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Calico Peaks

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Red Book Point 
South Ridge 

Calico Peaks Rock Climbing 


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Elevation: 4,500'
Location: 36.158, -115.43363 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,117
Administrators: Larry DeAngelo, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: kenr on Feb 10, 2017
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BETA PHOTO: map of Calico peaks + ridges ... . qm - Point 4708...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Though climbers think of the Calico area mainly for sport crags and bouldering, there's also lots of scrambling and hiking in dramatic situations and with interesting moves.

Indeed there's so much interesting scrambling in half-day range of some trailhead, lots of people just head up and out with no specific objective or route description and start exploring -- making up their own adventure.
. . (but keep in mind that the Calico terrain is complicated and serious, and sometimes it's much more difficult to get back down a steep section than it is to climb up it).

Visitors with limited time might appreciate some clues about which routes are have interesting climbing of which kinds and what difficulty, and the descriptions linked from this page should be helpful for that. Anyway there's no danger of public descriptions "taming" the Calicos, since there are hundreds of possible 3rd and 4th and low-5th class scramblng variations.

peaks:
Some of the interesting peaks include - - > see on Map
. . . (South to North) . . .

. . . (several interesting routes).

  • "Calico Peak" (or Point 4850) . (4870 ft) . (N36.16021 W115.43869)
. . . (? perhaps could try the southeast gully ?)

  • "Tank Peak" (or "Calico Tank Peak") . (4880 ft) . (N36.16202 W115.43738)
. . . (see on SummitPost).

  • Point 4708 ft . (N36.16212 W115.44704)
. . . (can be reached from Sandstone Quarry parking - with non-trivial navigation).
. . . (There are two other summits of similar elevation nearby roughly east and west from this).

  • Kraft Mt (elevation 4715 ft) . (lat long approx N36.16412 W115.42168)
. . . (see detailed description in Courtney Purcell book page 68
. . . . and with photos + GPS in Branch Whitney book pages 29-35).

  • "New Peak" (4990 ft) . (N36.16532 W115.43259)

  • Red Cap (or "Turtlehead Junior") (4925 ft) . (N36.16612 W115.44258)
. . . (see on SummitPost, and detailed description in Courtney Purcell book page 70
. . . . also with photos + GPS in Branch Whitney book pages 69-73).

  • "Tinaja Peak" (4765 ft) . (N36.16961 W115.45149)

  • "Goat Bed Peak" (5200 ft) . (N36.16982 W115.41378)
. . . (off the map : NE from Kraft Mt).
. . . (? perhaps reach it by a traverse from Greycap ?)

  • Greycap (or Gray Cap) (5443 ft) . (N36.17881 W115.42769)
. . . (off the map : N from New Peak).
. . . (see on BirdAndHike).
. . . (see detailed description in Courtney Purcell book page 73,
. . . . also with photos + GPS in Branch Whitney book pages 42-48).

  • Turtlehead Mt (6325 ft) . (N36.18022 W115.44588) - (more for its size and views than the climbing quality).
. . . (off the map : N from sq="Sandstone Quarry" + rc="Red Cap").
. . . (see on SummitPost, also with photos + GPS in Branch Whitney book pages 74-76).

pass crossings:
Three lower points that might enable crossing over the hills might be:

South Pass (GPS lat long approx N36.1534 W115.4323).-.(elevation 4295 ft /1310m) .
- - > "so" on the map.
Located between the South Ridge and Red Book Point. Might(?) enable crossing West->East from the Second Pullout on the Scenic Loop road to any of the East side parking areas - (but that crossing not checked by us).
East access by Calico Basin ...
  • from Assisi Rd parking (N36.1495 W115.4199) : Hike WNW about +630 vertical feet over 0.75 mile distance, at first on rough gravel road, gets much steeper with some scrambing sections near the end.
  • from Red Springs parking (N36.1466 W115.4186) : Hike NorthWest about +650 vertical feet over 0.85 mile distance, gets much steeper with some scrambing sections near the end.
West access by Scenic Loop road ...
  • ? approach from First or Second Pull-out? We've seen a hint that this might be possible -- but Not checked by us.

