Frenchman Mountain - via Sunrise Pass, January 2023
In Vegas for a conference and snuck in a day prior to hike Frenchman Mountain. Located on the east side of the Las Vegas Valley, Frenchman offers outstanding views the entire LV metropolitan area including The Strip, Red Rocks, and Spring Mountains beyond. It hadn't been a particularly productive December and early January for us, save for an impromptu ski trip to Kicking Horse outside Golden, BC to close out '22 and ring in the new year. That said, with relatively marginal ski conditions prevailing through early '23 it was nice to get the heck out of dodge and enjoy the warm January sunshine of the arid southwest. Just might make a habit of it!
Anyway, we Uber'ed ourselves to the "trailhead" located off NV 147 at Sunrise Pass, hopped the gate, and started plodding up a gravel road that leads through a small valley towards a saddle visible in distance. The road is obviously used to service the telecommunications equipment up on Frenchman's summit and as such leads all the way there. At times the road is littered with loose softball sized rocks making for somewhat tedious travel and poses a hazard to one's ankles. Up n' over the saddle and down to a pass of sorts before resuming the grind now up to Frenchman proper. Couple summits there on the ridge about the same in height - we tagged both to be sure and then wandered around taking in the sights. Great views of the LV Valley and beyond as mentioned, south towards Henderson, east towards Lake Mead and north towards the Valley of Fire - gotta check that out one of these days! The military jets flying in and out of Nellis AFB added some noise pollution to the day, but it was awesome seeing them fly circles around us!
Unable to reserve an Uber pick up from Sunrise Pass as we were resting on the summit, we returned the way we came hoping for some cell service as we approached the highway. No luck in that department but managed to score a ride back to civilization courtesy of a local couple and their friendly dog. Dropped off at the first gas station we came across and found our way to a taqueria for a quick bite and cold beer while waiting for our ride back to the hotel. Salud!
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