Bridge via Pine Creek, Mini-Epic

pics by Harlan W.S.
February 17, 2011

This was my 17th time up Bridge Mt, NV, and my 2nd up this route.
It's a great route, but is fairly difficult; there is a fair stretch of boulder-hopping, dry/wet fall climbing, and some exposed climbing up high.  However, there are now ~10x as many cairns as on my 1st trip, so it is hard to get lost, provided you exit Fern Canyon in the correct place.

We had a mini-epic.  Ali did great on the red route (shown on the GPS trace below), up to the point when we climbed onto the shoulder at 6350', having finished the hard part of the trip.  Then his knee locked up, allowing just limited motion.  He rested for about 40 minutes with our old friend , vitamin I.  I quickly tagged Bridge, came back to meet Ali again, and dropped back down Pine Creek,  to the car, in 1 h 45 m.  Meanwhile Ali climbed up to the limestone ridge, and descended the blue route to the Rock Gap Road, then jogged down the road while I retrieved the car at Pine Creek trailhead. I  got the car and drove back around the (one-way) Scenic Loop to Willow Springs, then drove about 1 mile up the gravel road, where I met him.  He had already hiked about 6.5 miles from our parting point... with a bum knee! Beacuse he had to climb up to the ridge, Ali did substantially more elevation gain than I.

Map of two routes
Early, view E after entering Fern Canyon
by Dark Shadows,.
View of Paiute Wall. We will
need to cut R as we get near the wall.
Ali looks ahead up the wash.
One dryfall. We put an extra knot
in the rope.  A brushy climb R avoids
the rope.
One of many tricky dryfalls.
IMG_2025 IMG_2026
This is the last falls one must negotiate
before cutting R (NW) up onto slabs.
I was able to find some rocks in the
slimy, slippery falls, but Ali
stemmed the entire way.
We saw about 6-7 bighorns.
IMG_2032 IMG_2033 IMG_2034
This is the "hard class 3" section.
It's mainly slippery.  If you cut W after
the 1st part, you can avoid the worst/
Ali comes around the creepy corner.
IMG_2036 IMG_2039
Right before the last chute. Ali is
visible by the tree. Bridge is in back.
IMG_2042 IMG_2043
I photographed this easy hold to document
that it was about to fall off...
...then I saw Ali using it!  He assured
me he was using it as a balance point only!
Just before we reached the ridge, end of
the hard stuff, and just as Ali's knee locked up!
IMG_2048 I quickly tagged Bridge, View to
snow-covered Griffith Peak.
View E over Bridge Point to Vegas.
I signed in under Hugh de Q.
I saw this small tank just before the
downclimb through the arch; frozen!
The arch is below. To save time, I
traversed along this wall.  I re-met Ali,
and we went our separate ways.
I wondered why I hadn't seen these pretty
pools on the way up; then realized that they
drained over a waterfall!
2:20 PM, and it's already dark in
the canyon; said waterfall at R.