Middle Pass (N36.1576 W115.4360).-.(4380 ft /1335m) .
- - > "mid" on the map.
Located between Red Book Point and the Calico and Tank Peaks. Might(?) enable crossing West->East from the Second Pullout on the Scenic Loop road to the Sandstone Rd or Assisi Rd parking areas on the E side - (but that crossing not checked by us).
East access by Calico Basin ...
  • from Assisi Rd parking (N36.1495 W115.4199) : Hike NW 0.4 mile (toward the big lower SE ridge of Red Book Point) on rough gravel road to some picnic tables, then NNW 0.3 mile going right along the base of the ridge to the base of a wide gully (N36.1540 W115.4260) ... (this point could also be reached by going 0.4 mile WSW from Sandstone Rd parking) ... The central gully starts narrow and steep, so likely better at first to scramble up right (NNW) onto slabs above its right side and scramble up on those (roughly West) for about 350 feet, then traverse left into the central gully and scramble up that, at first West then curves WNW and finally NorthWest (along the base of the Red Book Point ridge above left) for a total of about 0.5 mile to a higher saddle - somewhere around (N36.1567 W115.4335) - (see the Calico / Tanks Pass ahead above slightly rightward). Continue over this saddle and scramble down 0.15 mile NW to a flat sandy (wet?) area, then a bit left (SW) to reach Middle Pass. . . (Total about +600 vertical feet over 1.4 mile distance from Assisi Rd).
  • return to Assisi Rd parking from Middle Pass : Head roughly SE about 0.15 mile parallel alongside below the NW ridge of Red Book Point and scramble up onto a rise - (somewhere around N36.1567 W115.4335) - (with big view to S + E). Scramble over this rise down into a broad gully. Go a long ways SSE then SE down in this gully, with some interesting scrambling sections. Just before the central gully drops down steeper and narrower - (? somewhere around (N36.1542 W115.4274 ?) - exit Left (NE) onto slabs. Find the easiest way wandering down those slabs until reach unsigned trail on gentle ground (N36.1540 W115.4260). Next hike SSE for 0.3 mile along base of big rock ridge to some picnic tables, then down a rough gravel road SE 0.4 mile to Assisi Rd parking.
West access by Scenic Loop road ...
  • ? approach from Second Pull-out? might not be possible -- Not checked by us.

Calico / Tank Pass (N36.1610 W115.4381).-.(4750 ft /1450m) - [ photo1 | photo2 ] .
- - > "ct" on the map.
Located between Calico Peak and Tank Peak. Might(?) enable crossing West->East from the Sandstone Quarry parking on the Scenic Loop road to the Sandstone Rd or Assisi Rd parking areas on the E side - (but that crossing not checked by us).
SouthEast access by Calico Basin ...
  • ? approach from Sandstone Rd or Assisi Rd parking? likely is possible with a steep scramble up from Middle Pass - [ see Photo of S side of pass ] - but Not checked by us.
NorthWest access by Scenic Loop road ...
  • ? approach from Sandstone Quarry parking? We've seen a hint that this might be possible - but Not checked by us.

ridge traverses:
The obvious "grand traverse" would be to go from Red Springs parking to Sandstone Quarry, touching (most of) the high points along the west side of the Calicos. Big problem is that there are at least two deep chasms obstructing the northern part, not cross-able at less than 5.10 free, and perhaps not possible even with Aid gear and a rope. Getting around the end of one of these chasms requires substantial extra distance and up+down vertical.
. . (So the alternate challenge is to find an esthetic "compromise" traverse route which still includes lots of interesting climbing and hits the main summit views).

Or perhaps a better bet(?) for a "grand traverse" might be to start farther east, and go over Red Cap, then Tank Peak, Calico Peak, Middle Pass, Red Book Point, South Pass, and finish over the the South Ridge -- (not checked by us).

