Forum Index > Trip Reports > 70 Peaks in 30 Days Ė Part 5 - March/April 2017
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Gimpilator
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PostMon May 01, 2017 9:56 am 
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Have you seen Part 4?

March 27
In the wee hours the wind picked up intensity until it was as if 3 people were standing outside my tent, shaking it violently.  I didnít even want to get up to pee for fear that it would blow away.  I waited for several hours hoping that it would die down.  It didnít.  What to do?

I was able to get cell service and I checked the forecast.  Bad newsÖ  Sustained 30 to 40 mph for two days with gusts of 60+.  Damn!  After a half hour of scouring every area within driving distance I found one pocket that had slightly less wind, the Dead Mountains.  My new plan was to detour to the Las Vegas area for several days and try to stay low until it blew over and I was able to return for the core Mojave peaks.

Mount Manchester
Manchester is the highest peak in the Dead Mountains.  Itís far removed from any road access.  I had to cross many miles of desert before I came to the base of the range.  Homer Mountain rose up behind me.  As I approached the west ridge I noticed a riot of wildflowers.  The ridge went nicely and boulders were rarely an impediment.  From the summit I had a good view of Spirit Mountain to the north as well at the town of Riviera on the Colorado River.

Manchester far away
Manchester far away
Homer
Homer
west ridge
west ridge
upper west ridge
upper west ridge
summit visible
summit visible
Spirit
Spirit
Riviera
Riviera

Morning Glory Mountain and Light Benchmark
In the late afternoon during my drive to Lake Meade I stopped to check out a couple of rare little peaklets behind the town of Searchlight.  Morning Glory didnít have a register but Light Benchmark did, including an old empty bottle of spirits.  It was a sort of puzzle to see if I could get the register out, which was wider than the neck of the bottle.  I managed it with the pen from inside my pack.  As the sun dipped low in the sky it illuminated Spirit Mountain, highlighting the features.

Light Benchmark
Light Benchmark
Morning Glory
Morning Glory
Light seen from Morning Glory
Light seen from Morning Glory
Light summit block
Light summit block
Morning Glory seen from Light
Morning Glory seen from Light
Ireteba Peaks
Ireteba Peaks
odd register puzzle
odd register puzzle
nice light on Spirit
nice light on Spirit

March 28
Frenchman Mountain and Frenchman South
This mountain rises proudly above the Las Vegas valley and is known locally as Sunrise Mountain.  If you talk to the locals about Frenchman Mountain, they wonít have the slightest clue.  I was discouraged for years from trying this peak because reports talk about a fence that keeps you away from the towers on the summit.


the pass
the pass
main peak visible above a high basin
main peak visible above a high basin

I hiked up the north road over a pass, down into a high basin and then up to the main peak.  The fence was there, but access to the summit was simple by making an exposed step around move over the nearly vertical east face.  The high point over at the south summit was outside a second fence.  I had a good view of the Muddy Mountains as well as Lake Meade and Mount Wilson from these summits.

looking back at the Sunrise peaks
looking back at the Sunrise peaks
looking towards the south peak from inside the main peak fence
looking towards the south peak from inside the main peak fence
Vegas
Vegas
south summit
south summit
Muddy Mountains
Muddy Mountains
Lake Meade and Wilson
Lake Meade and Wilson
Railroad and Black
Railroad and Black

Sunrise Northwest Peak aka Airway Beacon
Following the road back to the pass, I ascended the northwest peak.  It was a fun ridge and narrow in places, but already becoming very windy.


Gass and Hayford
Gass and Hayford
summit ahead
summit ahead
view back to Frenchman
view back to Frenchman

Sunrise Northeast Peak
I backtracked to the saddle and ascended the steep rubbly northeast peak before descending.

looking back at the northwest peak
looking back at the northwest peak
Lava Butte
Lava Butte

Mount Wilson
After the Frenchman Peaks I drove over to Mount Wilson in Arizona.  The wind was gaining intensity and I tried to ignore it.  I ascended the southwest ridge from Black Joe Mine Road.  This was a nice rugged ridge with several high points along the way before the peak.

southwest ridge above
southwest ridge above
summit barely visible
summit barely visible
strawberry pincushion cactus
strawberry pincushion cactus
Wilson
Wilson
looking down the ridge
looking down the ridge
looking up the ridge
looking up the ridge

Right at the very top, I found the route crux to be a short scramble.  To the northeast I could see Virgin Peak and beyond Sentinel Island, there was Frenchman which pretty small from this vantage.  Charleston and Mummy were capped with snow.  On the way down I photographed a rock shaped like the stone men on Easter Island (currently reading Aku-Aku).

