Tag Archives: Rock Scrambling

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

Ash Canyon to Calico Tanks trail Loop

Ash Canyon to Calico Tanks Trail Loop
Red Rock Canyon National Conservancy
Las Vegas Area

Activity: Rock Scrambling
Date: April 26, 2019
Distance: 5 Miles, 1,325 elevation change, duration 4 hours, rated moderate. (Unless you run into trouble then you can double or triple that)

Red Rock Canyon is one of my favorite places. It is so stunningly beautiful that to me it is almost spiritual. But, it is not to be taken lightly. It is a place that can be most inhospitable with extreme heat, and dangerous drops.

While I cannot see visiting Vegas without hiking Red Rock, I would not recommend this particular loop trail. Also, I am not sure I would call this hike moderate.

It is more of a scramble than a hike, which is part of the fun, but people need to know that upfront. Also during the scramble up Ash Canyon most of it is just moving through the area with little or no defined path. Once you get past the canyon it seems to be almost cross country again. Because of this I was using my GPS Hiking Map App heavily and it was chewing through my IPhone battery like crazy.

Once connected with the trail heading towards Calico Tanks, that trail was maintained and well traveled. The tanks were very cool.

Making my way past that spot was the issue. Once again no recognize trail, scrambling, and the GPS on my map app was sketchy as was the area. I could not find a safe way down and my cell phone battery was now dying. It left me in a bad situation, and I had to double back and since that was sketchy with no GPS, I had to abandon the route and just head for the Red Rock Scenic Loop which tripled the mileage making it an almost 11 hour trip.

What I would recommend is scrambling up Ash Canyon, going cross country to the Calico Tanks Trail, and from there coming back the same way, which of course is a much longer trip probably about 8 miles.

Be sure to click the link below taking you to the ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Face Book Page where you will see some really outstanding pics of this adventure, if I do say so myself. Really a stunning area.

Ash Canyon to Calico Tanks Trail Loop ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Face Book Page Post
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -J.R.R Tolkien

Thanks for taking this look back at one of my favorite places even if it did not end up exactly as I planned, which made it more of an adventure than I was planning, Red Rock is magnificent. If you liked this post then please COMMENT, FOLLOW, LIKE, and SHARE. Checkout the menu above for ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ is in many different locales, (all which need to be FOLLOWED individually), and you might find some other grand adventures. If you would like to support PBTA then why not checkout the SHOP APPAREL for top quality gear.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure