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Charleston Peak Climber's Log

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RedwicEarly Morning Hike  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 1, 2013


Before my recent peakbagging years, I had visited an overlook viewpoint on Charleston Peak with a couple of friends. Later on, as I became more interested in summits and prominence, I found myself always wanting to go back and actually reach the summit. I slept for 2.5 hours in my rental SUV, and then started hiking in darkness as the grueling, grinding hike went up & down the Trail Canyon & North Loop trails. Great views from the summit but I did not stay long. This was the first of five peaks (including four Ultras) I would summit in 3-1/2 days.
Posted Jun 6, 2013 9:21 am

JonodoNoth and South Loop  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 31, 2013


Hiked out of Trail canyon to North Loop and descended via South Loop. No snow on the trail to speak of.
Posted Jun 3, 2013 3:27 pm

youngdocRound Trip  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 11, 2013


We took the round trip approach: we ascended via the Trail Canyon/North Loop route and descended via the South Loop. We flew in from Ohio the night before our hike and were on the trail by 5:20 a.m., knowing that our low-lander lungs would not have time to acclimate and our ascent would be slow. We originally intended to hike the opposite direction, starting at the South Loop trail and existing via the North, but when we arrived at Cathedral Rock before dawn, we were confused by the closed off parking areas and we weren't sure where the trailhead was, so we flipped it around and drove up to the Trail Canyon trailhead instead. From the trailhead to 10,00 feet, the hike was very straightforward. We first spotted snow on either side of the trail just above 10,000 feet, but the trail itself was clear. We were passed by several hikers on their way up, hiking much more quickly than us, but most of them turned back when they reached the heavier snow/slush that lay on the trail above 11,000 feet. There were admittedly a few slippery sections, but never anything that felt truly perilous. We were mainly frustrated by the one-step-forward, half-a-step-backward slipperiness of the snow-covered sections. The last set of switchbacks up the face of the mountain had us resting repeatedly, but we finally reached the summit in exactly 9 hours -- incredibly slow for two otherwise very fit marathoners, humbled by altitude as we often are on these trips. The initial descent via the South Loop had us basically postholing for a good mile or so. The snow persisted well below 10,000 feet on this side of the mountain, but it was mostly off-trail after the first mile. Our entire round trip took 14.5 hours and was comparable in effort to our climb up the Mountaineer's Route and down the Portal Trail of Mount Whitney last summer, mainly due to lack of acclimation. Overall a very beautiful hike that we would probably defer until a little later in the summer if we did it again.
Posted May 12, 2013 11:30 pm

jdmorehouseSnow and mud  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 11, 2013


We went up Trail Canyon to the North Loop, and from there to the summit. Although it was melting quickly, there was still plenty of snow above 11,000'. The biggest problem was the increasing mud from melting snow.
Posted May 12, 2013 5:36 pm

sredfernSuccess via the South Loop  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 12, 2013


After not making it to the summit the prior day via the North Loop I decided to try the South Loop today even though reports had more snow there. I parked below the Cathedral Ledge picnic and parking areas because they are all closed so I started out at the Cathedral Ledge Lower TH and hiked up behind the construction to get to the South Loop TH which is the only way to get there until June when the areas are scheduled to reopen.

I headed up at 6:30am and made great time up through the canyon, the were a few snow slide areas before reaching the ridge line that were deep snow for about 15' each but I never sunk in very deep. I reached the ridge line at 4.75 miles which was considerably more than a trail guide on trails.com listed. The meadows were beautifully green and fast traveling with a little snow but again nothing more than 2-3".

On the back side of the ridge line there was more continuous snow but again not more than 3-4" once I got up onto the back of Charleston Peak the trail had a lot of snow on the high side but walking the lower edge of the trail on the rocks was fine and usually snow free. Made the summit in 4hrs and was the first of the day. It was patchy bare ground and had plenty of places to sit on bare dry rocks for a snack in the quiet sun... No wind at all!

Made a quick detour to visit the remains of the old CIA plane crash... Pretty cool!

Trip back down was fast, 3hrs, but slushy so what snow is up there today won't last for long.

The south loop is definitely more passable right now, though I met a local NV man who said I could have summited from the North Loop if I had diverted up around Devils Thumb to avoid the avalanche chute the day before. Not sure where that was, I will have to look into it.
Posted May 11, 2013 10:52 pm

saleenadamRe: Success via the South Loop
There is a point on the North Loop trail where you can take the Devil's Thumb shortcut (route on this site). I believe that is probably what the person was referring to.
Posted Jun 14, 2013 11:04 pm

sredfernStill snow on North Loop
Date Climbed: May 11, 2013


I decided to hike up part way on Thursday afternoon and camp to get a head start on summiting on Friday. At about 10,400' I got nailed by a storm that brought thunder, lightning, snow and grauple so I descended to where I could camp safely for the night well below the ridge line in a pseudo cave. Friday morning was cold and there was another 4-5" of new powdery snow on the slopes. I did well slogging through 6-8" of snow (up to my knees at times) until I got to the NE face of Charleston and barely 0.6 mi from the summit. Traversing the rock face was not possible, it had a slide on it and with the new snow sitting on top of crusty snow from earlier in the week I decided it was too risky to cross. On my way down the snow was melting amazingly fast under strong sun so it should be much better in the coming week. I may try the South Loop on Saturday.
Posted May 11, 2013 12:42 am

