Cactus Flower Tower (6360'), Red Rock NV

Harlan W S
May 22, 2014

The prominence of this little peaklet is only 170-177' 
(determined from photographs taken on Oak Creek Peak).  Yet there is no non-technical way to reach it from its higher neighbor (Mount Wilson), and the easiest and most direct trip from route 159 will gain over 2700' in elevation, over some class 4/5 terrain. Given that other "peaks" have little prominence (Polemonium 160', Thunderbolt 203'), Cactus Flower Tower deserves to be taken seriously.

Many thanks to Jim E for showing us the "scramble" route, and to my co-conspirators Barb S and Mike B.  We reached the top in 2h 23m, despite Barb's recent illness, and one "oops" that cost us a few minutes. I've been trying to get up here for years, but every potential trip was stymied by surgery or snow.

Jim and I each took a 60' static 8mm rope.  I took some extra sling webbing, and two 12' pieces of 15mm, which would be adequate to tie Swiss seats (we're skinny people!), plus a few extra carabiners and a light descender.  If you are confident enough, you can downclimb all the rough sections without rope, but rappel stations are there, and why take chances?  Caution: be careful pulling a rope from the crux. The last person down will make sure the rope is off the chickenheads, then you should move the rope a bit south over the "face" and away from the crack before the pull.

View W from route 159, from
the Oak Creek parking
(NOT on the Scenic Loop).
CFT is Cactus Flower Tower
One goes up Oak Creek
and then ascends the west ridge.
This route deviates significantly
from the route on the Hiking
Las Vegas site, and is probably
a bit harder.
Jim knows a "shortcut" that
is interesting.
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Now we are just above the
crux on a very steep ramp.
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On top, view W.
On top, view N over Rainbow.
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Heading back down W.
The mini-crux over
the chockstones...
tough on shorter folks. I
stemmed to the sides (I'm
pretty flexible)
Jim downclimbs the
steep ramp above
the crux.
Meanwhile, Mike and
Barb pass the chockstones
S of the crux
The crux, 5.3 they say.
Another view  up at crux.
I faced out and placed
lots of force on the sides
of the crack, and didn't
weight the handline;
but that would be tough on
a larger person.
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One of many exposed
"corners" on Jim's route
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Back down Jim's shortcut!
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