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Charleston or not...

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Charleston or not...

Postby Tonka » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:55 pm

I will be meeting my girl friend in Vegas this Friday and I've set aside Monday to get out and do something (solo). I was planing on Mount Charleston. The round trip milage is pretty high but in reading the SP page and the summit logs I get a lot of conflicting info. People are posting round trip times of like 6 hours and others seem to take 6 days. I assume it's a well traveled trail and a class one hike the whole way which can make for a good pace. I don't mind an 8 - 10 hour day but I did Longs last weekend and I don't need a death march either.
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Re: Charleston or not...

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:22 pm

Tonka wrote:I will be meeting my girl friend in Vegas this Friday and I've set aside Monday to get out and do something (solo). I was planing on Mount Charleston. The round trip milage is pretty high but in reading the SP page and the summit logs I get a lot of conflicting info. People are posting round trip times of like 6 hours and others seem to take 6 days. I assume it's a well traveled trail and a class one hike the whole way which can make for a good pace. I don't mind an 8 - 10 hour day but I did Longs last weekend and I don't need a death march either.


A lot of people partly run the route, at least on the way down. The accumulated gain by the trail is probably 1000' greater than net gain, as one goes up and down a bit.

For most folks, I'd use the old rule: for ascent, allow 1 hr per 1000' gain, plus 1/3 hour per mile. For SLT, since there are little bumps adding to the gain, that would be about 4.5 hours + 3 hours = 7.5 for a "leisurely" ascent. The trip down will take less time, obviously.

I'm sure there is a bit of bragging in the SP logs, so I'll add my own. I've made it up in a tad over 3 hours, but mostly by bushwhack routes. I know trail runners who carry little and make the ascent in less than 2 hours.

We're in the afternoon-rain season, so get an early start. Doing a loop (up NLT, down SLT) is reasonable if you don't mind walking back on roads to your car.
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Awesome hike!

Postby bcborder » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:30 pm

I hiked Charleston via the South Loop last July 31. I calculated 16.6 miles total distance with 5300' elevation gain on my altitude watch. I took me 9:30 at a medium pace. Easier hike than the Keyhole on Longs. It's a full day though unless you're a trail runner.

The first 4 miles up to the ridge are great so if you're not up for the whole 16 you can turn left at the ridge, bag Griffith Peak instead and turn it into a 9 mile day. I don't know the Vegas area real well but I will definitely head back to Charleston next time I've in Vegas and try it from the north side.
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Postby Day Hiker » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:08 pm

Here are some rough numbers I have from GPS tracks:

South Loop: 8.2-8.3 miles, about 4100 ft net gain, 4500 ft total gain.

North Loop (via TC trailhead): 8.3-8.4 miles, about 4200 ft net gain, 4400 ft total gain.

An ascent time of 4-5 hours is a reasonable estimate for most of the bell curve. I carried up DayHikerJr when he was 10 months old, and it still took us under 6 hours, including diaper changes and a couple of long breaks, and I was certainly not in the best of shape. Our total combined weight, including pack, was 297 pounds.

A descent time of 3-3.5 hours is also a reasonable estimate for most.
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Postby jmatthys » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:47 pm

Don't sweat it Tonka, as Dayhiker and Moapa have said, you'll be up in 5 or 6 and down in 3 or 4, add it all up and you'll be within your 8 - 10hr window. Be prepared for wind and cool temps above treeline...and most of all have fun.
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Postby Tonka » Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:56 pm

Thanks all. You've confirmed what I kinda was thinking. Maybe I will try and tag both if I get rolling. I know we will be out on Sunday night so I won't be getting a 3 a.m. start unless I'm still up :shock:
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:25 pm

Tonka wrote:Thanks all. You've confirmed what I kinda was thinking. Maybe I will try and tag both if I get rolling. I know we will be out on Sunday night so I won't be getting a 3 a.m. start unless I'm still up :shock:


If it is the usual Vegas late night, drink a lot of water before you start in the morn. No reliable water on the trail.

Current forecast is for good weather on the mountain this weekend.
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Postby splattski » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:32 pm

Tonka, you get around! We talked earlier this year about Galena Peak.

Here's my TR for the Griffith/Charleston/Mummy loop. I didn't run, but I walked about as fast as I could most of the way.
http://www.splattski.com/2009/charleston/index.html

For what it's worth, I did it the "wrong" direction. But I wasn't sure on the time, so chose to start on the south end to make sure I at least got up Charleston.
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Postby Tonka » Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:31 pm

splattski wrote:Tonka, you get around! We talked earlier this year about Galena Peak.