saleenadamDon't do South Loop for a few more weeks  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 20, 2013
Took South Loop trail starting from Cathedral Rock up starting about 6AM. No snow on the trail up until over 9,000 ft. There is a bad section of snow in the avalanche chute near the "Mount Charleston Wilderness" sign. After that the snow clears until somewhere around 9400 ft where the South Loop Trail is completely inundated under snow that is at minimum knee deep. In the morning this snow was rock solid and I was able to follow someones snowshoe footprints straight up to the Meadows (the actual trail is nonexistent currently). Once you reach the Meadows the snow is just patches all the way to Charleston Peak. On the descent the snow had begun melting and that section from the Meadows down was an absolute nightmare each step in snow sunk me over knee deep and each step on dirt was like a slip n slide of mud. I absolutely recommend anyone thinking of taking the South Loop Trail up to not do it for a few more weeks for safety reasons. Trail Canyon/North Loop may be better not sure though.
Posted Apr 21, 2013 9:39 pm

cabLee Canyon via DTS  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 13, 2013


Snow conditions in Lee Canyon in the morning weren't too bad (not too much postholing) but we sunk in up to our waists on the way down in the afternoon. Devils Thumb Shortcut is free of snow in all technical sections. Never used crampons all day. Also climbed Lee Peak and Mummy Mountain.
Posted Apr 15, 2013 2:55 pm

DougHemkenTail-end of Winter  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Mar 30, 2013


After a low-snow Winter and warm Spring, the trail was mostly in great shape. All except the 1/2 mile between the Cathedral Rock overlook and Griffith Pass, which was knee- to crotch- deep post-holing.

Such a grand ridge to hike along!
Posted Apr 2, 2013 12:04 pm

bradhannonSouth/North trail loop  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 9, 2007
Easy Summer Summit
Posted Mar 14, 2013 1:48 pm

jdmorehouseSouth Loop   Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 27, 2012


Up twice last summer. Formerly a bicycle road racer, injuries had me side lined, so my girl friend said "let's take a hike!" Now over 60 peaks later (as of March, 2013) I'm climbing every weekend. She created a monster.
Posted Mar 11, 2013 1:30 pm

tcingrumHigh desert  Sucess!


Nice break from the heat below
Posted Sep 28, 2012 11:34 pm

kevinsaCharleston Peak  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 22, 2012


Had a day to kill in Vegas, so I got the heck out of that s###hole and hiked up the tallest mountain I could find.
Posted Sep 15, 2012 6:05 pm

K9H2OBearerTrail Canyon/North Loop  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 6, 2012


Up and back from Trail Canyon and North Loop this time. With Abby, wonder hiking dog, who scored jerky from a kind lady on top. 7:10 am to 4:00 pm car to car, with some leisurely time on top (no wind!). Last year (August 5, 2011) came and went from South Loop; August 29, 2009, did the loop up the north and down the south. The exposure on the north gives me pause, I can't imagine doing it in snow. But the views are stupendous and the bristlecones awesome. Much less traffic than south loop. The new parking lot and bathroom at Trail Canyon are dandy :-)
Posted Jul 7, 2012 12:21 pm

PhenomenalWomanPushing the Limits  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 14, 2012


This was my first, real strenuous solo summit. Construction at the picnic area had me starting at the "wrong" trailhead and I ended up hiking Cathedral Rock by accident...but the extra 3.5 miles and 1000 ft of elevation didn't stop me from heading up Charleston, too. :) Beautiful and serene hike to the summit, grueling and draining hike down left me dehydrated and cursing. Overall, worth every minute! :)
Posted Jul 7, 2012 2:41 am

mrchad9South Side  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 7, 2012


Easy long hike on the south trail, with Griffith Peak on the return. Couldn't be bothered to do the north loop due to a flight out from Vegas that evening, but ended up having time. Better to enjoy the fountains and atrium at the Bellagio for an hour or so.
Posted Jun 21, 2012 1:20 pm

brucegSouth Loop  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 27, 2012


2011 too much snow - on the ground and new snow overnight. 2012 almost no snow. Camped on the ridge near Griffith Saddle, went to the top the next morning. Cool, windy, cloudy. Climbed with Todd
Posted Jun 15, 2012 6:03 pm

jonnollSouth/North Loop  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 12, 2012
Went up the south loop trail and stopped at Griffith Peak on the way to Charleston Peak. After Charleston Peak I took the north loop trail and hiked up Mummy Mountain before taking the canyon trail back. Both trails had manageable amounts of snow.
Posted May 13, 2012 10:07 am

jtellisLong, sunny, snowy hike  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Oct 13, 2011


Hiked about a week after a big snowstorm in the Spring Mountains -- atypical for this area so early in the fall. Went up the S. Loop trail, which was covered from bottom to top in slick, hard snow. The meadows were clear. Very sunny on top, very little wind. Descended N. Loop which, for the first half, was also covered in snow. Not many people out this time of year so I had to stomp my feet into the snow in the switchbacks near the summit to make sure I didn't slide down the mountain. Very strenuous and long day, and I got back to my car at S. Loop trailhead as it was getting dark.
Posted Oct 14, 2011 6:21 pm

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