Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rainbow Peak Without the Ledges

Today (11-23), seven hikers hiked to Rainbow Peak following one of the best routes in Red Rock Canyon, which is just 20 miles west of Las Vegas. I had looked at this seemingly impossible route for years before trying it. If fact, the route came about by accident. Valentina and I had be up around Rainbow Wall and headed east until a huge cliff stopped us in our tracks. It became apparent if a route to Rainbow Peak was possible the route would have to avoid the cliff by staying low and descending to an area below the cliff.

A year later Richard N. and I were in Juniper Canyon. We found a deep slot and we were checking it out. The slot ended, at least for us, at a 75 foot dry fall. We headed up Juniper Canyon and then pulled ourselves up the rope at the bottom of Rainbow Wall. We headed east toward where we thought the top of the deep slot would be. As we started descending to an area well below us where we figured the top of slot is located. The descent was tricky and we placed one fixed line. Once down we found the top of the slot and realized there were two big dry falls, each at least 75 feet high.

I then realized we had successfully navigated below the cliff that stopped Valentina and I a year ago. Although the terrain ahead of us did not look too promising, we started up with the goal being to find a new route to Rainbow Peak. We made it up another 400 to 500 feet, but the rock was too steep and it was getting late, though we did think the route still had a chance of going.

A few days later we returned and this time headed up a sketchy looking ramp. It went and the rest of the route turned out to be mainly class 2! It seems impossible with 1,200 feet to go the route wouldn't encounter some serious climbing. The route is named, Rainbow Peak Without the Ledges. If you have done the normal route, you know the ledges I am writing about.

: The route is well cairned at this time. Luba replaced the container for the sign in book. The book has plenty of pages left. I put in a fix line at a downclimb with lots of moss. It's only class 3, but the moss makes it tricky.