Here's my TR for the Griffith/Charleston/Mummy loop. I didn't run, but I walked about as fast as I could most of the way.
http://www.splattski.com/2009/charleston/index.html

For what it's worth, I did it the "wrong" direction. But I wasn't sure on the time, so chose to start on the south end to make sure I at least got up Charleston.


From you TR:
•Summits:
?Griffith Peak, 11,056'
?Mount Charleston, 11918'
?Mummy Mountain, 11528'
•Car-to-car: 20 miles, 7600' gain, 7.75 hours


I'm not slow but I don't think I can keep up with that pace :shock:

When you're living in MN you need to get around if you like the Mountains. I have the benefit of plenty of vacation and my girlfriend travels a lot so I can tag along whenever she is near something I want to do. Her platinum status, Sky club membership and free rooms make it a little easier 8)
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:01 am

splattski wrote:Tonka, you get around! We talked earlier this year about Galena Peak.

Here's my TR for the Griffith/Charleston/Mummy loop. I didn't run, but I walked about as fast as I could most of the way.
http://www.splattski.com/2009/charleston/index.html

For what it's worth, I did it the "wrong" direction. But I wasn't sure on the time, so chose to start on the south end to make sure I at least got up Charleston.


The ridge run to Mummy (hinted in the TR) is pretty good; class 2, and saves about 500' of elevation gain. There is also a direct route between Charleston and Devil's Thumb, which makes a fast descent, but requires tricky navigation over the cliffs (some say class 4).

But for the OP: the whole NLT-SLT loop can be kept entirely class 1 by staying on the trail, and can be done in good athletic shoes with a lot of pattern on the tread. The many switchbacks on the NLT give beautiful scenery; they become annoying after one has repeated the trail many times, but are worth following on the first trip.

Coming from MN, your biggest problem may be the elevation. This may sound stupid, but don't forget to breathe hard. Don't try to set records. This is easier than the Keyhole route; but sometimes the good trail is deceptive and inclines people to start out too quickly.
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Postby Tonka » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:33 am

Coming from MN, your biggest problem may be the elevation. This may sound stupid, but don't forget to breathe hard. Don't try to set records. This is easier than the Keyhole route; but sometimes the good trail is deceptive and inclines people to start out too quickly.


I did the Loft route on Longs with the Keyhole as the decent and I've been climbing in CO two of the last three weeks so I don't think the altitude will be a problem. I do hear ya on the starting slow though. Something I totaly agree with. I don't mind the class 2 and 3 stuff but solo I would shy away from anything higher than that.

Thanks again for the beta. I like the desert SW. It has a feel all it's own.
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Postby Tonka » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:47 am

What about the Cockscomb ridge down from Mummy? Looking at Google Earth and going up the SLT and around the whole ridge it would seem this is an option. Not sure if you could stay on the ridge but there seems to be options down. Not sure about the amount of bushwacking.
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:01 am

Tonka wrote:What about the Cockscomb ridge down from Mummy? Looking at Google Earth and going up the SLT and around the whole ridge it would seem this is an option. Not sure if you could stay on the ridge but there seems to be options down. Not sure about the amount of bushwacking.


If you are going DOWN (S from the top of Trail Canyon), Cockscomb ridge is class 3 on the east side of the ridge, with some messy loose rock. The exit to the SE is class 2, if you find the right cut in the cliffs. The exit to the SW is bad class 3, with big loose talus blocks.

http://hwstock.org/ccaa/
http://hwstock.org/fccc8/

Cockscomb Ridge is not a way to save time.

Few people actually go to Charleston from the TRUE beginning of the NLT. Most start up Trail Canyon out of Kyle Canyon, head N and intersect the NLT, south of Mummy. The Trail Canyon trail is W of the Cockscomb Ridge, and usually has better parking than the SLT trailhead.
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Postby Day Hiker » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:07 am

MoapaPk wrote:Few people actually go to Charleston from the TRUE beginning of the NLT. Most start up Trail Canyon out of Kyle Canyon, head N and intersect the NLT, south of Mummy.

Yeah, starting at the North Loop trailhead adds almost 3 miles each way while providing no real advantage over Trail Canyon, other than more exercise, I guess. My stats for that way are 11.1 miles and 4500 feet total gain. Net gain starts to become meaningless with all the ups and downs.


MoapaPk wrote:The Trail Canyon trail is W of the Cockscomb Ridge, and usually has better parking than the SLT trailhead.

They want 8 bucks to park up at SLT now, which is past the toll booth for the picnic area. This fee might not be so bad for those actually using the picnic area, but it's ridiculous for those just wanting to park at a trailhead. So you have to either park at the lodge and walk up the extra (boring) distance or park at Cathedral Rock trailhead (not possible late-morning on weekends) and take the shortcut trail which starts near the dumpster.
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