Six Peak Circuit Adventure In the Spring Mountains, Nevada
Harris Mountain (10,014ft), Griffith Peak (11,056ft), Charleston Peak (11,918ft), Lee Peak (11,289ft), Mummy Mountain (11,528ft), Fletcher Peak (10,319ft)
First Attempt at the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
Overview of the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure in the Spring Mountains, Nevada
Peaks included in the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
The Six Peak Circuit in the Spring Mountains of Southern Nevada begins at the Trail Canyon Trailhead with a quick jog to the South Climb Trailhead, then directly up to Harris Mountain (peak #1), down the saddle and up to Griffith Peak (peak #2), across the top of the South Ridge of Kyle Canyon to Charleston Peak (peak #3), down the North Loop Trail to Lee Peak (peak #4), across the North Ridge of Kyle Canyon and over to Mummy Mountain (peak #5), down the Eastern cliff of Mummy Mountain and across to Raintree, up to Fletcher Peak (peak #6) and back down to the starting point at the Trail Canyon Trailhead.
Level of Exertion for the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
Each of the six peaks are over 10,000ft in elevation with Harris Mountain the lowest at 10,014ft and Charleston Peak the highest at 11,918ft. Once I finish streamlining the wilderness routes I will measure the distance exactly with a measuring wheel, but for now my estimate based on distances I have measured is that the entire Six Peak Circuit is around 30 miles with a total elevation gain of about 10,000ft taking into account the elevation gain and loss along the route. The level of exertion is about 3 times the exertion of doing the traditional Charleston Peak loop trail.
Skills Needed for the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
The skills you will need in order to accomplish the Six Peak Circuit are:
- Ultra Marathon Conditioning (30 miles with 10,000ft overall elevation gain)
- 12,000ft Altitude Conditioning (Most of the time you will be operating at over 11,000ft)
- Avalanche Slope Navigation Skills
- Class 3-4 climbing skills down the Eastern cliff of Mummy Mountain and a brief portion of the route up Griffith Peak
- Wilderness Navigation Skills (4 wilderness areas, three of which are between 2-7 miles in length)
- Night Navigation Skills (things look very different in the dark!)
Time Commitment for the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
My first attempt in June of 2020 included Harris Mountain, Griffith Peak, Charleston Peak and Lee Peak. My conditioning was not ideal and the wilderness routes were not fully streamlined. My timing was off with a late start that ensured I would be traveling in total darkness from half way between Griffith Peak to Charleston Peak all the way through Lee Peak. These factors slowed me down considerably. Traveling down the North side of Charleston Peak in the dark with so many treacherous drop-offs was very slow going. As usual, I slowed down to film about 1 hour of video with another 30 minutes for picture taking and fairly exhausted took two 1-hour brief sleep breaks and a 30-minute rest break at each summit (3.5 non-moving hours). In total the first attempt including only 4 peaks took 21.5 hours! The stretch up Harris Mountain and over to Griffith Peak summit alone requires about 133% of the exertion of the entire Charleston Loop with Griffith Peak added!
Time Commitment Goal for the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
My goal is that with more streamlined wilderness routes and better conditioning it will be possible for me to accomplish the Six-Peak Circuit in between 15 and 17 hours as follows:
- Trail Canyon Trailhead to Griffith Peak: 5 Hours
- Griffith Peak to Charleston Peak: 2 Hours
- Charleston Peak to Lee Peak: 1.5 Hours
- Lee Peak to Mummy Mountain: 2 Hours
- Mummy Mountain to Raintree: 2 Hours
- Raintree to Fletcher Peak: 1.5 Hours
- Fletcher Peak to Trail Canyon Trailhead: 1.5 Hours
Age Factor for the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
It’s only fair to take into account age as most running competitions are divided into age categories. At the time of my first attempt in 2020 my age was 2 months shy of 65. Those younger trail runners I see on the Charleston Loop traveling very light with 2 water bottles strapped to their shoulders and completing the Charleston Loop in around 5.5 hours could very well accomplish the Six-Peak Circuit in around 12 hours based on how they are able to streamline the wilderness routes, avalanche slopes and cliff portions of the adventure. I look forward to hearing their results!
For more detailed strategy view my page entitled 6-Peak Circuit Strategy.
Will the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure Ever Be an Official Race?
The answer to this question is currently, “No” based on the wilderness event rules of the National Forest Service. There are no official events allowed in wilderness areas. I believe that a well-planned “leave no trace” event is possible, but you know how these things go. It’s easier for officials to hold the line and just say “no”, rather than open the door to an official run which would be followed by other events less well planned and the next thing you know the pristine wilderness is trashed. I get it. I love the wilderness. I leave no trace. And the wilderness is beautiful to the extent it is well managed.
However, watch this site for some intriguing and challenging non-wilderness routes that include some prominent local Southern Nevada peaks! I’m working on streamlining one route in particular to be unveiled in the next couple years. Top secret for now!
So, at this time the Six Peak Circuit Adventure and a few other circuit adventures and “grand crossings” will need to remain an individual challenge for those who simply love the wilderness and love attempting ultra-challenging adventures and wilderness immersion experiences on their own.
Which Peaks Are in the Six-Peak Circuit in the Spring Mountains, Nevada?
In order of ascent:
- Harris Mountain (10,014ft)
- Griffith Peak (11,056ft)
- Charleston Peak (11,918ft)
- Lee Peak (11,289ft)
- Mummy Mountain (11,528ft)
- Fletcher Peak (10,319ft)
First Attempt of the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure
I planned the first attempt of the Six-Peak Circuit Adventure to take 2 days and include a 7-hour night darkness stretch. So, I began at 10:15am on a Friday and ended up only accomplishing the first 4 peaks, then returning to the trailhead by 7:30am on Saturday.
The adventure began at the Trail Canyon Trailhead.
Areas to Streamline Adding Time Savings and Daylight on the Back End of the Adventure:
- Start at 4:30am vs. 10:15am: 5.25 hours
- Stick to roads in the Rainbow Sub-Division vs. Avalanche Slopes Above: 20-30 minutes
- Take the more direct ridge to Harris Mountain Summit (just to the right of the ridge I took this day): 1hr
- Avoid getting hung up in the brush descending to the Harris/Griffith saddle: 15 minutes
- Avoid getting hung up in the cliffs ascending to Griffith Peak: 45 minutes
- Accomplish the route from Griffith Peak to Lee Peak in daylight: 3 hours
- More route familiarity and all daylight allows more running: 2 hours
Total Time Savings: 12 hours 45 minutes puts me at Lee Peak around 2pm, leaving an additional 6 hours of light which would at least get me to Raintree and established trails in daylight for the remainder of the adventure.