This is a challenging limestone peak located in the Red Rock NCA near the Willow Springs area. After leaving the parking area at the end of the pavement and starting up the Rocky Gap road for about a mile, you head cross country through the Rainbow Wilderness gaining about 3,800’ on your way to the highest point of Snoopy.
This is a serious climb that will test your route finding, climbing (class 3) and sharp object avoidance skills. There were only two other people who had signed the summit register since 2007, when I was on the summit November 20, 2009. This is a route that Ed Forkos, Richard N and I first tried about 7 years ago, but we didn’t go all the way to the highest summit. The climb took close to 7 hours from Willow Springs parking area and is an estimated 7 or 8 miles roundtrip.
In Las Vegas, from Charleston Blvd and the 215 Beltway in the western part of town, take Charleston Blvd. (Highway 159) west for about 5 miles until you reach the entrance to Red Rock Canyon NCA. Once inside the park, follow the 13 mile loop road for about 7 miles to the Willow Springs trailhead parking area. You should allow about 30 minutes driving time from the strip to the entrance station.
National Park entrance fees apply in Red Rock National Conservation area. Hours of operations vary by season. See Red Rock NCA Home Page
There 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.
I parked at the end of the pavement near the Willow Springs picnic area. If you have a high clearance vehicle, you could drive partway up the Rocky Gap road to the start of the off road portion of the climb where there is a small parking spot with GPS coordinates of N 36 10’ 01.1” W 115 30’ 37.3”
Start of offtrail
From this point which is less than a mile from the end of the pavement, head right, up a use path to gain the ridge top and turn left toward the mountain.
Route overview (pun intended)
Follow the series of ridges in a westerly direction as you gain about 1,700’ aiming for the right hand lower end of a long ridge that ascends southerly toward the lower knob of Snoopy. You can skirt several cliffs on their left side as you approach the main band of cliffs that you need to get on top of. There appears to only be one reasonable break in this cliff band and it is located near the lower right hand end. Someone has placed an ax handle and a piece of cloth on a tree about 50 feet south of the best section for climbing to the top of said cliffs.
Ax Handle near break in cliffs
Once you attain the top of the cliff band,
Top of ridge
you can scramble up along the top edge of this ridge for about ½ mile to the first (lowest) knob of Snoopy. When the exposure is too severe on the ridge, you can drop a few feet down on your right as you are ascending. (On your left is a sheer drop) As you approach the first knob, head up to the saddle between it and the main mountain and then climb to your right around several cliff bands. The objective is to scramble up to the final summit block cliffs which do not look climbable.
As you reach these summit block cliffs, start down and around them on the left side staying close to their base. There is a gully of white rock near the top that you will need to descend while looking for an
White rock gully
opportunity to traverse to a ledge made up of black limestone beneath the cliff face. You will need to descend about 300’ elevation down along the cliff face looking for your first opportunity to cut up to your right to reach the ridge top.
I placed a cairn at that point and highly recommend climbing up at this point because if you continue descending, you will end up in thick, almost impenetrable, brush in addition to having to regain even more elevation loss.
When you have attained the top of this cliff band, it is an easy climb up to the first summit. This summit has great views down the route you have traveled, but there are two more summits to go.
View from SE
The next summit is about 7,712’ and involves some easy 3rd class climbing near the top. The final summit is about .4 mile further and involves dropping about 140’ as you work your way across before climbing more easy 3rd class.
There are several options for your return trip, but I suggest retracing your route. Another option is to head back to a saddle near where you climbed up onto the final summit ridge. From that saddle, you can fight your way down a canyon that is very brushy and contains a couple of difficult falls along the way. Both of these falls are best passed on your right as you head down and will test your ability to locate a safe descent. The lower one is very interesting as the entire very steep hillside along the falls is damp and muddy. When you reach the base of this lower falls there is a nice stream flowing from springs which you will follow until you reach the road. For those who enjoy bush whacking in the desert, this route can be used to climb Snoopy, but I wouldn’t suggest it with the current thickness of brush.
When to climb
Spring and Fall are the peak seasons as it becomes extremely hot in the summer. Winter can be an excellent time as well unless snow and ice accumulate from winter storms making the scrambling too hazardous. This is most likely to occur in January and February.
MoapaPk - Nov 24, 2009 1:25 pm - Voted 10/1014 or 7 miles RT?
The loop I took came out to be 6.8 miles RT. I parked about 0.3 miles from Willow Springs pavement.
jimegan - Nov 30, 2009 10:03 pm - Hasn't votedRe: 14 or 7 miles RT?
Looking at your topo, I agree that 7 miles RT looks about right...it only felt like 14 (probably due to all the course changes to avoid cactus and agave!)