Sheep Peak
Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada
November 1, 2009

I hadn't climbed any peaks north of Las Vegas so on Shin's invitation, I joined him and his two friends, John and Tim, to bag Sheep Peak, the third highest peak in the Sheep Mountains.

John drove his SUV several kilometres up 4x4 roads and parked by a corral. After starting off we realized we had driven up the wrong fork and parked at the wrong trailhead. Instead of going back, we pushed on to the correct trailhead, adding 1.2 km to the approach and 130 m of elevation gain.

I had no knowledge of the route and left the routefinding to John and Shin. There was no trail. We covered ground mostly by hiking, although at times we were forced to do a little bushwhacking or scrambling.

We made slow progress. Although Tim and John enjoy hiking neither get out often because they have families. Nor did it help that it was hotter than we expected. However, after making our way up and over a series of ridges we arrived on top of Sheep Peak.

We had started shortly after sunrise but the ascent had taken time and now the return trip ate up the rest of the daylight. We arrived back at the SUV at dusk just when the bats began flying about.

GPX Track


Sheep Peak seen from Las Vegas


Looking back at our start. Mummy Mountain in the background (mouse over for a close-up).


Starting off


Arriving at the usual start point


Hedgehog cactus


After climbing a minor ridge, we made for the rock outcroppings above


There was some uncertainty as to the best way to take, but it turned out well


Negotiating the rocky ridge


John and Shin


I have no idea where we're going and I followed along


Shin stopped to look for our next move


After dropping down the ridge behind, we ascended another one


This ridge climbs for quite a ways


Eventually we saw the summit (centre peak) but it's still some distance away


Tim crests another ridge


Looking back at the last ridge: we tackled it from different directions. Shin came over the far right
end (not in view). Tim and I came up and over the middle. John went around left to try to avoid
climbing. He's somewhere in the middle of the photo (mouse over).


After going under an arch I looked back at Tim


The summit


It was a hot day and we were glad to cool and augment our water supply with snow


Tim, me, John and Shin on the summit


Nearby Hayford Peak is the highest in the area


The long ridge is Gass Peak


Coming down from the summit


Heading back we came to a viewpoint


Jerusalem crickets get as large as 2.7 inches but this one was only about 1.5


Upside down tree


Heading along the last ridge back


Joshua trees on the lower slopes


We made it back before nightfall


Black Hills and Sheep Peak 1:24,000 Topo (8.3 mi, 9744 ft, 4390 ft)


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