Virgin
Virgin
Fortification Hill and North Wilson
Fortification Hill and North Wilson
the long southwest ridge
the long southwest ridge
view south
view south
Frenchman and Sentinel Island
Frenchman and Sentinel Island
Charleston and Mummy
Charleston and Mummy
Easter Island
Easter Island

March 29
Black Mountain
This peak is not very interesting, but it does have a trail to the top.  From the summit I could see the next objective Railroad Peak.

Black
Black
Railroad Range with Wilson Range behind
Railroad Range with Wilson Range behind
summit
summit

Railroad Peak
I accessed the railroad range from the west.  I hiked a wash south along the base of the mountains toward the saddle west of the peak.  I heard rocks falling above and stopped to watch several sheep moving to a place away from my line of sight.

the peak and pass
the peak and pass
pass above
pass above

I ascended to the pass north of the peak going around a rocky promontory on the (left) north side.  From the pass, I scrambled up the north ridge which had some fun class 3 moves and was narrow near the end.  Below me, in one of the canyons on the east side, I could hear the rapid fire of fully automatic weapons.  Someone was playing around down there.

sheep
sheep
nearing the pass
nearing the pass
start of the ridge
start of the ridge
Railroad summit
Railroad summit

Nice summit views, ecetera.  Gosh, this is a long report to write, lol.  During the descent I found another set of trekking poles, the second set of the trip and 3rd in a calendar year.  If there was any chance of someone still being out there and coming back for them, I would have left them, but there wasnít.  I contacted the last person to sign the summit register and he said they were there when he climbed it too.

view towards Black Hill a northern sub-peak
view towards Black Hill a northern sub-peak
Wilson
Wilson
Black Hill
Black Hill
view toward Vegas
view toward Vegas
Charleston and Mummy
Charleston and Mummy
Muddy
Muddy
Virgin
Virgin
Black
Black
Frenchman
Frenchman
Maid of Rubble
Maid of Rubble
back down the ridge
back down the ridge
looking back up the ridge
looking back up the ridge
last glance back at the summit
last glance back at the summit
bounty!
bounty!

March 30
Manganese Peak aka Jimbilnan Wilderness High Point
This was forecasted to be the worst day for wind, even in the lowlands around Lake Meade.  I started early from Boathouse Cove Road, a very rough drive.  The sunrise alpenglow on the Redstone Peaks was really exciting.  Heather and I had just been there a few months prior.

Redstone Peaks
Redstone Peaks
below the ridge
below the ridge
Manganese
Manganese

I climbed the north ridge of Manganese to the summit, which was an outstanding viewpoint.  The Cleopatra Paleovolcano peaklets never fail to impress me.  To the north and west there was a killer view of the Redstone Peaks and Sentinel Peak, Pyramid, and Boothís Pinnacle.

Booths Pinnacle and Pyramid
Booths Pinnacle and Pyramid
Cathedral and Virgin
Cathedral and Virgin
almost to the top
almost to the top
Cathedral
Cathedral
River Mountain
River Mountain
The Sentinel
The Sentinel
Redstone
Redstone
Lake Meade
Lake Meade
Guardian Peaks
Guardian Peaks

Sunlight was reflecting oddly off the lake.  To northeast I could see the Cathedral Peaks, a remote area I was very excited to explore next.  But could I beat the wind?  I didnít want to be scrambling loose exposed volcanic rock on the Cathedral summit block while there were strong gusts.

last look at Cathedral
last look at Cathedral
Boathouse Cove below
Boathouse Cove below

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1142 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostMon May 01, 2017 9:56 am 
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Cathedral Peaks High Point
I rushed back to the car.  It was still early morning.  I parked back near the start of Boathouse Cove Road and started my traverse northeast towards the peaks.  I crossed a number of small washes and navigated through the outer foothills and canyons which bar direct access to the area.

the traverse
the traverse
Dodder
Dodder
scourge
scourge
bad things can happen
bad things can happen

Like many other areas I passed through on this trip, the Custcuta Dodder was really bad.  I could see it choking the life out of everything by stealing all the nutrients, even the small groundcover plants.  I entered the canyon west of the west peak at a tricky little dryfall.  I made an ascending traverse toward a large gendarme pinnacle and then turned up towards the west peak.

west peak above
west peak above
large gendarme
large gendarme
overlooking the west canyon
overlooking the west canyon
Manganese
Manganese

I froze again and held perfectly still.  There was a bighorn sheep right above.  If you donít startle them, sometimes theyíll stick around a little longer.  After a minute or so, it had clearly had enough of me and wandered out of sight.  As I came around the bend right below the summit of the west peak I startled a group of about 6 sheep that were very close.  They rushed to get away from me.

