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Charleston and Lee Peaks, NV
mini location map2021-06-14
48 by photographer avatarJim_H
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Charleston and Lee Peaks, NV 
Charleston and Lee Peaks, NV
Hiking avatar Jun 14 2021
Hiking9.40 Miles 3,650 AEG
Hiking9.40 Miles
3,650 ft AEG10 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Because I like Charleston and wanted to summit Lee Peak, but didn't want to unnecessarily hike the much longer Trail Canyon approach, I tried the more or less off trail approach that ascends the very steep slope from the Lee Canyon Ski area. I don't recommend it, and erosion has made it rather difficult. A fall in a few spots could easily be deadly, or at least very bad, and I don't see many attempting this hike/route. As a known route, it does exist online already, so I won't write it up. However, if you choose this route, bring a climbing axe even when dry, to dig steps and for balance.

I parked at the Upper Bristlecone and made my way up to the ski slopes, past the lodge, the feral ponies, the multiple jackasses hanging out on the slopes, the ski patrol hut, and then the gully with the water catchment for snow making. It was all very easy to this point. Once above the catchment and into the gully it was initially pretty easy on the rock, but this gets rough and I started to follow a cairned social trail. I must have missed it changing slopes because eventually I was going directly up a steep, steep slope mixed with cliffs and with small rocks covering the packed soil acting almost like ball bearing. Obviously, I did get through it, and came over some small cliffs in the ridge and dropped down to the North Loop Trail.

I was pretty comfortable with regard to temperatures for my entire hike, but I did need my zip-up fleece while near the ridge, as it was pretty windy. The wind was way, way worse on the summit. On the trail and not on Charleston, the wind was minor, so T-Shirt or my long sleeve shirt for sun protection, was adequate. It was really nice not to be in triple digit heat!

I took my time enjoying the hike on the Upper North Loop through the cliffs to Charleston, first. I hung out for a while, and enjoyed a summit with views that were getting hazier. I could still easily see Lake Mead, Spirit Mountain, and Telescope Peak, but smoke from Arizona was moving in. Ironically, I came here early hoping to avoid the July, August, September through January California wildfire smoke, and got Arizona smoke, instead. Oh, well.

After Charleston I headed to Lee Peak, which is an easy walk up from the North Loop Trail. I didn't stay long, but the views are similar to Charleston, so it could be a good summit if you tried the North Loop and could summit Chuck. It wasn't very windy, which was nice, but the day was getting on and I wanted to have plenty of time to get down the steep slope.

I was able to find the correct social trail to leave the North Loop Trail in a small saddle east of Lee and west of the ridge I came over. This trail went from steep to worse before it seemed to disappear. I was able to get down with plenty of time to make diner before driving down to my hotel.

Stats are from a Peakery GPS route from my TH to the Charleston summit, with a conservative estimate for Lee Peak added in. I thought this would be over 4000' and 10 miles for the day, but it seems not. My legs felt like it was, for sure, but I blame the steep slope for that. I gave myself a rest day before my next hike, but I needed really needed 2 rest days. I guess 2 nights in Las Vegas would have been better, and I suppose I could have gone to Utah and come back to hike, but I did 4 nights here, instead. Live and learn.
Bristlecone Pine
Let's go Brandon!!!!! Let's go Brandon!!!!
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