Charleston Peak via South Loop
(STONERS DREAM HIKE!!!!)

15 Jul 2003 - by Stephen Realo

ALRIGHT, IVE GOT A PRETTY GOOD ADVENTURE FOR YOUR GUYS TO TRY. FIRST GO TO SPORTS AUTHORITY AND BUY 2 LITHIUM ION FLASHLIGHTS AND AN EXTRA SET OF BATTERIES. ALSO MAKE SURE YOU BRING SOMETHING TO EAT, DRINK, AND PERHAPS A SWEATSHIRT. NOW IM NOT TALKING ABOUT ANY ORDINARY DAY HIKE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.. IM TALKING ABOUT A NIGHTTIME ADVENTURE THRU THE WILDERNESS. ME AND MY BEST FRIEND JEFF(17) AND IM 16, DECIDED TO LEAVE FOR MT CHARELSTON ONE AFTERNOON AND HIKE THRU THE NIGHT TO THE PEAK OF MT. CHARLESTON(11,998) WE LEFT AROUND 7:00 ABOUT 30 MIN BEFORE THE SUN STARTED TO GO BEHIND THE MOUNTAINS. THE FIRST 2 MILES OF THE TRAIL ARE QUITE STRENUOUS. IT STARTS OUT PRETTY EASY AND THEN IT STARTS TO GET HARD AFTER THE 1ST 1/2 MILE. THATS OK THO, WE JUST TOOK OUT OUR PIPE TO SMOKE SOME OF THE PRECIOUS MARY JANE, AND THEN PROCEEDED THROUGH THE STRENUOUSNESS.

AFTER ABOUT TRAVELING ALMOST 2 MILES THE SUN WAS GONE AND IT WAS ALMOST PITCH BLACK. WE WENT AS LONG AS WE COULD WITHOUT USING THE FLASHLIGHTS BUT IT BECAME TOO DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW THE TRAIL SO WE WERE FORCED TO USE THEM. WE HAD A TOTAL OF 4 FLASHLIGHT IN CASE WE HAD PROBLEMS WITH SOME. THERE ARE PROBABLY 50-60 SWITCHBACKS AFTER YOU ARE DONE GOING THROUGH THE ECHO CLIFFS AREA AND THE SITE OF AN OLD AVALANCHE. OUR FLASHLIGHTS LIT UP THE NIGHT PERFECTLY AND WE COULD SEE EVERYTHING AROUND US FOR ABOUT 50 FEET OR AS FAR AS THE FLASHLIGHT WOULD SHINE MAYBE EVEN MORE THAN THAT. AFTER GOING THRU THE TEDIOUS SWITCHBACKS WE MADE IT TO THE HIGH ALPINE MEADOW. THIS IS A WONDERFUL TREAT AFTER HIKING ABOUT 4 MILES OF ID SAY SOME PRETTY DAMN STRENUOUS TRAIL. YOU CAN EITHER GO LEFT TO GRIFFITH PEAK WHICH LOOKS LIKE THE CHARLESTON PEAK BUT IT ISNT, MANY PEOPLE MISTAKE IT TO BE. GRIFFITH PEAK ISNT "HAIRLESS" BECAUSE IT HAS SOME SCRAGGLY TREES GROWING ON IT. THE MEADOWS, WHICH ARE TO THE RIGHT, ARE NICE AND FLAT. VERY EASY 3 1/2 MILES . BY THE TIME WE MADE IT TO THE SIGN WHICH SAID GRIFFITHS PEAK LEFT AND MEADOWS RIGHT IT WAS ABOUT 9 PM.

AND IT WAS GETTING PRETTY CHILLY. THE MEADOWS ARE AT ABOUT AN ELEVATION OF 10000 FT. ID SAY IT WAS ABOUT 50 DEGREES AND THAT WAS COLD CONSIDERING WE WERE USED TO IT BEING 110 DOWN IN THE CITY. WE WERE VERY UNEQUIPPED FOR THE COLD. I WAS WEARING SHORTS AND A SWEATER, BUT WE HAD OUR STOVE FOR WHEN WE SET UP CAMP. WHILE WE WERE HIKING THROUGH THE MEADOWS WE COULD SEE THE CITY OF PAHRUMP AND SEE THE DEATH VALLEY DUNES LIT UP BY THE FULL MOON AT THE TIME. ALSO, WE SPOTTED 3 OR 4 ELK AND A COUPLE DEER ALSO. THAT WASNT ANYTHING COMPARED TO WHAT WE WERE GOING TO SEE IN ANOTHER MILE. WE SAT DOWN TO TAKE A BREAK AT AROUND 9 45. EAT A TRAIL BAR AND HAVE A DRINK... ALSO SMOKE A BOWL TO GET GOING AGAIN. AFTER OUR BREAK NOT EVEN 5 MINUTES WENT BY AND MY LIGHT SHINED ON SOME GLOWING EYES OF IN THE DISTANCE. I COULD SEE IT VERY LOW TO THE GROUND LIKE IT WAS CREEPING. WE APPROACHED IT, TRYING TO BE QUIET AND WHEN WE GOT CLOSE ENOUGH WE SAW A MOUNTAIN LION EATING SOMETHING OVER OFF IN THE BUSHES. WE WERE ABOUT 50 MAYBE 75 FEET FROM THIS BEAUTIFUL ANIMAL. IT STARED RIGHT AT US WHEN WE SHINED THE LIGHT ON IT AND DIDNT EVEN MOVE JUST STARED AND YOU COULD SEE THE BLOOD ON ITS FACE. THAT WAS AMAZING TO SEE IT EATING A FRESH KILL. WE KEPT WALKING NOT FORGETTING ABOUT THE MT. LION THAT COULD BE FOLLOWING US BUT IT NEVER DID IT JUST STAYED AND ATE ITS KILL.

