Mount Wilson
Back in Las Vegas, Nevada for the second time in as many years, I decided to pay a visit to nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on 11 October 2010.  After having researched a few of the peaks in the area on, I settled on an ascent of Mount Wilson via the standard route up First Creek Canyon.  From the signed trailhead, I crossed the flats on a wide trail which eventually braids near the entrance to the canyon.  On a map, First Creek Canyon looks innocuous enough, and although I had a sense of the complexities of the route up the canyon, I was not expecting the route-finding to be particularly difficult.  I could not have been more mistaken in this regard.  The canyon is choked with enormous boulders and thick vegetation which conspire to make travel both perplexing and wearisome.  Although I found cairns throughout the canyon, there were numerous occasions where I was forced to guess where to go next, and quite often, I had to retreat from a dead-end or endure some nasty bushwhacking to get back on track.  After several exasperating hours, I finally escaped from the canyon and picked up a good trail in the bowl at the head of First Creek.  I hiked up to the crest of Mount Wilson's broad west ridge and then worked my way eastward over sandstone slabs to the summit.  I was a little shocked that it had taken me nearly 6.5 hours to reach the summit, and though the weather was gorgeous, I only lingered there for about 30 minutes before starting my descent.  The return trip through the canyon turned out to be not as bad as I was anticipating perhaps because the route-finding was easier the second time around, but it was still no cakewalk.  I shook my head in disgust each time I descended a section that had cost me time and effort to circumvent during my ascent.  When I finally emerged onto the flats, I breathed a big sigh of relief and took comfort in knowing that I would never have to venture up First Creek Canyon again.  Never.
The point furthest to the right is the summit. The east face of Mount Wilson looks brilliant in the morning sun.  First Creek Canyon is visible at left.
How bad can the canyon be?? Here is a closer look at the mouth of First Creek Canyon.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here! Sonny enters First Creek Canyon.
A route-finding nightmare both going up and coming down. Here is one of the numerous gigantic boulders choking the bottom of the canyon.
Don't go in the bushes! Don't go! This is one of the easier sections to navigate.
Apparently there is always water here though I'm not so sure I'd want to drink it! This is one of several pools of water near a cascade.
You should see all the scratches on my arms and legs! Sonny slowly climbs out of the canyon.
Took me a whopping 5 hours and 10 minutes to get here! This is looking back at First Creek Canyon from the bowl to the west.
Still some route-finding here, but it's not nearly as bad as the canyon. Sonny climbs up easy slabs.
Follow the cairns. A dead tree points the way to the summit (not visible here).
One more annoying little dip to descend here... The summit of Mount Wilson is finally in sight.
That's a helluva drop! This is looking down Mount Wilson's impressive east face.  Spring Mountain Ranch State Park (green patch) is visible in the distance.
That was a lot of effort for a peak that isn't even as high as Mount Baldy in K-Country! Sonny stands on the 2149-metre summit of Mount Wilson.
I kept hearing voices coming from that direction but never did see anyone. Rainbow Mountain dominates the view to the north.
Probably worth a closer look in the future. The Calico Hills look striking to the northeast.
The lighter patches of Blue Diamond Hill are due to mining activities. The terrain to the east is known as Blue Diamond Hill.  Las Vegas is visible in the distance.
Viva Las Vegas! Here is a closer look at the Las Vegas Strip.  Also visible is Lake Mead.
Potosi Mountain was the site of the 16 JAN 42 plane crash that killed actress Carole Lombard. This is looking south along Mount Wilson's summit ridge.  Potosi Mountain is on the horizon.
Strangely, the "summit" of Rainbow Mountain isn't even the highest point of the mountain itself! Here is another look at the impressive cliffs of Rainbow Mountain.
By the way, that's not a skull at bottom centre. It's a pelvis! The remains of an ungulate, most likely a sheep, is a testament to the difficulties of route-finding in First Creek Canyon.
Seems to be a happy camper in this little corner of the world! A Pacific tree frog swims in one of the small pools in the canyon.
The chimney was more challenging than I had expected. This is looking down a chimney along the route through the canyon.
Of course, it's not obvious that there's a chimney there. I totally missed this on the way in...and paid dearly for that mistake! This is the chimney section as seen from below.
It was a bit unnerving to be crawling around underneath this behemoth! Sonny scrambles underneath an immense boulder.
How ironic that the shortest peak I would climb on my Fall 2010 Road Trip would give me the most grief! Here is a last look at Mount Wilson (left) from the trailhead.
Looks so easy on the map... This is the route as viewed in Google Earth.
My GPS indicated a Total Elevation Gain of 1516 metres.  This figure may not be accurate, but it sure felt like it! Total Distance:  14.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  10 hours 27 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  1048 metres

GPX Data