Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cockscomb Peak - A Better Descent Route

Cockscomb Peak
Cockscomb Peak is the prominent peak out to the east as you hike up Trail Canyon Trail. Many hikers think the trail should be renamed: Boring Trail! Anyways, Cockscomb is a nice peak to bag. The climbs are loose and caution must be used if a large group is attempting this hike.
(Note: Click on photos to enlarge them.)

The old descent route was incredibly loose and too dangerous. About two years ago Kathy and I found a much better route that traversed most of the Cockscomb Ridge and then descended by an arch. This was a better route, but this new descent was still loose and very long.

Last week we again climbed Cockscomb Peak with the goal of finding a safe and fast descent. Here's the new descent.
First, here's a photo taken from the summit looking at the descent route:

Rap from summit

From Cockscomb Peak retrace your steps south as normal. Start heading west down the not too loose slope. Pass two fallen trees with cairns on them. (They are less than 100 yards from the summit of Cockscomb.)
In roughly 20 to 30 yards past the second fallen tree with a cairn, head north (right) to a rock outcrop with a large cairn delicately balance on the top.

Start a series of down climbs (mainly class 2) with some loose rock.  I put a few cairns here. Continue to the hand line in the photo below.

Once down the rope (short downclimb of less than 10 feet) there’s a big tree that you will use for an anchor.
100 foot rope is enough. The rap is about 43 feet. The first part is really class 2/3 and then a ~12 foot vertical section.

Pulling the rope is safe with the rope suspended over two rock ridges, so there’s very little chance of falling rock.

At the bottom of the rap, descend west hugging the wall for better footing. Once the wall gives way, the incline lessens and you will soon intersect Trail Canyon Trail. You are about 20 minutes from the trailhead.
Want to do this hike with us? Join Meetup/Hiking-Las-Vegas