Spirit Mountain, Charleston Peak
By: Bill Banks
About 7:30 a.m. Steve Smith, Art DeGoede, Ed Stork and myself embarked on our climb of Spirit. We split into two groups, one attempting the ridge and the other dropping down the west side and proceeding to the broad gully on the west side of the range below the summit. In spite of the topo the ridge is nearly impossible. The topo presents it as fairly broad and level. It's neither, except the very last portion. Whether you climb from the east or west the best approach is to hike almost to the last gully before the summit and then ascend. The climb is interesting but easily 2nd class. The view of the Colorado River, Charleston, New York Mountain, etc. is spectacular. This is one of the better desert peaks. Climbing time: 3 and 1/2 hours.
The climb of Charleston was made up Deer Creek Trail to the North Loop to Charleston Peak Trail: Climbing time: 4 and 1/2 hours. The trail starts out as a jeep road, veers to the right and soon becomes very narrow. The weather rapidly deteriorated. The summit was incredibly cold and the wind fierce. Soon after reaching the summit the sky fell in. It snowed in sheets driven by blizzard winds, while far below in the valley the warm sun shone brightly. I limped out in four hours on my ailing ankle and knee with the aid of a couple of tree branches. Once again the challenge proved to be more than the conquest.
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