For a smaller traverse (whose chasms can be crossed at low 5th), try the South Calico Ridge, which can be done as a loop with hiking approach + descent from the Red Springs parking - (or a longer loop from the Red Rock Scenic Loop road pull-out parking) - (or perhaps one-way from Red Springs to the Second Pull-out, preceded by a bike/car shuttle).

Another smaller traverse (with more difficult climbing crux) is the Red Book Ridge from the South Pass to the Middle Pass going over Red Book Point. Can be done as a loop from the Assisi Rd or the Sandstone Rd parking on E side. (Not sure if it can be done from Second Pullout parking on W side).

. . (Or for a bigger traverse, could link up the South Calico Ridge with the Red Book Ridge).

info sources:
  • book: Rambles & Scrambles, by Courtney Purcell (2nd edition 2015).
  • book: Hiking Las Vegas, by Branch Whitney (Huntington Press, 2015).

note: Many loose rocks and weak breakable hand- and foot-holds on these routes - (even when they're plenty dry). Two major implications:
(a) Maintain extra energy and time and attention to keep testing lots of holds - (and keep the difficulty of the climbing sequences you attempt well within your capabilities so you can always have a hand you're not currently depending on available for testing);
(b) Parties with multiple persons need to either climb very close together so there's not much vertical distance for a loose or breaking rock to accelerate before hitting one of the following climbers (who presumably is wearing a helmet), or climb potential-loose-rock sequences one a time, with following members staying far off to the side (and sheltered) away from below the current climber -- because loose rocks often bounce in unexpected directions off sideways and far outward from where they start.

note: The warning about wet rock being fragile applies also to scrambling routes around here -- so scrambling on ridges and peaks in the Calico area is not a "safer alternative" to technical sport or trad rock climbing a day or two after substantial rain. Just because you're not on 5th class terrain doesn't mean you won't die or get seriously injured if a hold breaks.

Getting There 

There are several trailheads for this area
- - > see on the map . (marked with P circle icons).

East side by Calico Basin Rd ...
  • Red Springs (N36.1464 W115.4189).-.(elevation 3600ft /1100m): at west end of Calico Basin Road.
  • Assisi Rd (N36.1495 W115.4199) .-.(3620ft /1105m): at its intersection with the south end of Sandstone Rd.
  • Sandstone Rd (N36.15679 W115.41995).-.(3700ft /1130m): at north end of Sandstone Rd.

West side by Red Rock Scenic Loop (requires paying entry fee) ...
  • First Pull-out (N36.1461 W115.4309).-.(3920ft / 1195m).
  • Second Pull-out (N36.1518 W115.4374).-.(4020ft /1225m).
  • Sandstone Quarry (N36.1622 W115.4502).-.(4320ft /1317m).

Climbing Season

For the Red Rock area.

Weather station 1.1 miles from here

7 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',5],['5.7',2],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]


Featured Route For Calico Peaks

Red Book Ridge 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13  Nevada : Red Rock : ... : Red Book Point
Great variety of rock situations with fun scrambling sequences and some thoughtful navigation. But ...one crux sequence much more difficult than the rest of the route which is not avoidable - (and another hard crux which is avoidable). And it finishes with a sustained class 5 down-climb with dramatic exposure.traverse from South Pass of the Calicos to the Middle Pass -- this route is a link-up of the South gully + ridge route with the reversing of the NorthWest gully + ridge route.. . (It...[more]   Browse More Classics in Nevada

Photos of Calico Peaks Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Red Book Point 4608ft : summit seen from south
BETA PHOTO: Red Book Point 4608ft : summit seen from south
Rock Climbing Photo: South Ridge of Calico (from NE)
BETA PHOTO: South Ridge of Calico (from NE)
Rock Climbing Photo: looking South from Red Book Point ... to ... South...
BETA PHOTO: looking South from Red Book Point ... to ... South...
Rock Climbing Photo: Calico / Tank Pass from south
BETA PHOTO: Calico / Tank Pass from south

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