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.
Sheep Peak seen from Las Vegas
Looking back at our start. Mummy Mountain in the background (mouse over for a close-up).
Arriving at the usual start point
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
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)