BOU AVENUE
Mount Wilson
Though not particularly high, Mount Wilson on the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam is another peak which is prominently visible from many areas in and around Las Vegas, Nevada.  While the normal ascent route approaches the peak from the east, I was inspired by Anya and Henry Jingle's photos to climb up Mount Wilson's west ridge on 25 January 2011.  Access to Mount Wilson's west ridge is via Black Joe Mine Road (high clearance vehicle recommended) which starts from an unmarked turnoff on US Highway 93 about 9 kilometres east of the Hoover Dam.  I had some difficulty finding this turnoff as it is only accessible from the westbound lanes of the highway (if coming from Las Vegas, it is necessary to go past the turnoff for some distance before making a U-turn).  Once I found the correct road (there is a sign a short distance in from the highway), I carefully drove east for about 2.5 kilometres before parking my rental car (Ford Escape).  I could have driven another kilometre or so right to the base of the west ridge, but for some odd reason, I felt compelled to walk this last stretch.  The west ridge consists of a long series of bumps with several short but annoying dips thrown in for good measure.  I did a lot of side hill bashing to minimize unnecessary elevation loss, but doing so seemed to be just as tiring as climbing over each successive bump.  Despite encountering few difficulties, it still took me nearly four hours to reach the summit.  Thankfully, the weather was perfect on this day, and I spent about 50 minutes at the summit eating lunch, taking photographs, and checking out the curious items in the register container.  My descent entailed more route-finding than I would have expected but generally went without a hitch.  I made it back to my car about 30 minutes after sunset and had no problems driving back out to the highway in the dark.
Definitely need a high-clearance vehicle to get up this road. The Black Joe Mine Road runs right to the base of the west ridge of Mount Wilson.  The summit is not visible here.
Very fascinating plants! This is one of the larger barrel cacti in the area.
Expect lots of annoying elevation loss and/or sidehill bashing! There are many bumps along the west ridge.
Much nicer than driving over the congested Hoover Dam. The Mike O'Callaghan  Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (Hoover Dam Bypass) opened on 19 October 2010.  O'Callaghan was a former governor of Nevada, and Tillman was an Arizona football player who was killed while serving with the US Army in Afghanistan.
Still a lot of slogging ahead though! The summit of Mount Wilson finally comes into view.
And if you look carefully, you can spot Lava Butte! The snow-capped Spring Mountains and the Boulder Basin section of Lake Mead make for some eye-catching scenery to the west.
Looks like you could play football on the summit plateau. Fortification Hill is another prominent landmark near Lake Mead.
Some scrambling and route-finding are needed. The west ridge is more complex than a map would indicate.
I slipped and bashed my left elbow on a rock during one of these side hill bashes. OWWWW!!! Sonny circumvents yet another bump along the west ridge.  The true summit is further away than it looks in this photo.
This better not be another false summit!! This is the final slope before the summit.
Even the aliens loved Vegas! This pinnacle below the summit resembles one of the mysterious Easter Island monoliths.
Easy except for that annoying bush at the bottom! This chute provides access to the summit.
After all that, I'm still 400 metres LOWER than Heart Mountain! Sonny stands on the 1650-metre summit of Mount Wilson.
Say, isn't that Harry Morgan (from TV's M*A*S*H) on the cover of the "Dragnet" DVD? The summit register container is also a geocache.
Looks like smog over the city. The Spring Mountains and Las Vegas are visible to the west.
The high point is only about 20 metres lower than Mount Wilson's summit. The northern high point of Wilson Ridge dominates the view to the north.
And probably the only places you'll find any virgins in this neck of the woods! To the northeast is the part of Lake Mead known as Virgin Basin.  Virgin Peak is also visible on the horizon at left.
Wonder if anyone has ever traversed the entire length of Wilson Ridge... The southern half of Wilson Ridge stretches off to the distance at right.  Detrital Valley is the flat expanse to the southeast.  On the horizon left of centre is Mount Tipton.
And it ain't downhill all the way from here! This is Mount Wilson's west ridge as seen from the summit.
The end of another beautiful day in Mount Wilson Wilderness. The sun disappears over the western horizon.
A tougher scramble than it looks! This is the route as viewed in Google Earth.
The cairn marks a bypass route around one of the false summits along the ridge.

Total Distance:  11.4 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  7 hours 11 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  1016 metres

GPX Data