Turtlehead Peak Red Rock 01-30-2021

Famous Red Rocks….

Took a weekend trip to escape locked down Washington State and headed to Las Vegas with boys in tow for a mini-reunion with old friends Sean and Dennis to enjoy open restaurants, bars, and some desert hiking. We opted to take on Turtlehead in the Red Rock Canyon NRCA. Sean, Dennis, and I made our way after prior reconnoitering the area and multiple trailheads and hikes. I have seen the peak for many years, its summit rising from the desert hills like a giant monster in a Godzilla movie.

We made our way up a meandering washout and soon gain a ridge that ever so gradually rose in elevation and presented some good terrain for easy scrambling. Upon hitting the saddle at around 5800 feet we encountered compact snow and ice which made for some slippery going without proper footwear. Fortunately, we had poles, but no microspikes. Sean felt that the path forward was “Terrible Disquieting” and opted to turn down, while Dennis and I forged onwards to the summit. Dennis and I plowed on, up slippery slopes until we finally made the summit with a gaggle of other unprepared day hikers. We made our way down, which had a few dicey areas as the trail descended a few steep rock and boulder formations. Most other folks had issues with one particularly steep section, and it was amusing to see them slide down in tennis shoes. I help guide a few folks down so they did not slide into exposed rocks and trees.

As Dennis and I were slowly navigating our way off the ice fields, Sean send a message indicating he was off trail, out of battery, and not sure what to do. I was thinking to myself that this could evolve into a shit show of an outing if Sean could not find other people, and was mentally preparing for a worst case scenario of searching for Sean for the evening. Fortunately he ran into a fellow hiker we met on the way up and was able to charge his phone and find the trail down.

All in all, this is an amazingly beautiful area, with many trails, scramble routes, and climbs to explore in the future. Dennis and I hiked out at dusk with amazingly beautiful evening light, and made our 7:30 dinner reservation at the Homestead Grill to replenish our many consumed calories.


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