Don’t Get Lost
Getting lost can have serious consequences especially this time of year. Preparation and paying attention to the terrain are the keys. A good guidebook or route description is the first step in preparing for a hike. Unfortunately, trails around Southern Nevada are not well marked. Turning around to see what the return trip will look like is very helpful. A GPS unit can be useful, but don’t blindly follow it. Common sense is always your best bet.
If it’s a group hike, someone needs to be the leader. This person should know the route or have researched it. The leader should screen unknown hikers before the hike to determine their abilities. This is not a fun thing to do, but it can prevent problems. Having someone on your hike that is in over their head is a recipe for a bad hike. The leader must keep track of everyone in the group. Taking a head count at the start of the hike and confirming it after each break is mandatory. The group must wait for slower hikers. This can become a serious problem on a cross-country hike with lots of hikers. For this reason you should limit the number of hikers to 10 or less.
One of the quickest ways to get lost is to wander off trail or route. This is especially true in wooded areas. If you are hiking on a trail that is poorly marked, keep track of forks and turns you make. On a cross-country hike turn around often and look at key landmarks. Most routes here in Southern Nevada are marked with cairns; small piles of rocks stacked one of top of another. With proper planning and paying attention to the terrain, you’ll have a safe and fun hike. Make sure to check the weather forecast. It snow in the mountains this time of the year.
Hike of the Month
Hike: Fortification Hill
Trailhead: Along Kingman Wash Road — marked
Distance: 6 miles — round trip
Elevation gain: 1,197 feet
Elevation peak: 3,657 feet
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Driving Directions: From Las Vegas Boulevard go north and turn left onto Sahara. In less than one mile, turn right (north) onto I-15. Take I-15 two miles to Highway 93/95 south. Drive 23 miles to Boulder City. Make a left at the second stop light onto south 93 (also called the truck route). Drive 2.1 miles past the “Welcome to Arizona” sign at Hoover Dam and turn left on the signed Kingman Wash Road. At 3.4 miles you’ll pass an outhouse at Painter’s Cove. Beyond the cove the road is called Fortification Road. Continue another 2.7 miles and park near a small metal trailhead sign located on the left side of the road. You will need a high clearance vehicle.
Comments: The view from Fortification Hill rivals any vista around Lake Mead. Do not do this hike if it’s windy.
The Hike: Do not follow the trail. Gain the ridge to your right (NE). Once on the ridgeline follow a path that heads NW toward Fortification Hill. There are some steep sections, but there are followed by level terrain. When the path fades, keep heading toward Fortification Hill. Eventually, you’ll pass boulders. From the boulders, it’s about 150 yards of steep terrain to the base of a wall that lies just below the mesa.
Once at the wall, the path traverses east and levels. Hike another 100 yards along the path and then climb a wall. It’s a Class 2 climb. If you start descending while traversing the path, you’ve gone too far. Once above the wall, the path continues north. It makes a hard left and uses switchbacks as it climbs to the mesa.
The path becomes defined along the mesa and heads south almost a mile to the peak. The last 50 yards becomes moderately steep as it climbs to the peak. At the peak you’ll be treated to a view that will take your breath away. To the west lie Lake Mead, then Las Vegas, and finally the snow-capped peaks of Mt.Charleston. Hoover Dam sits to the SW. The rugged Muddy Mountains stand to north. In front of them you can catch glimpses of the Bowl of Fire. Sign the register that lies inside the army box.
Get the complete description of the Fortification Hill hike. Go to: http://www.hikinglasvegas.com/lake-mead-hikes.html scroll down to the Fortification Hill hike and download it. The file (.PDF) will download to any device capable of reading a PDF file.
If you find the PDF file of the hike helpful, you can become a member of my website where you can download over 400 hikes from around the country. More information here: http://www.hikinglasvegas.com/become-a-member.html
Looking to join an advance hiking group?
The 52 Peak Club is your answer. More information here: http://www.52peakclub.com/