Virgin
Virgin
Manganese
Manganese
main Cathedral summit
main Cathedral summit
looking back at the west peak
looking back at the west peak

I could see the main peak a half mile still to the east.  It looked pretty cool with wildflowers and cliffs and whatnot.  I didnít choose the best line of ascent and ended on a crumbly knife-edge with heavy exposure.  But later I found the correct way down.  The lake was very close!  In fact this was the closest I had ever been to the lake during a hike.  Views were amazing, etcetera.  To the west, the Muddy Mountains, etcetera.  dizzy.gif

getting closer
getting closer
summit
summit
Redstone Peaks
Redstone Peaks
Virgin
Virgin
Muddy
Muddy

The register was placed in 2008 and was signed again in 2016.  So I was the 3rd ascent in 9 years.  Groovy.  I rushed back to the car hoping to beat the impending wind Armageddon.  I made it most of the way back before it blasted me.  I put in earplugs to shut out the noise.  It was weird to watch all the plants shaking around me with my stifled hearing.

the correct way down
the correct way down
a last look
a last look
back down the canyon
back down the canyon
more Dodder
more Dodder

I spent most of the rest of the day sitting in the car watching dust blot out a lot of the sunlight.  The next day at the grocery store in Vegas, people were still talking about the big storm.

here comes the dust
here comes the dust
I wore a dust mask most of the day
I wore a dust mask most of the day

March 31
Iím going to make a long story short here.  I spent half the day driving harrowing road remnants trying to access the Bristol Mountains from the north.  I drove over the top of a number of sketchy sand dunes and across dry lakes.  I had to do a 14 mile detour on roads that officially donít exist, just to get around some damned train tracks that nobody built a road crossing for at Crucero.  It was not a good idea.  I probably shouldnít have been driving out there in a car, despite the map indicating an old road.  Note: you should access the Bristol Mountains from the south.

much of the drive was like this
much of the drive was like this

Eventually I got to the starting point I wanted for Bristol in the afternoon, but by then another dust/wind storm had whipped up and I didnít feel like sucking in dust all day.  Thatís the short version.  The wind pattern was just unrelenting and I was running out of time because I had to meet a friend soon.  All those core Mojave peaks would have to wait for a future trip.  frown.gif

another dust storm  :mad:
another dust storm  mad.gif

Sleeping Beauty
Plan B.  I drove out of the Bristol Mountains on the southern approach roads which were in great shape.  My consolation prize was a little peak in the Cady Mountains called Sleeping Beauty.  The peak has bands of red and blue/green rock which is kind of fun to hike over.  By the time I got to the summit, the dust storm had caught up to me and I sucked in a bunch of it.  There was dust all the way to the very edge of the desert in 29 Palms that night, and evening sunlight carried a strange orange color.

Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty
nice colors
nice colors
the dust caught up with me
the dust caught up with me

April 1
Palomar Mountain
For years Iíve been waiting for the forest service to open the road so I could drive up this peak.  Itís open sometimes, but never if Iím in the area.  Most people visit the observatory, but thatís not at the summit.  A trespassing route exists from the observatory to the summit, but it sounds like a hassle.  So I hiked the round-trip 13 miles of road in 3.5 hours, stopping twice to observe lizards.  Hot spots from a recent fire were still smoldering right next to a smoky the bear sign.  The summit has a fire lookout.

a century plant bloom?
a century plant bloom?
...Good Business!
...Good Business!
cute little monster
cute little monster

April 2
Bishop Peak
My buddy Keith invited me to join him for his list finish of the Sierra Club LPC which he has been working for several years.  Itís about 80 peaks, but sometimes one peak or another gets temporarily suspended because of access issues.  Keith posts a local blog as the Iron Hiker and is well known in the Orange County hiking community.  It was an honor to be invited on this important outing and not something I wanted to miss out on.

Bishop
Bishop

We started with Bishop Peak which had a technical 5.6 climb at the top.  The Sierra Club has this goofy rule that you donít have to climb challenging summit blocks to officially count them.  I understand the reason for the rule because a number of people have died on Bishop Peak, but that wasnít going to satisfy Keith, or me.

Keith
Keith

Bishop Peak is the highest peak of the Nine Sisters which are also known as The Morros.  The peaks are volcanic magma plugs from the Miocene Epoch.  Most people settle for the eastern false summit of Bishop and we started with that, which is class 3.

summit from false summit
summit from false summit

We were above the clouds on this glorious morning and it was a memorable sight.  I felt so strange to be out of the desert and back in a world of green, surrounded by other hikers.  No more desolation.  No more isolation.  I had missed the forest without realizing it, but now I missed the desert again, already.

summit boulder
summit boulder

Poison oak was everywhere!  I was grateful to Keith for showing me what it looked like so I could try to avoid it.  We went over to the summit boulder.  In some ways it was similar to the one on Manly, but without a chimney option.

