Charleston Peak & Mummy Mountain DPS Peaks Above Las Vegas

  • Updated: July 16, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

July 16th, 2016
Charleston Peak (11,916')
Mummy Mountain (11,529')

This was going to be a weekend spent at home catching up after spending the last few running around in the mountains but I couldn't take it.  Two days after getting home from Mineral King and managing some semblance of catching up on sleep I was ready to get out again.

Charleston Peak and Mummy Mountain are two peaks on the Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section list located just north of Vegas.  I've eyed them for years and even attempted them once (on New Years 2012 which turned that into just Griffith Peak) but either conditions were not promising or I ended up making other plans.

But now with less than 10 DPS peaks left before Decembers planned Glow In The Dark DPS List Finish #1 they suddenly seemed a lot more appealing.

Friends seem to have mostly done Charleston and Mummy together using the south loop / north loop trail but the former has been closed since a fire in 2013.  I reached out to Harlan Stockman and he mentioned some slight variations that would involve some 3rd class and would avoid some of the up and down the trail makes yous suffer through.

Jen, Kristen, and I drove out Friday night and at Harlan's suggestion found a dirt pullout along 158 near the Robbers Roost trailhead.  After a few hours of sleep we met him at Trail Canyon.

The parking lot was mostly full when we arrived a little after 8 am and soon filled up completely with an added tour bus disgorging a number of tired looking looking folks as we were cycling through the bathroom.

We were starting relatively late (9 am) but moved briskly up the initial trail.

There were a fair number of folks on the trail due to an annual potluck on the summit that was run that day.

Harlan took us up the southern ridge of Mummy Mountain which climbed steeply from the trail towards some cliffs visible above.

There were a few 3rd class sections along the way with some exposure but the rock was solid and really grippy.

The webbing was something Harlan likes to carry for a handline but we never ended up using it.  The few exposed -ish moves were fun even with my slightly limited motion in the right knee.

The summit was a bit anticlimactic after the approach.

After a short break we descended back towards the trail.

According to Harlan this is the standard DPS route up Mummy and it's a miserable scree chute.

I rather liked the route we took.

Kristen forgot a spoon and so are using some of the local geology
USGS rain measuring station
Rather than rejoin the trail immediately we walked the ridge above it periodically scrambling over a minor point or two.

We joined the trail for a short time until we reached Devil's Thumb.

Again we had some more fun easy 3rd class on grippy rock.

Followed by a stroll up the side of Charleston.  There was a few people ahead of us on the same route.

Up top things were slightly breezy.

We said goodbye to Harlan at this point who wanted to keep moving and we strolled down the trail a short time later diverting along the way to look at what we thought might be caves near Mummy.

We reached the trailhead a little after dark which gave us the opportunity to come across these things.  They look like little glowing specs along the side of the trail in the last mile or so and when we looked closer we found they were small pink worms with glowing butts.  According to Google they are related to fireflies though only the female worm glows.  There were only a handful of them but they really stood out.

We went back to the same spot we'd bivied the night before since it was nearby and had been a rather nice spot.  Unfortunately the wind had kicked up continued throughout the night and we hadn't brought a tent since the weather was clear and we usually get to camp late making it easier to just throw out bags on a tarp.  The hard gusts and warm temperatures made it miserable inside or outside of the bags and we probably should have called it and just started driving home long before our eventual 5 am departure.

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