Davidson Peak offers a short, delightful ascent via the east ridge, but it's not the approach in Andy Zdon's book, Desert Summits. He suggests taking back roads to the south side of the saddle connecting Davidson Peak and a subpeak called Little Davidson Peak. But on Google Earth I could see no back roads going there. Moreover, the powerline road that Zdon proposes is rough and tortuous. We ended up taking a good road to the north side of the saddle.
To get to our start point from Las Vegas, drive 10 miles past Exit 100 on the I-15. Turn right and follow a road as it runs back alongside and then under the highway. Turn left onto the Old Spanish Highway. The dirt road soon turns right and becomes Halfway Wash Road. Follow the main road as it winds around to the north side of the saddle. Don't drive up the steep slope, but rather, park on a side road at the bottom.
Sonny, Dinah and I walked up the road a bit before making a beeline to the end of the east ridge; this road, we realized later, swings around to the ridge anyway. We followed the ridge as it curves around an impressive canyon. The ridge was merely a hike until we encountered a hump half way up. Small cliffs guard this hump, but we had no trouble traversing left before scrambling easily to the top. The only other part along the ridge worth noting, was a steep rock section that required some hands-on climbing. Just before the summit, the ridge narrows and levels off. We stepped onto the summit.
The lack of a summit cairn, let alone a summit register, suggests Davidson Peak garners little attention. Which is puzzling since it's a short and relatively easy climb within reach of Las Vegas and just minutes from Mesquite. On the flip side, you can be assured of finding solitude there.
Davidson Peak and Little Davidson Peak
After parking here, we hiked up a side road. The summit is the small bump in the centre.
Great basin collared lizard
To the east is Little Davidson Peak
The summit bump is directly above me
The ridge curves around a canyon to the hump on the right
We kept left, below the ridge crest
After traversing a bit, we looked for a place to gain the ridge
Sonny checks out a shallow cave
Dinah and Sonny stopped to study the route from the hump
As we climbed higher, we encountered more rocks
Looking back at a rock outcrop that we bypassed
This was the steepest section of our route
Nearing the top of the steep rock section
The final section of ridge to the summit
On the summit
Instead of following the ridge down from the summit, Dinah and I cut across the slope
A parting shot of Davidson Peak
Davidson Peak 1:24,000 Topo (4.8 mi, 5315 ft, 2211 ft)