Forum Index > Trip Reports > 70 Peaks in 30 Days Ė Part 2 - March 2017
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1155 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostWed Apr 19, 2017 2:24 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Have you seen Part 1?

March 7
Mecca Hill BM (attempt) and Painted Canyon
This was the first day of the trip that I felt the fatigue.  The previous day had been in the neighborhood of 25 miles and 9k elevation.  I decided to take it easy and started with explorations of Painted Canyon.  This place was not on my radar until the day of.  It was just a geologic feature I noticed in Google Maps and decided to check it out.


Right away on the drive in I was amazed.  What an awesome place!  There are numerous canyons to explore in this area it would take several days to see it all, but the 3 main branches from the end of the road parking area are what I started with.  I found two main sets of narrows and ladders all over the place in the spots where dry falls would have blocked passage.  Send me a PM if you want a map of where the best narrows are and I will create one for you.

view full size to see people for scale
view full size to see people for scale

After playing on ladders for the first half of the day, I decided it was time for a peak.  The nearest decent summit was Mecca Hill Benchmark.  From the same parking area, I hiked into the large canyon to the northwest.

20 foot dryfall :(
20 foot dryfall frown.gif

The topo map for this area which I had loaded on my phone looked rather odd.  I tried to make a direct ascent on the southeast east side of the hill, but the large canyon divided up into smaller canyons the closer I got, and then there were cliffs and I was stopped completely by a 20 foot dryfall that was overhanging at the top and this time no ladder.  After that I tried to climb up onto a ridge, but it was badlands style dry mud, collapsing under me, and with some exposure.  Next I followed a different wash which narrowed into a slot canyon, entirely composed of dry mud.  Anything I touched collapsed.  I imagined being buried alive in dry mud.  My body would never be found.  I decided it was sketchy and got out of there.


Ok.  Plan B then.  I studied the map some more.  This was obviously not the right side for this hill.  I backtracked almost a mile to the main canyon and followed it northwest to near a pass which is northeast of the summit.  This side of the hill was all badlands.  My mileage was multiplied several times over because each wash that I followed curved like a worm back and forth.  To travel 100 yards I would actually walk 200 or 300 yards.

badlands
badlands

The peak was not far away now, maybe a half mile.  I could see good ridges leading up to the summit plateau, but getting to those ridges was still a puzzle.  These badlands were strange.  I tried to stay in the washes but they were winding so badly and very narrow.  They didnít take me where I wanted to go.  I crossed over some mud ridges and then I saw some worrisome holes in the mud and places where water had actually tunneled underneath and through the mud.


I was running out of time.  There was only about an hour and a half of daylight left.  I hadnít planned for this ascent to take so long.  One thing was for sure, I didnít want to be in this maze of badlands after dark.  No way!  I tried to visually memorize the way I had come but it was confusing.  I was not making good progress in the dry mud.  And then I realized I was out of time.  Damn!

This was my first failed attempt on any peak in 22 months.   frown.gif

March 8
Martinez Mountain
It seems like half the trip reports for Martinez mention running out of water.  For that reason I carried over four liters, but I could have brought 2 liters and a filter instead, because all the creeks were running for the first several miles, which is probably not typical.  I passed the Hazardous Conditions sign near the trailhead and wondered what it meant.  After some junctions the trail dropped into a gulch and actually went downhill for awhile.  In serious heat, this could be brutal for returning to the car.

entering the gulch
entering the gulch
sandy flats and pinyon
sandy flats and pinyon

The trail followed the gulch for awhile and then climbed out up onto some sandy flats.  Pinyon pines were dense and much of the trail followed a series of washes which were indistinguishable from the rest of the terrain.  In fact the trail was invisible a lot of the way and I proceeded on blind faith.  I came to the point where most parties leave the faint trail and made my way cross-country to the base of the northwest gully.  1200 feet of steep talus and boulders.  Joy.
the northwest gully above
the northwest gully above
yuck
yuck
summit rocks visible
summit rocks visible

At the top of the gully I followed cairns to the west face of the summit block.  My first thought when I saw it was ďoh crap, I didnít do enough research, you obviously need a rope for this oneĒ.  It was an imposing 40 foot tower of rock with sheer walls, but around the backside I found a solid class 3 way which made use of ledges and chimneys and whatnot.

ledge around the corner
ledge around the corner
climbed this chimney right below the summit
climbed this chimney right below the summit
Salton Sea north shore
Salton Sea north shore
San Jacinto and San Gorgonio
San Jacinto and San Gorgonio
nearby Toro
nearby Toro
Rabbit ::)
Rabbit smile.gif
Rabbit close-up
Rabbit close-up
summit block scramble route follows shady ledge right of center around the back side for a chimney finish
summit block scramble route follows shady ledge right of center around the back side for a chimney finish
gully route up to the scramble
gully route up to the scramble

Once again views of the Salton Sea were superb and Rabbit and Toro were very close by.  It was fun to think I had just been over there on Rabbit the day before yesterday.

looking back at the peak
looking back at the peak
Martinez
Martinez
the gulch
the gulch
hiking out of the gulch
hiking out of the gulch
really?
really?

March 9
Quail Mountain
It was finally time to go to the highest peak in Joshua Tree.  My mother chose my middle name from this park, so itís always a special place for me whether climbing or hiking.  For years Iíve played with the idea of driving the access road to the south side of this peak, which would be very easy to do, but ultimately I chose not to risk getting caught by the park service and so I hiked the long boring trail miles across the flats, parallel to the road.  Thereís another route for this peak which comes from the northeast and that is probably more interesting.


With this day, along came the beginning of a heat wave which would last over a week.  Typically April is a good month to be in the desert, but for the next week I experienced temperatures more characteristic of May, rising to the upper 80ís and mid 90ís every day.  It was a challenge I had not anticipated.


After crossing miles and miles of flat desert and taking a few stops to admire the rabbits and Joshua Trees I reached the base of the mountain.  I started up what I thought was my chosen gully on the map but after studying the map further I realized I had made an error which would increase the mileage slightly.  Fortunately all the terrain was simple and easy so I was able to correct without much trouble.

Quail summit
Quail summit
Ryan
Ryan
Little Berdoo
Little Berdoo

The summit had mediocre views, in fact everything about this peak was just mediocre, if not lame.  The highest is not always the best and Joshua Tree has a lot of excellent peaks which are much more interesting.  I cannot recommend this peak.  I signed the register right below Ragman.  During the long boring hike out, it was so hot that I took several breaks in the shade under bushes.

Ragman
Ragman

March 10
Monument Mountain
I started the day with a couple little peaks northeast of the Cottonwood Visitor Center.  The south ridge of Monument was a very pleasant hike with just enough rocks to keep it interesting, but not enough to impede movement.  The top was a class 2+ scramble.  Across the way to the south I could see my next objective, Cottonwood Mountain and to the southeast Eagle Mountain, and to the northeast the Coxcomb Mountains.

Monument alpenglow
Monument alpenglow
Cottonwood alpenglow
Cottonwood alpenglow
base of Cottonwood
base of Cottonwood
starting up Monument
starting up Monument
Eagle
Eagle
Cottonwood
Cottonwood
Monument south ridge
Monument south ridge
Eagle
Eagle
Cottonwood
Cottonwood
Pinto in the far distance
Pinto in the far distance
summit visible
summit visible
Monument summit
Monument summit
Pinto I think
Pinto I think
Cottonwood
Cottonwood
Toro
Toro
Pinto
Pinto
my buddy Keith plus Bloated Chipmunk, Snowdog, and Ragman and Rodman
my buddy Keith plus Bloated Chipmunk, Snowdog, and Ragman and Rodman

Cottonwood Mountains High Point
Itís amazing how few ascents this peak gets despite being so close to a National Park visitor center.  In the register I noted one 9 year stretch with zero ascents.  Overall the route on Monument was slightly more interesting, but Cottonwood has better views.  Again to the west was Eagle Mountain and now to the south I could see Orocopia Mountain.

Cottonwood
Cottonwood
ocotillo
ocotillo
looking back at Monument
looking back at Monument
The Coxcomb Range
The Coxcomb Range
Eagle
Eagle
Monument
Monument
summit rocks
summit rocks
view west
view west

Alligator
For years Iíve driven past this little peak which is shaped like an alligators back and today I had time to stop a get it.  It was well into the 90ís when I started.  There were a lot of flowers, and the rocks were volcanic basalt over a layer of granite.  I found the register can askew and the register itself was missing.

