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Ascent of Charleston Peak on 2014-06-23

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
Date:Monday, June 23, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Charleston Peak
    Location:USA-Nevada
    Elevation:11916 ft / 3631 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our morning ascent of Hayford Peak we make the short drive up Lee Canyon Road, watching the temp fall from 101 to a more hikeable 73F.

We park at the top switchback (N36.30512 W115.67880, 2651m), opposite the ski centre entrance, and passing the locked gate we hike down the access road to the buildings. It should be noted that as of June 2014, the righthand ski lift mentioned in Petter Bjorstad's and Lee Newton's trip reports is no longer present. However the concrete bases still remain, leading up an obvious grassy piste which we ascend SSW to the top (N36.29655 W115.68428, 2830m, signpost KINKY SNAKE). We then follow a dirt road up left to where it meets a creek. We hike up the small creek (running water) then when this gets brushy, a trail to its left. There are fallen trees to negotiate and a few thistles and other spiky plants, but it's pretty easy. The trail bends left at N36.29165 W115.68435 (2980m) and ascends an obvious gully (with an obvious vertical buttress on its left side). We stay mostly in the gully, with some easy scrambling which can easily be bypassed if preferred. The top hundred feet or so is fine loose scree, making for a laborious scrabbly finish to the notch (N36.28788 W115.68106, 3299m) in the ridge. Here we meet a lad chilling out: his companions have turned back and he doesn't have time to make the summit before rejoining them.

From the notch we descend a few feet to the very obvious North Loop trail. This ingenious route follows a series of terraces around a vast limestone amphitheatre, with the bulk of Charleston looming beyond a huge drop. The trail traverses all the way around beneath the peak before zigzagging up to the summit. This seems to take a long while, partly due to the number of photo stops I make - the scenery is very impressive. It reminds me of France's striking limestone peaks such as Chamechaude and La Tournette.

We have the summit to ourselves. The highest point (N36.27161 W115.69560, 3230m) is a small rock outcrop by the US flag and summit register. The trig plaque is in a rock slab by the flag. There's a reference marker just to the south, and beyond it a very effective shelter where we rest out of the late afternoon breeze.

On the way down we meet a local hiker who's just come up his own rib route from the main trailhead, in a rather brisk 1h47! We visit the three peakbagger points en route. The Devil's Thumb is too technical and gets the thumbs down. Lee Peak (N36.28747 W115.68973, 3447m, cairn) is a bit of a toil at this point in the day, but the view of Mummy Mountain is gorgeous. The little ridge peak (N36.28771 W115.68342, 3346m, flowery slab) just before the notch is a bit of a nonentity prominence wise but a quite distinctive slabby summit and worth the small detour. It's reached from the east by a fairly easy scramble, but on rubbly terraces, needing care, especially on descent.

From the notch we negotiate the steep loose scree descent into the gully, then reverse our upward route, now in evening shade. This route worked well as an afternoon ascent, with its nice high trailhead - the fun of the North Loop without all of the effort. Our summit time was 2h37; round trip 5h12.

We treat ourselves to a $32 motel room in Indian Springs (enjoying the $6.99 steak and eggs special but forgoing the casino!) before heading for the NV state highpoint Boundary Peak the next day.

Charleston Peak photo album
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3743 ft / 1139 m
    Elevation Loss:3743 ft / 1139 m
    Distance:9.3 mi / 15 km
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3316 ft / 1009 m
    Extra Loss:98 ft / 29 m
    Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Route:Lee Canyon and North Loop
    Trailhead:Lee Canyon Road  8698 ft / 2651 m
    Time Up:2 Hours 37 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3645 ft / 1110 m
    Extra Gain:427 ft / 130 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Lee Canyon and North Loop
    Trailhead:Lee Canyon Road  8698 ft / 2651 m
    Time Down:2 Hours 20 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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