OverviewThis is the peak at the head of Oak Creek canyon and can be seen as one approaches the canyon looming in the center background. It splits the canyon into two forks, north and south and the traditional route to the summit follows the south fork up canyon before reaching a cutoff roughly beneath the summit and heading up out of the canyon on your right. The climb should take a fit hiker about 5-6 hours. Views from the summit provide a unique perspective of both Mt Wilson and Rainbow Peak. The route described offers an airy incredibly long class 3-4 climb. Where you initially climb out of the canyon to climb to the ridge there is a knobby, exposed easy class 5 pitch. Estimated roundtrip distance is 6.5 miles and elevation gain about 2200'.
Getting ThereFrom Charleston Blvd and the 215 Beltway in the western part of Las Vegas, take Charleston Blvd. (Highway 159) west for about 5 miles until you reach the entrance to Red Rock Canyon NCA. There are a couple of trailheads that can be used for this climb. My preference is a pullout from Hwy 159 about 2.6 miles SW of the entrance to Red Rocks. (.6 mile past the exit from the 13 mile loop road) The other trailhead is reached by driving around the 13 mile loop and taking the Oak Creek trailhead exit which is the one after Pine Creek parking area and involves driving perhaps ½ mile on a gravel road. The hiking distance is about 5 minutes longer from Hwy 159.
Red TapeNational Park entrance fees apply in Red Rock National Conservation area. Hours of operations vary by season. See Red Rock NCA Home Page
CampingThere is a campground located south of SR159 two miles east of the entrance to RRCNCA. There is no developed campground within Red Rock NCA, although backcountry camping with a permit is allowed.
When you reach the canyon, watch for a trail that follows the right hand side above the wash. This will get you up canyon a ¼ mile or so before ending at a junction that heads down into the wash on your left. From this point, note where you start bouldering up the wash for your reference on the return. The bouldering is very enjoyable and meanders back and forth between the left and right sides of the canyon. After about an hour, you will reach a fork where the canyon splits and goes past Oak Creek Peak on either the north or south. Take the left (south) fork and look to start climbing up a large gully south of the prominent East ridge that heads steeply toward the summit.
As you climb up this gully, observe the ridge on your right and climb past the first two sections of wall before traversing right to actually start climbing the ridge. It may be possible to reach the ridge lower, but the exposure on the traverses is extreme and makes it much preferable to bypass the excitement.
When you reach the ridge, it can be followed for nearly 1,500’ vertical with an airy class 4 climb that is unparalleled in Red Rocks.
A more direct approach is to follow this ledge about 20 yards, past a narrow portion, and turn right to climb up a chimney system (the crux of this route) that will top out above the overhang that blocked you initially. There you can return to climbing up the ridge a short distance looking for a shelf on your right that can be safely crossed before taking the next crack system on your left.
The return is best done as a loop either down into the north fork or down to the south fork and back out Oak Creek canyon. If choosing the north fork, head west a hundred yards before starting working you way NW down toward the canyon below. Continue working down and left until you can drop into the canyon safely.(A more aggressive descent can be done by heading southerly directly toward the S fork of Oak Crk crossing a couple of small ridges along the way)