Wow, lots of mileage. The views are never ending. Wanna share this one with people I love.
Along with Mummy Mountain. Very enjoyable hike. The high angle traverse under the face was very sketchy. I had left my ice axe and crampons in my truck, thinking I didn't need them. Quite a bit of snow past the Thumb and the conditions well warranted an axe and crampons. Once passed that and into the boulder field it was a pretty dry and straight forward push to the top. On top it was unbelievably windy, to the point where I had to fight to keep up right. All and all, it was an amazing hike and experience.
Still deep snow past The Thumb.
First of several times was a snow trudge during a patch of clear weather, via the South Loop trail. Saw a couple of backcountry skiers, and met a guy who was training for an Arctic cross-country race!
My wife and I have climbed most of the other peaks in the area over the years, but the distance of this hike always kept us away. We finally decided to just go for it. Started at Trail Canyon at 5:40 AM, hit the summit at 12:30, back to the car by 7PM. The descent is absolutely devastating to the knees. However, the feeling of accomplishment is tough to beat. The Around the Bend Friends were great company on this hike and I was inspired by all the extremely fit hikers moving at a much faster pace than we were. I swear we even saw someone summit twice in one day.
Thankful for the "summit hole" that provides shelter from the frigid winds at the top.
Again on 7/12/14, this time solo.
Again on 9/27/14, solo, and including Mummy on the way down.
Again on 7/24/15, with my friend Adam.
Again on 6/19/16, via NW after tagging Lee and coming up Devils Thumb.
Again on 7/7/17, via South Loop and grabbing Griffith on the way down. GPS tracks
Took North Loop up out of Trail Canyon, mostly clear of snow until the traverse by Devil's Thumb. Slogged to the top, descended via South Loop, which still had a lot of snow on north-facing slopes. Long 18-mile day.
Went up Trail Canyon and descended on South Loop. There is some snow in a few of the chutes off the trail but no snow or mud on the trail itself. Overall the trail is in great condition for the summer and so much easier than my summit in April. Was about 110 degrees in Vegas and about 55 on Charleston Peak.
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.
Hiked out of Trail canyon to North Loop and descended via South Loop. No snow on the trail to speak of.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Easy Summer Summit
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.