By: Erik Seiring
Newbies and Oldtimers alike climbed to the highpoint of Bridge Mountain (elev. 7003'), on a fun Cinco de Mayo dayhike. Bridge is the latest addition to the Desert Peaks Section Peaks List. Situated in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas, it is one of the most scenic summits. It's also a popular destination- we had thirty-one participants, with more back in camp! Leaders were the author and Asher Waxman.
Friday night we carcamped off the paved Lovell Canyon Road. Early the next morning, our 4wd carpool drove slowly up the rough dirt road to the Red Rock Summit trailhead. An hour later, we were hiking on the nice trail through the pinion juniper forest. After cresting a ridge, we had our first views of the summit. It looked impossible but for a technical rock climb. Yet the route is fairly easy class 3. No ropes for this bunch!
Our group was interesting. This was the first desert peak for several strong newcomers. Others were rated leaders and seasoned "desert rats." Dave Boyle traveled from Maine to join us. Yours truly, Greg and Mirna Roach, Gary Craig, and Mary Motheral had done this peak before. It is good enough to repeat. Gary was drafting the DPS peak guide write-up.
A path marked by cairns wends its way down across red rock onto sandstone slickrock. We descended a thousand feet before scrambling upward again. Excellent weather, it was clear and cool for this time of year. As we stopped for photobreaks, we spied lingering snow atop Mt Charleston to the north. A gully dropped us to a saddle and the crux of the climb. What appears sheer vertical is a tenable crack about 200 feet high. One either steps up the crack or scrambles onto easier, more exposed slickrock to the right. Everyone did fine. A corner leads around to the beautiful natural bridge that lends the peak its name. We crossed the airy arch and continued on etched ledges. Twenty-nine climbers ably topped out on the rounded summit. Shortly, a group of fifteen Las Vegas Mountaineers joined us. What a party place!
We enjoyed lunch and the excellent views of Las Vegas below in the distance. Before heading back, we snapped a bunch of group photos. Everyone safely climbed down before hiking over the intervening ridge. Returning on the rough road, it was soon happy hour in camp. Out came the margaritas and tantalizing potluck dishes. Muy bueno.
Linda McDermott and Jim Hinckley graciously served up a pancake breakfast the next morning. Groups then set out on their own for private climbs and trips before heading home. Many thanks to my affable coleader and the capable group. Other participants were Ann Kramer, Larry & Barbee Tidball, Pete Yamagata, Patrick Wood & Jane Gibbons, Shane Smith, David Reneric & Jan Brahms, Robert Greenawalt, Carl Peterson, Daniel Bleiberg, Duke Blakesley, Karen Leonard, Edna Erspamer, George Tucker, Scot & Yvonne Jamison, Bob Emerick, Cara Hoepner, Michelle Owen & Andy Taylor, Brian Smith. Las Vegas locals Rick Holcomb and Rich Dinkel also joined us.
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