Alligator
Alligator
Chuckwalla Mountains to the south
Chuckwalla Mountains to the south
basalt
basalt
southwest ridge
southwest ridge
northeast ridge
northeast ridge

--------------
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!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1155 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostWed Apr 19, 2017 2:24 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
March 11
Palen Mountains High Point
For a few years Iíve been trying to figure out how to do Granite and Palen.  Theyíre deep in an area without any good access, unless you own a jeep or a truck.  Many desert peaks are as such and you must be prepared to do a lot of road walking if all you own is a car.  A buddy of mine tried to get to Granite once with 2WD and was stuck for nearly 48 hours until a friend from San Diego drove out to help extricate him.

Fortunately for me, Iíve got some pretty cool friends.  Before I left for this trip I sent out an email to my local peakbagging buddies and a number of people were happy to join me for the various weekends of the trip.  Some of them were even willing to bring their trucks along.   smile.gif

Greg K was my first hiking partner on this trip.  We met in Blythe Friday evening and I left my car there.  We drove the Arlington Mine Road which was in really great condition until the last 3 miles after which it was all small boulders and large round stones.  My car wouldnít have made it.  We camped at 1350 feet on the edge of the main wash south of the peak.  It was wonderful to have a good friend to talk to and hang out with.

To avoid the heat we started in the dark the next morning.  Greg spotted a very plump toad.  I wonder if it was pregnant and full of eggs.  We decided to ascend the southwest draw and descend the southeast gully.  In the predawn light I could tell that this range possesses grandeur uncommon among the other desert ranges.  There were steep walls and rugged slopes and craggy ridges all around us!  I told Greg this was the best peak of the trip so far and I was glad he was with me to experience it.

southwest draw
southwest draw
working up to the ridge
working up to the ridge

We climbed up to the ridge south of the summit and then the views really opened up.  We scrambled the crest to the first of two false summits and I took a lot of photos.  Sorry about that, lol.  The views from the summit were magnificent.  To the north I could see Granite Mountain, our peak for the following day.

Point 992m
Point 992m
along the ridge south of the peak
along the ridge south of the peak
stoked!
stoked!
2nd false summit and true summit
2nd false summit and true summit
Greg on the first false summit
Greg on the first false summit
tiny cactus with fruit
tiny cactus with fruit
Granite to the north
Granite to the north
Chuckwalla Mountain
Chuckwalla Mountain
Big Maria
Big Maria
Palen summit
Palen summit
Greg
Greg

We scrambled down the north side of the summit to reach the top of the southeast gully.  Thereís an awesome tower which rises above this gully like a sentinel.  In the gully we did our best to avoid catsclaw bushes while hopping down the pink boulders which this peak is famous for.  There were a few dryfalls to contend with.  Near the bottom I found a lizard that didnít seem to mind my presence, so long as I moved closer slowly.

down the north side
down the north side
looking back at Palen summit
looking back at Palen summit
what a peak!
what a peak!
sentinel tower guarding the southeast gully
sentinel tower guarding the southeast gully
famous pink boulders
famous pink boulders
Greg above a minor dryfall
Greg above a minor dryfall
Palen
Palen

March 12
Granite Mountain
If it wasnít so darn hot we might have been able to do another peak after Palen, but as it turned out it was fortunate we started the drive over to Granite early.  Most people access Granite from the west, but that makes for a much longer hike.  I was hoping we would be able to drive in on the Palen Pass road from the southeast.  On the topo map, an old jeep road goes to Packard Well, but we encountered a bad washout several miles before the well.  The side of the wash where the road used to go was now a 2 foot high rock step.


I asked Greg if he thought there was any chance in hell that we could get past it and he said probably not, but that we could try.  So we got our shovels out of the truck and started work.  I used the shovel to hammer away at the rock like a pick ax and we did some filling with large stones and moved a bunch of dirt around.  2 men, 2 shovels and an hour later and the road had been repaired, sort of.

Granite Mountains
Granite Mountains
Packard Well
Packard Well
no thanks
no thanks

We continued to Packard Well and established camp there.  There was water in the well but it looked nasty.   Our hike would now be 6 miles round-trip instead of the 12 or 14 miles coming from other approaches.  It was a good thing in this heat wave.  The evening light on the Granite Mountains was really picturesque and we both enjoyed our time in camp.


