A Loop of The Monument, Hidden Peak and Black Velvet Peak...and More!

The Monument (right) from the trailhead

Matthew Holliman is well on his way to becoming the only person to ever dayhike all 248 peaks on the Sierra Club's 'Sierra Peaks Section' list. This is a notable endeavor. He and I made plans to meet up early one morning for his first trip to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. I was excited, as I'd come to know the NCA rather well and I enjoy leading folks to areas they'd never known before...and Red Rock Canyon is particularly special!

Meeting at the gas station at the junction of NV-160/159, we headed to the trailhead, arriving just as the sun rose and lit our objective up. It was spectacular. Making good time into Black Velvet Canyon, we gazed up at the massive Black Velvet Wall, home of Epinephrine, one of Red Rock's classic multi-pitch climbing routes, and soon reached our point of departure from the canyon.

The scrambling up the south face of Hidden Peak was enjoyable, and it wasn't long before we were on its summit. We then contoured around to the peak's north side and made the traverse toward The Monument. As it turned out, The Monument's route was highly enjoyable, the route-finding a blast, and the views among the best I've seen in the park.

Making the final push to the summit, we surmounted a short wall and found ourselves staring at a large and stunning tinaja (a water-filled catch basin in the sandstone). Just beyond, we scrambled up the final boulder that marked the highpoint of the mountain.
The tinaja just below the summit

Returning to Hidden Peak, we decided that it would be fun to contour around the limestone over to Black Velvet Peak. I'd done Black Velvet Peak from the canyon a couple years earlier and found it enjoyable. Why not try this way?

The traverse went quickly, and before long, we were regaining the sandstone that led out to Black Velvet, climbing through a short tunnel leading to the summit ridge. Then a quick hike to the highpoint. Awesome views!

Dropping east from the summit, we picked up a use trail that dropped us down to the Black Velvet-Whiskey Peak saddle. We considered bagging Whiskey, but it looked uninteresting ('course I returned later that year and did it anyway). Instead, we continued down the good use trail to our vehicles. A fine day out...or, for Matthew, a fine half-day out.

After we parted ways and I headed home for an early dinner, Matthew went off and bagged Lone Mountain via the easy 5th class south ridge direct and then hiked up Frenchman Mountain in time to see the sunset. An animal!