Weighing in at under 3000 m, Cockscomb Peak is surrounded by higher and more impressive mountains. But when it comes to an enjoyable ascent, I doubt if many peaks in the Spring Mountains can compare. In the Spring Mountains, I've climbed a few peaks and seen the tops of many, but Cockscomb is the only summit I know that is free of trees and manmade structures. And with its engaging route, one with changing scenery, you have a delightful little peak.
Summitpost provides a sparing route description for Cockscomb Peak, enough detail to get you up, but it doesn't mention the old mine along the way or the beautiful bristlecone trees and the numerous pinnacles on the ridge. Here's what it does say. Hike up a canyon to a trail leading to Stanley B Springs. From the springs, turn right and head up another canyon. After a time, look for a place to ascend the ridge on your left (we ascended just past some flagging). The ridge leads to a saddle but it was so well-concealed by pinnacles and rock outcrops, that it left us guessing where it was exactly. But once on the saddle, the peak is only a few minutes away.
As I mentioned the summit is bare, so you can appreciate uninterrupted views of several peaks, including Griffith Peak and Mount Charleston. Anyone having traversed Griffith to Charleston will appreciate seeing the long ridge between them. After taking in the views, return the same way.
Starting up the canyon
On the trail near the spring
At Stanley B Springs, Dinah reads the sign (mouse over)
Following the canyon after the spring
Western columbine by the spring
100 m after the spring is an old mine (mouse over to read the sign)
Going up the canyon
On the ridge
The summit is the rock point on the right
Views ahead were limited
Behind is Mummy's Toes and Fletcher Peak
Looking down Kyle Canyon
Dinah waits for me just before the saddle
The summit is straight ahead
On the way to the summit, Dinah passes a large, old bristlecone pine
Looking back at the same tree
On the summit
On the way back down, we passed a rock balanced on a pinnacle
Back at the trailhead there were several of these butterflies flitting about the flowers
Charleston Peak 1:24,000 Topo (4.7 mi, 9718 ft, 2497 ft)
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