North McCullough (aka South Black Mt.)

Harlan W. S.
Nov 22, 2005

Though this mountain is just south of Black Mt., Howard Booth calls it "North McCullough" as it is the northernmost summit in the McCullough Wilderness. The LVMC "McCullough" is farther south.

This hike is about 8 miles RT, ~3000' accumulated elevation gain. I parked at the water retention basin (dam) at the current S end of Sun City Anthem*. There is no trail, though there are rare ducks (cairns, starting at the "105" waypoint on the map below). It took me 4 hours RT, including 40 minutes of photo ops on the various peak tops. However, the terrain is tricky, with lots of loose boulders. Basically, I rarely stopped, and kept a good pace, but often I was jumping from basalt** boulder to basalt boulder. At risk of seeming immodest, I usually do well on this kind of ankle-chewing terrain, so allot more time for your hike, if you want to cut down the risk of face plants.


Aerial photo, showing streets to water retention basin.


GPS trace. The hardest part of this hike is actually the low-elevation travel through the wash.


View NE as I approach the col between Black Mt. (to left) and an unnamed peak (to right). The unnamed peak had a windbreak and cairn on top, but I found no register.





View NE from the first unnamed peak. Black Mt is at center, the Blacks Hills and Railroad Peak are at right.


Same viewpoint.


Looking down to the E; the terrain drops off precipitously.





A helicopter flew from the W, close overhead. The copter has a medical-rescue symbol (flight-for-life); perhaps it was coming from a wreck on I-15. I think the pilot saw my bright yellow shirt, and chose that path for the fly-over.


Looking back N, after traversing south past the first lump. The slide on the east seems to go all the way to the base, but would make for miserable footing.


From the 2nd lump, looking back NNE over the shoulder of Black Mt, with Vegas and Henderson on right.





View S from 2nd lump, toward "North McCullough". In the distance at left is Spirit Mountain.


This register had few names, but amazing overkill for materials. The notebook was large, and there were two pencil sharpeners, perhaps 10 new pencils, a pen, and a mechanical pencil with a spare container of leads. Note Howard Booth's history.


The first entry was from 2000; the last, from early 2004. Note the reference to a route from the east.





Standard cerebellum check, with Black Mt. in background. I couldn't control my right index finger well that day, so many of my shots were propped on rocks, and used a timer.


Panoramic view, Red Rock at left, with Mt Charleston and Madre in distance to NW, Black Mt. in center, Frenchman and Muddy Mountains in distance at right.


View S from North McCullough.





GPS on N McCullough, with Sheep Mts in far background. Elvis the cat poses at left.


View SW to Devil Peak (center) and Clark on left.


Another view NW of Red Rock and Charleston.





The city. I work here. I carry a badge.








*I wonder if the original developers of the retention basin envisaged the fancy houses that would be built right below. The wash is full of large basalt boulders that will be moved, with much water, in the odd 100-year flood.

**Actually, basaltic andesites of Miocene age. The volcanics under the pile are more silicic.