicle.
*It takes almost an hour to drive the road.
*On summer weekends expect other campers in the campsite.