Grey Cap Ridge to Turtlehead

West Las Vegas, Nevada. Trailhead is ~10 minutes from my house.

H.W. Stockman
Sat. April 24 2004

This is not the typical route to Turtlehead. From Calico Basin, I started out going N, then NE to Grey Cap ridge, then went counterclockwise, and came back down the wash to "Gateway Canyon" (the latter is described by Branch Whitney at The Maptech Navigator total elevation gain was ~3600' and 8 miles, but that was calculated from a simplified digital elevation model, and didn't record the many, many ups-and-downs along the very serrated Grey Cap ridge. The route back down the wash (east of Turtlehead) hits many dry falls; just remember there is always a way to get around each dry fall, without rigorous climbing. It was already hot when I got back down; this route will probably be Hellishly (fatally) hot this summer. I took 5 hours and used 50 ounces of water.

Calico Basin is getting very popular; the parking areas at Red Springs, and the parking just to the NW, were totally full. Once away from the bouldering area, I saw no other signs of humanity -- except people on top of Turtlehead, and a lone cigarette butt on Grey Cap!* -- till I saw a few lonely Vibram footprints near the end of the slope down Turtlehead.

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!


View W to Bridge Mt., as I first climb up onto Grey Cap ridge.


Looking back SE over 1st lump on ridge. The ridge was a lot more uneven than I had expected.


View SE, a bit further up the ridge. I thought I could always cut north to avoid onstacles…uh-uh.





NNE view from ridge. Is that Grey Cap? Nope. Turtlehead at L; LaMadre at R.


NE across Brownstone Basin.


View back SE; ridge is still rough.





View NNW. Is that Grey Cap yet? Nope.


OK that's Grey Cap (on the R, just R of the tan sandstone).






Self-portrait & view NW. Obligatory cerebellum check.


Surprising tinaja, just W of Grey Cap. Note lone Ponderosa Pine.


View W to Turtlehead.





On Turtlehead. A random couple enjoys the view E to Vegas.


Obligatory Turtlehead view of (L to R) Mt Wilson, Rainbow Peak & Wall, Bridge Pt & Bridge Mt, North Peak.


Looking SE over Calico Basin, from Turtlehead.





Sandstone Quarry Parking lot and Mt Potosi (S from Turtlehead).


Descending Turtlehead; View ESE as Luxor catches the sun.

Phacelia (thanks to Anya D. for the ID!)





Strawberry hedgehog cactus.


Beavertail cactus.


Claret Cup or Mojave Hedgehog; both are species Echinocereus triglochidiatus.





Mariposa lily, out-of-focus (a camouflage adaptation) by manzanita.


Indian paintbrush.







Desert Marigolds with wooly daisy in back?

Bighorn skull cap.


Pinyon asters.





Mojave sage (not true sagebrush).


White spider on strawberry hedgehog blossom.





More strawberry hedgehog.


Map with GPS trace. Normal route to Turtlehead starts at Sandstone Quarry S of peak.

If you want the log or routes, contact me:

hwstock at alum point mit point edu





* I know of only one group that was on Grey Cap the previous month. I don't mind people smoking (as long as they are not near me), but it is so trivially easy to bury a cigarette butt…