Bishop summit
Bishop summit
The Morrows
The Morrows

We roped up and I led the climb and established an anchor at the bolts on top.  I asked Keith if he minded me taking a few photos of him climbing with the one hand while never taking him off belay with the other hand.  He was fine with that.


It was a cool summit to share with a friend.  He had now climbed the most technical peak on the list and there were only two left!

Cerro Alto
A pleasant little hike.  We took a wrong turn at one of the confusing trail junctions and had to backtrack for 200 vertical feet.  Below us we could see that there were still clouds to the west over the ocean.  Now Keith had only one peak left!

2 to go
2 to go
1 left now
1 left now

Valencia Peak
This peak is right on the coast and we could hear the waves crash for the first mile or so.  Keith had hoped that with enough time, the clouds would burn off so we could have a view of Morrow Rock but it was not to be.

Finished!
Finished!

Keith finished the list in the clouds and it was slightly anti-climatic.  But I couldnít help feeling jubilant to witness his accomplishment in person.  Iíve never finished a long peak list myself, but Iíve witnessed several finishes over the years and its always a special event, clouds or not.

Conclusion

After Valencia I went on to meet up with other friends and bag a bunch more peaks in CA before returning to WA, but that is another story.  My total driving distance was 6327 miles, including one stop for major maintenance on the car.  Hope you enjoyed this excessively long trip report, which followed a whole month of my life.  Thanks for reading along!   And hereís a few bonus photos from other hikes just for the heck of it.  Thatís a California Coastal King Snake.


--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Abert
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PostMon May 01, 2017 11:30 am 
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I was just missing you in the Mojave.  I did get my Subaru to the wash on the east side of Old Dad on the 29th on the E-W road south of where you parked.  Late afternoon after a long hot (at least to me) day and I was feeling crummy but I kept telling myself I could get up 1400' regardless of how I felt but when things got complicated trying to find a way up the gully system I finally admitted it wasn't happening.  The road was bad enough that I just wanted out at that point so I moved on to other things rather than spend the night in the car and try again in the morning.

Did you pass the abandoned motorcycle on the way to your Providence Benchmark trail head?  I liked how the helmet was still there.  Like the rider wasn't just leaving a broken machine but was done with motorcycling forever.

The night of the 30th when there were 80 mph winds in Las Vegas I was in Mid Hills Campground in the most protected campsite I could find and happy to be in the back of the car and not a tent.  That afternoon I'd gone up Peak 5875 above the campground and gotten knocked around by the wind.  I've been in 60 mph winds several times and the gusts were considerably stronger than that.

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Photos
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine



Joined: 10 May 2005
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostMon May 01, 2017 12:13 pm 
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Gimp, your passion for peakbagging is formidable!  Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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tekewin
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tekewin
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PostMon May 01, 2017 4:41 pm 
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Many thanks for leading on Bishop. I could not have done it without you. I'm glad you were there to share the list finish with me. The whole day was a time I'll never forget, from my first sport climb to the $33 parking ticket!

I'm still in awe at the raw number of peaks you bagged in a month, including that marathon day on Rabbit. Great work!  up.gif
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Gimpilator
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Gimpilator
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PostWed May 03, 2017 9:47 am 
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Abert wrote:
Did you pass the abandoned motorcycle on the way to your Providence Benchmark trail head?† I liked how the helmet was still there.† Like the rider wasn't just leaving a broken machine but was done with motorcycling forever.

You mean this one?


The helmet also got me to thinking and I kind of came to the same conclusion.  I'm impressed that you were able to drive around the foothills of Old Dad to reach the main access wash.  It seems like all the research I did and people I talked to didn't help me this time.  Instead it just freaked me out to the point where I didn't even want to try it in a Subaru.

I too made certain plans so that I could stay out of the wind on the night of the 30th.  There are some secret places I camp at in the desert, so I don't have to pay for hotels.

Mesahchie Mark wrote:
Gimp, your passion for peakbagging is formidable!  Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

Thanks Mark!

And thanks Keith!  I'm really glad we were able to make it work at the end of my trip after not being able to do it at the beginning.  Bishop made for a special day and your accomplishment is a big one.  Congratulations again.   smile.gif

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http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Nancyann
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PostWed May 03, 2017 10:36 am 
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I've really enjoyed reading through your desert trip TR's today. The evening and morning light pictures are especially nice, also the wildflowers, bighorn sheep and even fossils. 😊 What were the average temperatures during the day and night in the areas you explored?
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Magellan
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Magellan
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PostWed May 03, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Great hiking and climbing Gimpy.  up.gif  up.gif  Thanks for taking the time to write it up. The desert is so different from what we grew up with.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > 70 Peaks in 30 Days Ė Part 5 - March/April 2017
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