Another winter passes, and another season begins. With less downtime and an earlier start than last year, I will likely have a longer period of in-season fitness, and will hopefully find enough interesting objectives to put it to good use. It is still a bit early to talk about “projects” like last year’s California 14er record, but I have some ideas. I’ll just say that in addition to revisiting some familiar areas (Tetons, Winds, Eastern Sierra), I plan to spend quality time in unexplored territory. The mountain west is vast and varied.
I decided to ease into the season, and break up a long drive, with a couple of easy peaks near Las Vegas. Bridge is a fun little slickrock scramble where the easiest route crosses a natural bridge. North is an utter nothing-burger, but it does have a nice view of Bridge. Pulling off onto the Lovell Valley road around 1:00 AM, I found the first decent-looking pullout and crashed. I passed the Red Rock Summit road on the way out, but easily found it when doubling back, and drove it for perhaps a mile or so until it crossed the ravine a bit too steeply and roughly.
Though I could probably have driven over the ravine, the road turns truly gnarly after that. I saw tire tracks all the way up — perhaps from a quad or a lifted Jeep — but I also saw plenty of scrapes on the rocks, and a couple of car parts. From the saddle, a clear trail takes off to the east, branching at the ridge to go to either North or Bridge. After quickly tagging North, I took the roundabout trail down to the slickrock isthmus leading to Bridge’s summit.
Route-following on slickrock can be tricky, but not here: in addition to plentiful ducks, someone had “helpfully” painted black arrows and equals signs all along the route. I found no fewer than five arrows in one spot, all within maybe 10 feet of each other. It was breezy on the approach, and the wind on the summit was strong enough to knock me around a bit. I huddled in a corner next to the long-suffering summit tree to have a snack and sign the register, then got out of there as fast as I could. Feeling surprisingly good for so early in the season, I even jogged some of the road back to the car, arriving in time for “lunch.”