Forum Index > Trip Reports > Valley Of Fire State Park Desert Finale Nov 28-30, 2016
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John Morrow
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PostWed Dec 14, 2016 9:03 am 
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The final report of my Nov 2016 Mojave Desert Region travels.

Valley of Fire is a Nevada State Park 30 miles NE of Vegas, known for its crazy fiery sandstone formations and prolific petroglyph panels.  I'd never have given it a peakbagging thought if it were not for Courtney Purcell's Rambles and Scrambles Guidebook.  Glad I picked it up 'cause it is a wealth of fun and interesting ideas.

The campground is spendy, but pleasant and with nice showers ($20).  the fee covers the $10 daily entry fee so, in essence, it is a wash.  Arriving in early afternoon, I had enough time to set up the tent and head to the Silica Dome Trailhead for a nice 4 mile loop connecting Baseline Mesa 2388' with Silica Dome 2349'.  My route essentially followed old jeep roads (closed to motors) visible on Google Earth.  They led to fine slabby Class 2 scramble finishes on frictiony sandstone.  Good Times for a sunset setting.

At the campground:

Campground bighorn
Campground bighorn
Campground arch
Campground arch
AR 1
AR 1
AR 2
AR 2
AR 3
AR 3
AR 4
AR 4
AR 5
AR 5
AR 6
AR 6
AR 7
AR 7
VoFBaseline
VoFBaseline
V of F Wash
V of F Wash
Heading to Baseline Mesa
Heading to Baseline Mesa
North route up Baseline
North route up Baseline
Route up
Route up
Great color. Valley of Fire State Park, NV
Great color. Valley of Fire State Park, NV
Returning to Silica Dome
Returning to Silica Dome
View north
View north
Silica Dome slab scramble
Silica Dome slab scramble
Dusk sets in
Dusk sets in
Last sun
Last sun

Nov 30:  Something called The Orphan 2280'  Class 3/4.  Then Valley of Fire Summit 2972'  Class 3/4 North Rib, and finally North Muddy Mountains Highpoint 3694' easy Class 2 limestone.

First was the drive to the end of the scenic road at the White Domes TH.  The area and climb is a maze of fins that confused me for a long while before I finally figured out my mistakes and where the true summit of The Orphan was.  A GPS waypoint would have assisted here.  Fun friction scrambling to the summit.

The Orphan
The Orphan
At camp!
At camp!
Starting out of White Domes TH
Starting out of White Domes TH
Which one is "The Orphan"
Which one is "The Orphan"
Orphan scramble
Orphan scramble
View from Orphan
View from Orphan
Back in Manganese Wash
Back in Manganese Wash
Peaks north
Peaks north

Back to camp for lunch and then a scramble of Valley of Fire Summit.  Another maze and confusing approach to a fine final friction scramble from the north.

North Muddy Highpoint
North Muddy Highpoint
Art toward V of F Summit
Art toward V of F Summit
SW Gully route to VoF Summit
SW Gully route to VoF Summit
Top of gully
Top of gully
Scrambling the North Ridge
Scrambling the North Ridge
On top looking north
On top looking north
Silica Dome and Baseline Mesa mazelike terrain
Silica Dome and Baseline Mesa mazelike terrain
Route
Route
Descending slabby terrain
Descending slabby terrain
Crux friction move
Crux friction move
Descending
Descending
V of F Summit and route
V of F Summit and route
Secret Canyon
Secret Canyon
Back down the gully
Back down the gully
Valley of Fire Summit
Valley of Fire Summit
AR1
AR1
AR2
AR2
AR3
AR3

I chose a short 45 minute Class 2 SW approach on good solid limestone to the summit of the N. Muddy Mountain Highpoint to my final desert sunset for a while.

N. Muddy Mountains Highpoint
N. Muddy Mountains Highpoint
Nice sunset Class 2 scramble
Nice sunset Class 2 scramble
Into the limestone mountains
Into the limestone mountains
Good solid scrambling
Good solid scrambling
Low angle friction fun
Low angle friction fun
On Top!
On Top!
Campground below and beyond
Campground below and beyond
The Pinnacles and Mormon Mtns
The Pinnacles and Mormon Mtns
Mormon Mountains distant
Mormon Mountains distant
Sun on Virgin Peak
Sun on Virgin Peak
The North Muddys
The North Muddys
Last sun
Last sun
Great sunset
Great sunset
NW Ridge descent
NW Ridge descent
Valley Of Fire State Park, NV
Valley Of Fire State Park, NV

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Sculpin
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PostWed Dec 14, 2016 10:41 am 
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up.gif

You drove up in the afternoon and found a campsite?  Guess I should go in November and not the last week of March. 

