Easy Way to Damsel Peak

H.W. Stockman
Thurs. April 29, 2004

Near Las Vegas, NV; 5 miles west of my house.

Brownstone Basin road provides access to Damsel Peak -- an easy* trailless route. I had been up Damsel by the NE wash, and found that path very brushy with steep, loose talus. In contrast, these west-side routes have sparse brush, firm talus, and are essentially walk-ups. The western route (on the map GPS trace) is through a wash that is flat-bottomed and gravelly for much of the trip (I saw a mountain bike track up much of the route). Caution: it was cool the day I hiked -- but this route may be fatally hot by summer. Brownstone road requires a 4WD or AWD, but the drive is rather straightforward. My Subaru Outback had no problems, even though it has modest clearance.

There were many, many flowers -- all the species I saw last Saturday, plus these, and more. There were beautiful blue larkspurs, but I kept screwing up the focus!

If you want maps or GPS tracks for the road, contact me: hwstock -at- alum -dot- mit -dot- edu.

Click on any small image to see a larger picture. (Cliquez sur une petite image pour voir la grande image correspondante.) Order is essentially chronological. Even the large images are reduced in size to 20% the number of pixels in the originals. Contact me if you want the full-sized images. To save a large image under Windows, 1) click on the corresponding small image; 2) when the large image appears (fully), right-click on the image and choose "Save Picture As..." on the menu. Be sure to note where you saved the image!

GPS trace


Desert four o'clocks







Apache plume

Claret cup


On summit ridge -- view SW. Here is a key to mountain names.





The tops of West Damsel (L) and East Damsel.


Panoramic view E over East Damsel and Las Vegas.


This is a seldom-visited summit. I found this entry to be interesting.





Obligatory cerebellum check.


LaMadre Peak, view NW on descent.


Mini-arch on summit ridge.





On the way down the ravine, I saw oxidized sulfide ore. Then I came across this mine prospect.



Agave roasting pit, near irregular jog in GPS trace.





Utah penstemons.


Banana yucca.


Redbud -- late in the season, but in the shade of the cliffs.




*OK, maybe my definition of "easy" requires some qualification. This route has slightly less elevation gain than the route through Little Red Rock on the NE side; but the elevation gain is still more than 2100', and it is a round trip of ~5 miles, all without a trail. I took the eastern (of the two routes on the GPS map) up, because I don't like walking on gravel; I walk fast, and my feet dig in gravel too much. However, the gravel is fine for a more leisurely pace.