Tag Archives: Peak Bagging

If It DOESN’T Hurt It ISN’T Worth It

FRENCHMAN MOUNTAIN

LAS VEGAS

Activity: Peak Bagging, Trail Blazing, Scrambling

Distance 3.6 miles, altitude 4,052 Feet, Prominence 1,972 Feet, 2,139 Feet elevation gain, 7.5 hour duration, rated Difficult

Date: November 15, 2019

The finale of our “If It Doesn’t Hurt It Isn’t Worth It – 3 Peaks in 3 Days Las Vegas Tour was called Frenchman.  It was the shortest in both length and elevation, but it was probably the toughest. (The other two Peaks were: Arrow Canyon Range High Point and Griffith Peak.)

Frenchman Mountain is the highest peak that you see in the area of the Las Vegas Basin.  The nice, cute, young lady that is the Entertainment Director at my Mom’s Senior Luxury Apartments, who likes to hike, (We hiked together once, but she ran all the way down, turns out she is a trail runner, and I was worried because I didn’t know that she was going to do that, and I was afraid that she might have taken a wrong trail… so I hiked with her only once, lol), said she heard of Frenchman and that it was ”straight up”.  Frenchman Mountain Trail is famous in the Vegas area for being Bad Ass, and indeed it was crazy steep because I could see the road from the summit, but we did not take the road.   Oh no… we went straight up the side of the mountain. We were scrambling on Class 2 rock, also known as bouldering, most of the way. (The classification for hiking a steep incline where you might need to use your hands). That turned into some actually rock climbing, you know like three points of contact with the rock as you looked for your next hand hold.  This is known as Class 3 climbing, (Climbing a steep incline with modest exposure where you are using your hands, but not necessarily needing a rope, a short fall is possible.) We were never far off the ground, but you certainly would not want to fall just the same.  My Peak Bagging Buddy, Mountaineer Keith Christensen was pushing my comfort zone.  

I wrecked my knee playing racketball, and it has bothered me for the past 18 months. I Injured it playing against the 4 time and current Senior Nevada Olympic Champion, whom recently got the Silver Medal in the Senior Olympics. The Champ was an Air Force Fighter Pilot Squadron Leader and also flew the U2. In other words he is a National Treasure, and he may no longer be young and nimble, but regardless he is a very special man and to compete I had to throw everything I had at him including the kitchen sink. My only chance was being younger, more agile and faster than he. Throwing said sink at him cost me my knee.

I was feeling that knee problem at the summit of Frenchman Mountain, plus I was worried that climbing down would be worse than going up.  So I was contemplating telling my Peak Bagging Buddy, you can climb down the rock face and boulders I am taking the road and you can drive a few miles to that trailhead.  But instead I thought to myself what the heck.  I am here to do this with my friend so screw it, let’s do this thing!  

Oh, did I mention on the summit was a tower that was in a razor wire fenced in area that just so happen had the last 10’ that we, as Peak Baggers, needed?  And in gaining those last 10 feet we not only had to trespass, but hang our ass out over a drop that was hundreds of feet as we eased around the fence?  

As one might expect the views were tremendous of Las Vegas, the Strip, and in the other direction lonely desert all the way out to Lake Mead and Arizona.

While we climbed down the mountain it turns out that the Thunderbirds, taking off from nearby Nellis Air Force Base, were preparing for tomorrows Air Show over Vegas so that was an added treat watching them tear a hole in the sky from above them.

As it turned out the climb was not as bad going down as I thought because from above you could see the hand holds better.  So all in all it was a cool experience, and I became a Peak Bagger.  

Here is a shot of Frenchman Mt Trail. Famous for being a Bad Ass hike, but did we take the trail? Oh no… we went straight up the side of the frick’n mountain.
This is the highest spot on Frenchman’s Mountain. But I can only show my boots, because I wouldn’t want to incriminate myself with visual proof of exactly where that might be behind the razor wire.
Pizza delivery on the top of a mountain?! Lol, that is Keith’s left over dinner. We needed all the carbs we could get after the scramble up the mountainside.
“If you obey all the rules, you missed all the fun.” – Katherine Hepburn

