Ascent of Charleston Peak on 2018-09-01

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, September 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Charleston Peak
    Elevation:11916 ft / 3631 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove up the mountain, only a fifty minute drive from my cousin Maggie's place, and turned onto Echo Rd from Kyle Canyon Rd. I parked by the pit toilet at the Trail Canyon Trailhead and thought it was odd that there were only five other cars there at 6:17am when I started hiking on this Labor Day weekend. I immediately passed someone in camo headed down the trail. Then I passed a water tank and climbed steeply up the trail for about two miles where some people were camping at the trail intersection. I went left towards the peak which I could see clearly. It looked quite far away, but it was a few miles of easy grade before the climb up the face of Charleston. The trail stayed below the ridge except for a couple view points to the north, but the view was always fantastic into the valley and out the southeast. The viewpoints also gave me a chance to look down on Lee Canyon where I skied for the first time this last winter. Strangely, a man ran past me on the trail, followed by a woman five minutes later. Over half an hour later the woman was yelling, then found me and asked me if this was the trail to Charleston Peak. She thought she was lost. Then she took back off up the trail after I told her that this is the correct trail, and I continued on. Then the man appeared and asked if I'd seen the woman a few minutes later. I said she went up the trail somewhere... Then five minutes later I caught up to both of them when they reunited. I guess they got mixed up on the only two switchbacks on this four mile stretch? I was doing well, but then the switchbacks on the face went on longer than I expected. It was ok, though as the trail was good and I arrived at the top, coming up paralleling someone arriving from the southern route. The views were just incredible, even if a haze blurred some of the farther away peaks. I was particularly interested in the high flattish forest to the north in this range. Unlike San Gorgonio last weekend, on Charleston you really get a good feel for how ridiculously much prominence this peak has. On the way down I took the southern loop because I was meeting Maggie and Levi for lunch at the Mt. Charleston Lodge, which is just below the other trailhead. I started off in a hurry, but soon found a plane crash that I hiked up a little to see. There were two engines and a mostly complete side panel. It was the most complete crash that I've seen. About a mile down the trail I found an actuator from the plane in a bush. Maybe someone tried to take it home, but didn't care to carry it farther? Then the forest of bristle cones began, and soon turned from live trees to charred. There wasn't much shade. Many people were passing me headed up and wondering how far they had to go. This route didn't have good views of the peak on the way up like the north route did. There are also several spots where I had to drop and regain elevation, which was not what I wanted on my way down. Once I reached the junction to head down the mountain, I was relieved to see that I didn't have to head up the ridge to Griffith Peak like I though. Then it was a long series of switchbacks down through the pines and by many people. Many who had destinations other than Charleston. I could see the lodge and was coming right down for it, but then the trail swung right into a different drainage. There were impressive cliffs here, but I was ready to eat lunch. I got down into the parking lots after longer than I'd hoped and came across two people trying to get people to register to vote. They gave me directions to the lodge. I followed the road out of the lot to a bigger road, then hooked right and saw the large brown lodge with an A frame in the middle. I actually got there before the other two despite our meeting time being 1pm and me arriving at 1:28pm. They were slow heading back from Mary Jane Falls. The hike was tougher than I expected, but boy was it a good one.

If a shrub falls in the forest, is it bushed?
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4586 ft / 1397 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4761 ft / 1451 m
    Round-Trip Distance:17.4 mi / 28 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4171 ft / 1271 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4151 ft / 1265 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Loss on way in:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:8.5 mi / 13.7 km
    Route:North Loop
    Start Trailhead:Trail Canyon Trailhead  7765 ft / 2366 m
    Time:3 Hours 26 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4741 ft / 1445 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4326 ft / 1318 m; Extra: 415 ft / 126m
    Gain on way out:415 ft / 126 m
    Distance:8.9 mi / 14.3 km
    Route:South Loop
    End Trailhead:Mt. Charleston Lodge  7590 ft / 2313 m
    Time:3 Hours 12 Minutes

This page has been served 543 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2020 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service