BY ABOUT 10:30 WE COULD TELL WE WERE VERY CLOSE TO THE PEAK BUT WE WERE HUNGRY AND GETTING KINDA COLD. THE TREES AROUND US WERE NO MORE THAN 6 FEET TALL SCRAGGLY BRISTLECONE PINES. OBSERVING THIS LED ME TO CONCLUDE THAT WE WERE NO MORE THAN A MILE FROM THE PEAK. WE DECIDED TO SET UP OUR CAMP SITE AND HIKE THE THE PEAK AT DAWN. WE SET UP CAMP AND MADE A NICE FIRE. BY THIS TIME IT WAS IN THE 40'S AND WINDY SO IT FELT LIKE PROBABLY 20'S WE HAD TO MAKE THE FIRE A DECENT SIZE TO KEEP WARM EVEN THO YOU ARENT ALLOWED TO MAKE FIRES WE WERE IN AN AREA THAT NO CAMPERS HAD EVER STAYED AND THAT WAS OBVIOUS, ALSO IT WAS OBVIOUS WE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE PROBABY WITHIN AT LEAST 8 OR 9 MILES. WE MADE A VERY WELL BUILT FIRE PIT WITH ROCKS SURROUNDING IT TO CLOCK THE WIND. WE MADE OUR FAMOUS DISH OF MAC AND CHEESE AND JUST LOOKED OVER AT THE CITY LIGHTS AND ENJOYED THE STARS. THE WOOD BURNS VERY FAST SO WE PROBABLY HAD TO GO GET MORE WEED EVERY 30 MINUTES FOR THE FIRE. IT WAS FUNNY BECAUSE WE WOULD FALL ASLEEP. WE HAD OUR OWN AREAS AROUND THE FIRE AND ALL OF A SUDDEN WE WOULD BOTH WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE THE FIRE WOULD GET SMALL ENOUGH TO NOT FEEL IT ANYMORE AND THE BITTER BREEZE WOULD WAKE US UP INSTANTLY. AFTER WE ATE OUR MAC N CHEEZE IT WAS AROUND 11:30.

THE NEXT MORNING WE WOKE UP AT AROUND 4:15 WITH JUST THE LITTLEST BIT OF SUNLIGHT. WE WERE UP AND READY TO GO TO THE PEAK BY 4:30. THE SPOT WE HAD STOPPED AT WAS EXACTLY A MILE AND A HALF AWAY FROM THE PEAK. WE STOPPED AT THE END OF THE MEADOWS RIGHT BEFORE YOU GOT ABOVE THE TREE LINE. WE STARTED HIKING AGAIN AT 4:30 AND AFTER 10 MINUTES THERE WERE NO MORE TREES AND WE WERE HIKING ON THE BACK SIDE OF THE PEAK BECAUSE THE TRAIL BRINGS YOU DOWN BEHIND THE LEFT SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN AND THE BACK UP. WHEN YOU START TO ASCEND TO THE PEAK RIGHT BEFORE IT GETS REALLY STRENOUS YOU CAN SEE THE WRECKAGE OF THE PLAIN. THERE WAS A LOT OF SNOW FOR IT BEING IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY. THERE WAS A WHOLE FIELD OF SNOW AT THE PEAK RIGHT BELOW THE PLANE CRASH AND ABOVE THE PLANE CRASH. ALSO ALL IN THE CANYON WAS FILLED WITH SNOW. THE PLANE CRASH IS SCATTERED ALL OVER WITH A HUGE 30 FT WING 50 FEET FROM THE MAIN CRASH SIGHT. WHERE THE REMAINS IF THE CRASH IS, IS NOT EVEN 50 FEET BELOW THE CREST OF THE MTN. SHOWING THAT IF THE PILOT WOULD HAVE PULLED THE PLANE UP A LITTLE MORE AT THE LAST SECOND EVERYONE WOULD HAVE SURVIVED. ANYWAYS, AFTER WE LOOKED AT THE PLANE WE MADE IT TO THE PEAK BY 5 15 AND WATCHED THE BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE ONTO THE CITY OF LAS VEGAS. IT WAS STILL PRETTY COLD BUT YOU COULD FEEL THE HOT SUMMER SUN STARTING TO WARM IT UP ALREADY. THE SOUTH LOOP IS A STRENUOUS, YET FUN HIKE WELL WORTH DOING. I AM GOING BACK TO DO IT OVER MY CHRISTMAS BREAK IN SNOWSHOES AND WE ARE SNOWBOARDING DOWN THE 8 MILES FROM THE PEAK SO ITS GOING TO BE A BLAST. I'LL POST ABOUT THAT STONED JOURNEY TOO THANK YOU

Webmaster Aaron Schuman notes:

Stephen's report is a little different from the usual fare on climber.org, but I posted it with only minor edits because

  1. It is an authentic report of a unique mountain experience.
  2. I want to encourage Stephen and his friends to keep climbing.
  3. Thirty years from now when Stephen is a corporate tax attorney and a deacon in the Presbyterian Church, he will want this web page as a memento.

Peace, Dudes, and keep it real. Tcha!


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