Monday, October 13, 2008

Monument Traverse

On Sunday, six hikers (Nick, Harlan, Peppe, Luba, Dana and I) climbed to Monument Arch and three peaks (Center Monument, West Monument and Hidden Peak) following a route known as Monument Traverse. I got the idea for this route as I was walking First Creek trail years ago. As I looked out to the south I saw this wild looking ridgeline with multiple peaks and thought this would be a cool route. Being one of the most complicated routes in Red Rock, it took many attempts to find the route.

During one of our breaks we watched bighorns doing acrobatic moves on the rock above us. On Sunday's hike we descended through Monument Arch giving us the best view of the arch. It's a tricky descent and we had to traverse an exposed ledge just to get to the descent. This was the first time in years I had descended through the arch. We took a short break before climbing back up the route we descended and headed toward Center Monument. Once at the saddle between East and Center Monument, the route traverses a narrow ledge. Soon we were standing at Center Monument Peak. From there it's about 45 minutes to West Monument Peak. The scrambling backs off and route finding becomes the issue. Soon after leaving West Monument we were on a rappel. It was Dana's first rappel and she did great! It's then a short scramble over to Hidden Peak, the third and final peak of the day. We descended the normal route into Black Velvet Canyon and out the wash back to the trailhead.
Notes: Hidden Peak needs a new container; we removed the webbing at the awkward class 4+ climb; we put a new container at Center Monument; West Monument's container is in bad shape.