3 Peaks in 3 Days, the If It Doesn’t Hurt It’s Not Worth It Las Vegas Tour. Thanks for joining me and Mountaineer Keith Christensen as for a few days of Peak Bagging we found a piece of that balance between the mundane existence of every day life and the Wild Abandonment of Adventure on the Top of a Mountain. It’s called Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Las Vegas Hiking. There is always more to come so stay tuned: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW AND SHARE. Help support PBTA, buy a hat or a shirt. They are the best and they will add to your adventure see SHOP APPAREL . Checkout the menu because PBTA is always on the move, plenty of places in the West to experience. They are all separate sites and each needs to be followed Independently.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Griffith Peak

SPRING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL RECREATION AREA

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

Date: November 14, 2019

Altitude: 11,066 Feet, distance: 8.7 miles, 3,451 foot elevation change, 7 hours duration, rated: Hard

The hike to the summit of Griffith Peak is a workout right out of the box. There is plenty to look at along the trail: jagged ominous rock cliffs, dramatic views of forest, the surrounding lofty ridge line provides a striking backdrop, there is a cave to wonder about, left over ice which was surprising to me at this time of year, and the sound of rushing water in the distance as it makes it’s way down the canyon, and on the rather sparse summit were gnarled trees standing in defiance against the rugged climate.

Griffith Peak is about an hour from Las Vegas, but there is a world of difference as far as climate and ecosystem. It is about as different as an island is in the ocean. Think of it as an island smack dab in the middle of the desert, it can be referred to as a “Sky Island”. Griffith Peak is near Mount Charleston, which is the mountain that you see from Las Vegas with the snow on it most of the year. This diversity is one thing that makes the Las Vegas Area such a great place for outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, mountain biking and backcountry camping. Much of the year you have great outdoor activities at Red Rock, Lake Meade, Valley of Fire and other fantastic spots and when the weather turns to scorching then head for the mountains of the Mount Charleston area.

The day before my Peak Bagging Buddy, Keith Christensen, and I climbed Arrow Canyon Range High Point. This was day two of a three day Peak Bagging Adventure, and it was a very different type of hike. This one was much higher, with more distance, and at the top- down right chilly especially compared with the desert down below, which was pretty warm even in mid November. I will say that this hike had nice trails with switch backs, and beautiful scenery. It was not the trail blazing with loose rock underfoot like we experienced the day before, so it didn’t seem as difficult in comparison. However, there was no getting around that it was a long ways and a lot of altitude. The time went quickly as we talked a mile a minute all the way up and all the way down. Well, except when my mountaineer friend, fearless as he is, would stand right on an exposed cliff with a long drop and gaze out over the landscape with his toes practically hanging over the edge. “I am not going to have a conversation with you until you step back from the ledge.”

One rather peculiar thing I will mention was although I could certainly feel the altitude it did not bother me as much as when I climbed Mount San Jacinto. When we spoke about this on the summit Keith surprised me by enlightening me that Griffith Peak, the third highest peak in Southern Nevada, is a little higher, (and thus became the highest peak I have climbed). I am not sure why I did not feel the altitude as much. Could it be because we had summited another peak the day before and thus I was becoming climatized or maybe it was just the good company and the constant jabbering had taken my mind off of any struggle?

Closing in on the summit.
“There is something almost primal about standing atop a tall mountain, as if you have satisfied some deep and ancient part of human nature which drives us to explore our world and to reach new heights.” -Wash

Another day, another peak, you just gotta luv it! Thanks for joining my Peak Bagging Buddy Keith Christensen and I as we were “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ on Griffith Peak. We have yet another peak to take on- all part of our Peak Bagging 3 Day Adventure as we restore some balance in our lives, just what PBTA is all about. Don’t miss the next exciting episode, and you won’t if you just FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE. Got Gear? See SHOP APPAREL . Want other places to explore? See the menu above for the many locations PBTA travels to, each is a separate site and thus needs to be followed independently. If these past couple posts have PEAKED your interested checkout the link in the menu above for my PEAK BAGGING accomplishments, and if you really want to be impressed than look on that site for my “Buddies” and click on Keith Christensen.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Peak Bagging Arrow Canyon

Near Las Vegas, lonely inhospitable mountain peak out in the middle of the frick’n desert…

Activity: Peak Bagging, Trail Blazing,

Date: November 13, 2019

Distance: 6.5 miles, altitude: 5,226 feet, Prominence: 2,426 feet, 7 hour duration, rated Difficult

“If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not worth it.” – Keith Christensen, Mountaineer. Arrow Canyon Range High Point is for Peak Baggers, its hard, its suppose to be, thats the point.

