Climbed up the Gunsight route on my birthday. Super loose in spots (I have been here twice and twice I have had super huge blocks come loose under my feet,) but also a lot of fun, especially in the more solid spots. About 1500 feet of elevation gain in a short distance. Did it in 2 hours car-to-car. Great way to spend a birthday!
Snow Benchmark is the highpoint of the Red Mountain Wilderness area and has 870' of prominence. I started at the Red Mountain Trailhead off of Highway 18. From there I followed the trail all the way to where it crested over a ridge and dropped down a little ways to the plateau. From this point there are amazing views down into Snow Canyon if you venture a few feet off of the trail. With Snow Benchmark's coordinates locked into to my GPS I went cross country a little less than a mile to the summit. It is obvious what the highpoint is and the XC travel is pretty easy, with some moderate cactus dodging.
Took the route up the ridge from the Ivins Trailhead. It was a blast! Lots of fun scrambling. It took a lot less time to get on top than I thought it would--maybe 30 minutes--and then I wandered around the top of the plateau for a while. I searched for the Gunsight route to make a loop of it, but I wasn't certain about any of the routes I looked at, so I ended up working my way back down the same route I came up.
I will DEFINITELY come do this one again!
Take them up Red Mountain from the Ivins trail head. Then try to make a loop down the Gunsight trail and get lost and not be able to find them and almost cliff out. Then tell them they have to retrace their steps, climb and scramble up third class loose red rock and then descent straight down a difficult to decipher trail full of loose rock with some down climbing. I tried my best, but somehow the East Coast gal survived. I can't wait to take her back and try Red Mountain from the Gunsight trail. There is still hope to get rid of her yet. I loved this mountain by the way!
Why you would take a New Yorker with minimal scrambling experience up this trail with you is beyond me. I think I cried for SAR at least 7 times. Also, there were bees. PLURAL. I was terrified. Plus or minus the whole time. Don't talk to me about cliffing out. That's not okay. Next time (?) maybe we won't start at the Ivins Trailhead. The Red Mountain Trailhead looks like it would be way kinder to me.
This was the actual worst.