Kraft Mountain, NV


Stefan and I find Kraft Mountain is a pleasant reprieve from the Vegas monster.

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I perused Big Dan's "Idaho Summits" website to find his various Vegas trip reports. There were a few good ones, but his Kraft Mountain report looked just right: not too much hike, fun adventure, and some rock to scramble.

From the rental car location, we followed the GPS, which was similar to his directions. It wasn't long until we saw Calico Basin.

Miners Peak close-up

The reasonable rental cars were all gone, and we couldn't afford the $400/hr. Porsche, so we were in a 12-person van. We could have taken an entire chorus line with us! (and no, honey, we did not).

I'm not sure what I was doing when Stefan took the picture. Some sort of homage to the mountains? Giving Thanks for surviving the Vegas traffic?

At 8am, it was already warmer than either of us really wanted. But it's not a bad hike up to the saddle. And the views were opening up quickly. South Fork of the Salmon River


From the saddle, you are offered some real rock to look at. In the shade, the rock was still cool, too.

Miners Peak
We marveled at the twisted shapes and variegated coloring. Ponderosa forest

Dan's TR said there were cairns to follow. Good thing, because the way was not obvious. Now just where are those darn cairns?

With so many irregular shapes and colors in the shade, we often almost stepped on them.

South Fork of the Salmon River

This spotted rock was really cool. Sort of Dr. Suess. It didn't help with the cairn-finding. But we were having fun moving on stone, so it didn't really matter.

South Fork of the Salmon River

As we got higher, we finally got into the sun. And the heat. But at least now the cairns were easier to see.

It was dead calm, so we were losing major fluid as the desert's furnace roasted us.

South Fork of the Salmon River

And the rock went on and on.

Some of the rock enlarged our world view, with challenging climbing and some exposure to stretch the mind.

Ponderosa forest
The colors and shapes were fantastic, and somewhat disorienting. This, believe it or not, is looking steeply downhill. We had just come up this way.
Ponderosa forest
After going around, over, and through, we finally got high enough on the ridge to orient ourselves.

And then we were on the summit.


We could tell it was the summit, because it had a distinctive cairn.


This is what you get when you shoot a photo into the sun with a cell phone. The point here is that Stefan and I were all alone in a gorgeous location looking down on Sin City. The contrast was refreshing.

We plan on doing something similar next year.

Photo credit: The best pictures here were taken by Stefan.

Ponderosa forest