In Las Vegas I met up with a friend Keith Christensen. He is a multi-titlest North American Hobie 16 Champion and Alter Cup Champion.  Most of my life I have been racing sailboats mostly small fast catamarans, Hobie Cats, but also Nacras, A-Cats, and Prindles. I have also done some big boat racing. I have numerous sailing championships two of which are National Titles, and I love sailing!  Keith and I have known each other via sailing for a long time.

Keith and I teamed up for my last Sailing World Championship, now its been like 7 years ago.  He came in as an alternate at the last minute when another friend had to drop out just prior to the event start, due to an previously unknown heart ailment.  Keith had not been sailing in years, as his passion had turned to Peak Bagging, and despite just jumping on the boat we still made the event finals.  He races dirt bikes, and 10 Speeds, still… Keith is a little younger than I am, and is quite passionate about the things that he does even though he has a very California kick back attitude. Among these many facets, Keith Christensen is also a mountaineer, and is a self proclaimed Peak Bagger.

What is a Peak Bagger you might ask? Well, I suppose that is a climber an outdoorsman who is out for a challenge, exercise, to be active, maybe to be in the Wilderness, to take in nature and the scenery, the sport of it all, could be to test his or her metal. I would ponder that it is all or at least a combination of many of those things and more, but according to Peakbagger.com, “He climbs a peak to get to the summit, because it is there, because it needs to be climbed.“ The “Because it is there” expression was coined from a quote by the famous Mount Everest Explorer George Mallory while speaking to a New York Times reporter in 1923.

I was soon to discover just what a Peak Bagger Keith Christensen is.  I knew he climbed peaks and when he sent me his resume ahead of time, I fully expected to see like 15 peaks or something, which would have been impressive, but no… Hundreds!  So, I was quite apprehensive about trying to bag peaks with him.  I am an adventurer, but going more for the nature aspect of it and the scenery, although I will say the harder it is, the more I respect it, and the more that it means.  I am intrigued by peaks, but it is not my main thing.  

So, Keith drove from Long Beach, California to hike with me in Vegas.  We did three peaks in three days.  Peaks he needed to add to his collection.  The first, Arrow Canyon Range High Point, was a lonely peak out in the desert about an hour or so from Las Vegas.  The last portion of our drive was on dirt roads for 30 minutes to finally arrive at the spot.  

This was not a fun hike, nor a scenic hike, well except for from the top there was a nice views in every direction of desert and far away mountains.  This was a hike that was trail blazing, meaning no trail.  Loose rock… three steps forward one step sliding back.  The going was tough, the rock was sharp, the brush had thorns, everything wanted to reach out and bite you.

I was fine going up. I stayed up with him, made the summit and there was a register.  Usually when I see registers they are multiple booklets and mostly full with no place left to sign, dozens and dozens of entries from just that month.  Well, this place had 2/year, and they were all people Keith knew, Peak Baggers.  You don’t come to this place unless you are a Peak Bagger. It is pretty much a “Because it is there” type of accomplishment. The way down I found more difficult.  Even the large rocks that you stepped on adjusted with each step.  Keith was much quicker than I, as I concentrated painstakingly on each and every step.

Up we go… not the most difficult section, but representative of our hike.
From the Top
Summit
Lonely Peak somewhere out in the desert.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keith and I want to thank you for joining us while we were Pursuing Balance Through Adventure – Las Vegas Area Hiking and Peak Bagging a lonely, desolate, desert peak in the middle of no where. Not for the faint of heart, and it wasn’t supposed to be, after all it’s an adventure and the best way to gain that balance in life so sought after. This is day one of a three day Peak Bagging Adventure with Mountaineer Keith Christensen don’t miss the next step, because one missed step could send you down a steep ravine in this business. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. Also checkout SHOP APPAREL for adventure hats, shirts, beanies and more. The menu above will send you to more PBTA locations for your adventure pleasure. Each one is independent and thus needs to be Followed independently.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure