Tag Archives: Peak

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