Rainbow Mountain (Nevada), Mount Wilson (Nevada), Red Rocks (Nevada)
By: Ted Brasket, Jean Vincent
Of the colorful Red Rocks high points, Rainbow Mountain is the most brilliant. These two trips can be gotten from the same campspot shown on the map. They would also combine with DPS-listed Bridge Mountain on a long weekend. Camp first night, do Rainbow the next day, camp and do Wilson the next day. Camp and do the short drive back to Lovell Canyon Road. Go north on Lovell Canyon Road 4.6 miles to the turn off for Red Rocks Summit and trailhead for Bridge. Three nights in the same camp and a short drive for Bridge. Very relaxing.
Rainbow Mountain from camp (not visible, 28 degrees 13 degrees mag). Follow the wash above camp NE for approximately 0.5 miles. The wash divides here with one branch going ENE and the other ' due north. Take the north branch for approximately 0.25 miles. Leave the wash on the east side and get on a ridge running north. It joins a ridge that will take you NE up to the main north-south ridge crest at 7000'. There's an easy class 3 rock band on the way up. The north- bound I+ miles up and down the ridge is a delightful journey with fantastic scenic views. All along the crest it drops off steep on the east side. It's mountain vegetation down to the saddle then abruptly turns to multicolored sandstone. You get a bonus going over ridge point 7211'. 1 would consider it a separate peak. It's the high point of the ridge between Mountain Pass on Highway 160 and Red Rocks summit. When you reach ridge point 7,000' across from Rainbow Mountain, go north just past the high point to the first notch in the ridge. It's a severe drop off approximately 70' to the base of the ridge that runs down to the saddle 800' below. You can do some veggie belays on that first steep drop. "It's not as bad is it looks," (I always get Jeanette's attention with that statement).
Stay on the north side of the ridge to get on top as soon as possible. This descent is a bit steep. Stay on top of the ridge bypassing obstacles mostly on the north side. Careful route-finding will keep you from ever dropping down to high-angle loose side hills. It goes really good down and back up. Study your route up the Red Rocks from this ridge. There's one of "Mother's" tricks on the route to the summit. What looks to be connected all the way up, isn't. You think you're doing great until you reach a dead-end looking down 100' wall on three sides and have to back-track down and by-pass this area on the north side. Just before the summit we did an easy class 3 down-climb of maybe 12'. We put a register on top. The views to Bridge Mountain and back to Mt. Wilson and the canyons in between are unreal. We'll definitely be back again. We started the first time from Red Rocks summit, staying on the ridge past the turn off to Bridge Mountain. We much preferred the route from the south with its fine campspot. l0 miles, 4500'.
Mt. Wilson from camp (not visible, 58 degrees - 43 degrees mag). Bob Michael wrote this up in the May "96" Sage, page 30. You should read what he says about the geology in this region. You can tell how excited he was just by reading it. Seems "Mother" got out of sync here and had some millions of years old formations on top of much later sandstone. It's good reading. I'm including our route to Wilson so Rainbow and it can be on the same map. From the same wash above camp in 0.5 miles take the ENE branch of the wash. Follow it until you find a good ridge going NE up to the main ridge just south of point 6968'. If you're comfortable with a steep class 3 down-climb, you can go right off the high point to the ridge. After dropping maybe 60' to a flat spot on the ridge, angle left (N) and down a class 3 wall with lots of handles on it. That puts you at the base of the ridge. You can get on top of this ridge much of the way. Stay high, even while bypassing obstacles. It drops 600' to the saddle. The rest of the journey will work itself out as you climb. 7 miles, 2500'.
Drive route to camp:
We've done a number of Bob's peaks including Kokoweef after doing New York Mountain and Clark on Memorial Day weekend. A very interesting short climb. There is supposed to be "Dorr's River of Gold" under the peak. There's a settlement of miners just beyond where we parked that some locals we met on Clark said were a "bit strange and it's best not to disturb them!" Isn't it amazing what "Gold Fever" does to peoples' minds?
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