Friday, January 2, 2015

Vegas: who needs casinos when there are mountains to be climbed?

It's been 22 years since I was in Vegas last.  Worked there in 86 and 90, but lost contact with anyone I knew.  The population was about 750,000...same as Calgary back then.  Calgary thinks it has growing pains with 1.1 million now?  Vegas is 2 million.  Wonder how long that will last.

Rather than head off to Colombia with the family who went for 5 weeks, I only had 2 weeks and drove down to Vegas.  19 hours/2100kms.  Left after work on Friday at 2pm and was hiking Saturday at 2pm.  Very relaxing drive with good weather, 4 lanes all the way, cruise control on 130/140kph and some book CD's from the library (12 steps to a Compassionate life - was a head full)

Bagged a peak or two or three every day...which was a bit intense.
-Bridge mtn
-Fortification hill
-Sunrise and Frenchman mts
-River mtns (black and red)  bivied on the summit of red xmas eve
-Arizona Hot Springs
-Aniversary, Northshore peaks and Lava Butte
-Black Velvet
-Wilson
-Turtlehead, Cheyenne, Lost mtns
-Lost Creek Peak (got skunked....off route)
Black mtn (a different one from the above...in a snow storm)

The most vertical was Mt. Wilson with about 1000m.....smallest was Lone mtn with about 150m

.....and only 1 buffet and only 1 desert....can't believe I had the self-control!

Back next year with Studley Rango for more!

The following are views of Vegas.  Most peaks were within a one hour drive....with the city being the focal point.  Sunrise and Frenchman back left and Fortification on the RHS. Looking east from Bridge mtn

From Frenchman mtn looking west

From Red Mtn Xmas eve looking NW

From Black Velvet looking NE

From Fortification Looking west, with snow capped mt Charleston at 12,000ft in the background.  Studley and I spent the night up there in 93.

Rare snow flurries over Vegas Dec 31.  From Black mtn looking NW

From Turtlehead looking SE

The next bunch of pics are looking up at the peaks.  Turtlehead

Fortification....and old volcano.  Have a great shot of grandma and grandpa here in 1990

Looking from Sunrise mtn over to Frenchman.  8 hours to do both.

Red mtn the morning after the bivy.

Not sure if this is Black Velvet

Black Velvet....I'll take the easy route thanx.

.....and some vegetation shots....





What's on the summit shots.  Usually some kind of standard, waterproof army canister.


Whooha.....stands for "women having optimistic objectives and healthy attitudes"   Okay.

A sink to wash up in.  Otherwise known as a Tinaja.  Sandstone holds water well, unlike limestone.

The black thing on top is a taped up brick.  Studley was here?

Smelly feet, from a weeks worth of outdoor bucket showers.....as I just slept in the back of the minivan.  Casino parking lots, hospital parkade, retirement home, the desert....it's all good.

Oh say can you see Lone Mtn in the middle left?  From Cheyenne peak which was only 300m....a 10 minute drive to Lone mtn....a 150m peak.

This is Mr. Sr. Smart Brownie.....our class mascot this year.  Smart because he lives on the Smart board projector and Brownie because the students chose that name.  He's a mtn climbing bear with a Calgary flames sweater to keep warm on the summits.  He was my steadfast companion for the duration of the trip!  He even speaks Spanish :)

oohh la lah.....Looking south.  Colorado river down below there somewhere....and the Arizona hot springs.

Taken from the top of the shadow of Lava Butte.

Lake Mead and the Hoover dam bridge.  The park visitor info person says there is a 1/3 volume of water left.  Hmmm.....I didn't see any attempts to reduce consumption in Vegas.  But then it is the city of excess.  Ah well....party on.

They sure plan ahead.....suburbia waiting to be built.  When the boomers spend all their money and Vegas goes bust...it'll go big time.  With the water running out, it'll come down faster than Detroit.  Hmmm, I'm sure sounding like a grumpy old man this morning.

Red Rock Canyon.  13 mile scenic drive....was free....now it's $7....same for Lake Mead.

White mtn....didn't climb this one.

A modest cairn would do just fine thanx.

James heading up the crack on Bridge mtn.  Met on the summit....offered a shower when I needed one, but never got around to giving him a call!  I've accepted a lot of hospitality from people around the world. (and repaid a lot via warmshowers.org)  This made me ponder why I'm sleeping in my van etc, when I finally have the means to fly down, rent a car, and stay in a hotel and not end up broke afterwards, like so many other adventures.   I must be my mother's son.  Old habits die hard.  Still a tightwad, in other words :)

The mighty tree has recently fallen.

On Bridge mtn.

Arizona hot springs....and they are HOT.  Early bird gets the worm.....had it for an hour to myself before a 50 person Taiwanese family from LA arrived!

And some places aren't so hot.....Graffiti Canyon

Graffiti Canyon on Lost Creek Peak.

Anniversary narrows slot canyon

Paiute rock art....on the way down to the Colorado.

....and a mortar and pestle close by.   

They started shooting after I walked through....I'm not kidding. That was dumb.  I thought 7am would be too early for target practice.

.....and a few strip shots

Luxor....now has a Saudi owner, who ripped out the Egyptian stuff inside and put in a NY theme. ??

Add caption

The Fremont Street Hotties....is what they call themselves.


Did a bit of cycling too.....

.......and a 5km running race on new years eve....after climbing Black mtn in the snow that morning.....then drove back to Calgary that night, to miss the impending snow storm for Montana.  Once you've lived in Ecuador....there is no point in seeing more fireworks....I've had enough for a lifetime.   That's apple cider by the way :)

Cada loco con su tema.....every crazy person with their own idea.....
Red Rock will last.....how long will Vegas?

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