Bridge Mt is a very prominent skyline feature in the Red Rocks National Conservation Area, a mere 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. While Red Rocks is one of the most popular climbing areas in the US, this not commonly climbed because it's not technical enough for climbers and too technical for hikers. Thus, it's one of the ten best summits in North America for the intrepid.
Other route descriptions spend time describing how to drive up the approach road - don't do that - the FKT route starts at the exact edge of the pavement down in the parking lot, goes up the 4WD road (easier to run than drive), to the saddle and a trailhead sign. Follow the trail up to a ridge where the view explodes and the fun begins. Descend significantly into the red slickrock, and marvel at the intimidating route up ahead - "You will swear it is 5.8, but remarkably it is only 3rd class." - Mountain Project. It's actually serious 4th class, but is on beautiful high quality rock. The route to the summit is amazingly complex from there, going past the namesake and spectacular bridge, a huge tinaja (pothole), a hidden Ponderosa Pine forest, and more exposed scrambling, including short descents while ascending.
Las Vegas is plainly visible in the distance. Don't try this in summer, when it's wet, or if you're not comfortable with exposure while on rock.
Northeast Arete (5.5, 23 miles TH-TH, submitted by Travis Soares):
The Northeast Arete of Bridge Mountain is an adventurous and awesome journey! The climb itself offers 800 feet of sustained and high quality 5.5 climbing. It was first climbed by Richard Harrison and Sal Mamusia many moons ago. The approach is a bit long and scrambly but is worth it for this great route! For any mountaineer/alpine climber this is a must do if in the Red Rock area!
The main objectives for this FKT route are:
1. Start at Icebox Canyon TH
2. Climb the Northeast Arete
3. Summit Bridge Mountain
4. Return via any route.
I am curious to how other mountain athletes choose to approach/descend off the route. There seem to be many ways to go. My partner and I opted to follow the Bridge Mountain ridge for the approach and descend the "trail" down the backside creating a lovely loop. I think this may have been inefficient. We just wanted to explore a bit and of course see the famous namesake bridge for the mountain. Enjoy the adventure!
Northeast Arete photos by Travis Soares