Went there for the first time last Spring and loved it, but oh my it was mobbed.   eek.gif  More Germans, French and Italians than Americans.  We chatted with a German guy who was ecstatic to be there in the warm sunshine rather than back home in Klohschlussel in the gloom.

In Spring, you pretty much need to be at the campground at 9 am and lurk until someone leaves.  When we got there and it was full, we decided to just rough camp outside the park.  That did not work out for us because we were not desperate enough to pitch tents along a steep, dusty service road in sight and sound of the highway.  We ended up at a cheap motel nearby, then moved to the campground the next morning.

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Even my best friends, they don't know, that my job is turning lead into gold. When you hear that engine drone, I'm on the road again, and I'm searching for the philosopher's stone - Van Morrison
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Abert
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PostWed Dec 14, 2016 1:56 pm 
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Sculpin wrote:
You drove up in the afternoon and found a campsite?  Guess I should go in November and not the last week of March.

I don't know that it's seasonal.  In my experience, John should teach a master class in obtaining camp sites in campgrounds that seem perpetually full to those of us who are less adept.

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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Dec 14, 2016 2:48 pm 
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A lot of the Utah State Parks take reservations and only have a couple no reserve sites. I now Kodachrome Basin is like this I do not know about Valley of Fire. Usually we try for NF or BLM.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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sticky buns
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PostWed Dec 14, 2016 10:22 pm 
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So that's what I missed, huh? Now I know to get off the trails, too.

Love that slabby stuff, even if to only admire the steeper sections with my eyes instead of feet. And the bighorn!! And the bighorn petros! And the frogman from your other post! And the red barrel cacti! And the final sunset!! And the blue sky!

Looks like a good ending to a good trip.

Thanks for the virtual tour.

Sculpin & Abert, I drove into Kodachrome in the late afternoon in early November, and it was amazingly empty. The 9 am lurk served me well in Canyonlands NP in April though.
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puzzlr
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PostThu Dec 15, 2016 6:14 pm 
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For a while I was archiving your SW destination posts for future travel plans. Now I've given up. I'll just need good karma so a future life ends up living in that area with the time to visit all these amazing places. Thanks for the reports though. It's nice to see the variety of places besides the big name spots like Arches and Canyonlands.

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John Morrow
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PostFri Dec 16, 2016 8:11 am 
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Hello all,
Thanks for the comments!  Regarding the camping.  I placed a bet that post-Thanksgiving holiday weekend with temps below freezing, and moderate frontal winds, the campground population would dwindle some.  Also thought one of the 3 "walk in" sites would be unoccupied.  My assumptions worked out...this time.
As Abert insinuates, in the desert, sometimes drastic measures must be taken (all legal, of course) in order to snag a campsite!  Travelling solo helps because I 'd hesitate to subject a partner to such measures.  You know...pre dawn packing and drives to the next spot, interviewing each camp for exit date, asking to place a chair in a site before the occupants have even packed up, etc... It is cutthroat out there.

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Gimpilator
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PostSat Jan 05, 2019 5:05 pm 
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I can see that your approach for Valley of Fire Peak is probably more efficient than the way we went a few days ago.  I actually wondered if that way would work, just from looking at the map, but we didn't try it, and didn't see your map until now.

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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

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Eric Hansen
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PostSun Jan 06, 2019 10:34 am 
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Colorock Quarry, southwest of V of F Pk, and on the edge of the Muddy Mts., was a good spot to car camp 20 years ago when I was regularly there. Nearby Hidden Valley well worthwhile.
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John Morrow
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PostSun Jan 06, 2019 4:20 pm 
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Eric Hansen wrote:
Colorock Quarry, southwest of V of F Pk, and on the edge of the Muddy Mts., was a good spot to car camp 20 years ago when I was regularly there. Nearby Hidden Valley well worthwhile.

Love that spot.  Still very nice camping although I found the access road deeply rutted with large imbedded rock that challenged my rental Nissan Rogue SUV at the time.  Hidden Valley is indeed special and look forward to getting back in there even with a longer approach hike.  Found some deep tank water in the sandstone.

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Eric Hansen
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 1:03 pm 
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Hidden Valley is powerful medicine. Colorock Quarry was my solar shower place before returning to McCarren to fly home. Got a vivid memory of spraying shaving lotion into my hand and it evaporating before I could dab it on my face.
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John Morrow
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PostTue Jan 08, 2019 2:00 pm 
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Eric Hansen wrote:
Hidden Valley is powerful medicine. Colorock Quarry was my solar shower place before returning to McCarren to fly home. Got a vivid memory of spraying shaving lotion into my hand and it evaporating before I could dab it on my face.


Indeed!

Kachina?
Kachina?
Alcove1
Alcove1
Picto-Petro
Picto-Petro
In Hidden Valley
In Hidden Valley

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Valley Of Fire State Park Desert Finale Nov 28-30, 2016
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