July 12, 2005
Charleston Peak Trip Report

It wasn't all "work" in Las Vegas.

On Sunday co-blogger Frank and I set off at 6:30 a.m. from the South Loop trailhead parking lot (only 45 minutes from the Las Vegas strip) headed toward Charleston Peak (elev. 11,919')--8.5 miles and 4269' in elevation gain away. The weather was perfect with complete sun and a starting temp in the upper 60s.

After hiking steadily uphill on seemingly endless switchbacks for 2 miles or so we finally got a good view of the mountain [see picture]. Charleston Peak is the tallest mountain in southern Nevada (4th tallest in the state) and the only peak in the Spring Mountain range above the tree line. Although the snow is usually gone by July, the larger than usual winter snowfall meant that there were still many snowy spots to negotiate.

After about 2+ hours, 3+ miles, and 2000'+ of elevation gain, Frank decided to turn back leaving me to head for the summit alone. This was Frank's first foray into hiking at elevation in the west, and he did very well to get this far.

After leaving Frank, I picked up the pace and passed two groups of hikers along the way. At about 11,000' in the middle of a large scree field, I came across some beautiful flowers [see picture] and made it to the summit alone [see picture] at 11:00. From the top you can see parts of Las Vegas (but not the strip) to the southeast and Death Valley and the Sierra Nevada to the west. It was pretty windy and almost cold so I didn't linger. At 11:15 I headed back down the same trail and was back at the car by about 2:15.

There are a number of shorter day hikes (such as Cathedral Rock) in the area and I highly recommend this area for anyone travelling to Las Vegas. It's a great way to beat the heat if nothing else.

Posted by Robert Lawson at 09:57 AM in Sports  ·  TrackBack (0)

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