We started in the dark to avoid the heat.  This terrain was not as amazing or pleasant as Palen had been, but was still a lot of fun.  We made our way to the gully southeast of the summit and had to climb one major dryfall on the way up.  The Palen Mountains were highly visible to the south.

Palen to the south
Palen to the south
dryfall
dryfall
be careful Greg
be careful Greg
Palen Mountains
Palen Mountains
monolith boulder
monolith boulder

Near the top of the mountain we came to a balanced monolith boulder.  Pretty neat.  On the summit Greg showed me the bottom of his boots.  The rugged rock today and yesterday had chewed the hell out of his favorite pair of Asolo hiking boots.  I didnít know it at the time, but by the end of the trip, my boots would have even worse damage.  Fortunately I had brought a second pair along.

Iron Mountains
Iron Mountains
Turtle Mountains
Turtle Mountains
McCoy Mountains
McCoy Mountains
John Stolk and Grant Meyers!
John Stolk and Grant Meyers!
gear failure
gear failure
Granite summit
Granite summit
view south
view south
Palen
Palen

On the way down Greg spotted a bobcat carcass.  Most of it was missing except the bones and some fur.  Obviously some larger animal had eaten it.  The drive back to Blythe was bittersweet.  I was sad to see Greg go, but we had such an excellent weekend.

bobcat
bobcat
it was eaten
it was eaten

March 13
McCoy Mountain
This peak was on my list of worrisome access roads.  Hours of researching satellite imagery had placed a handful of my objective peaks in the uh-oh category.  From this research I knew that McCoy might not even be possible to get to in my car.  When Google Maps doesnít indicate the presence of a road, itís not a good sign.

McCoy Mountains
McCoy Mountains
driving closer
driving closer

From Exit 222 on Hwy 10, I was immediately driving on soft loose sand.  I needed to get to the nearby powerline road, but sand drifts made it tricky and confusing.  Eventually I figured out how to get there without stopping and getting stuck.  I drove east for several miles on the powerline road and then north on a BLM road.  There was one bad wash with large round stones that I was barely able to drive cross, and only after several tries.  I then turned east again and was able to drive fairly close to the mountain.

ledge
ledge
prow
prow
traverse to this saddle
traverse to this saddle

That night it did not cool down at all.  It reached a low of perhaps 87 degrees in the predawn morning.  I started up the wash in the dark and was sweating profusely almost immediately.  Then it dawned on me.  Why should I even wear any clothes?  Nobody climbs this peak.  I stopped and took all my clothes off except my hiking boots.  Much better.

shorter McCoy Peak to the south
shorter McCoy Peak to the south
here comes the sun
here comes the sun

I continued my ascent in the nude.  I climbed the ridge south of Point 796m and followed the main crest back west and then north toward the summit.  There was some class 3 which might have been avoidable, but the ridge just northeast of Point 851m narrows into a knife-edge.

looking back at a bump I traversed around
looking back at a bump I traversed around
view east
view east
summit visible
summit visible
north
north
knife-edge ahead
knife-edge ahead
south
south

When the sun rose, I put my shorts and T-shirt back on for protection.  In the summit register I counted less than 20 ascents since 1974.  Despite the terrible heat, there was time for another peak or two if I hurried.  I looked to the south and saw something across the highway.  In my peakbagger app I learned that it was the Mule Mountains.

summit view north
summit view north
Palen and Granite
Palen and Granite
Chuckwalla
Chuckwalla
Big Maria Mountains
Big Maria Mountains
West Maria Benchmark
West Maria Benchmark
Big Maria
Big Maria
Granite
Granite
Palen
Palen
heading back
heading back
the ridge I ascended in the dark from the wash
the ridge I ascended in the dark from the wash

Mule Mountain Benchmark
The drive to the south side of the Mule Mountains was also a little challenging but not as bad as McCoy.  Since it was too hot to hike now, even in the nude, I invented a new tactic.  I carried a lot of extra water and stopped every so often to fully soak my long-sleeved t-shirt.  This kept me just cool enough to avoid heat exhaustion while hiking uphill.

Mule
Mule
a lower peak southeast of the main peak
a lower peak southeast of the main peak
flowers on Mule
flowers on Mule

The Mule Mountains were covered in wildflowers and most of the cactus were blooming as well.  I was dazzled by the beauty.  I ascended a lower south ridge and then a rib running parallel to a gully.  My route choice may not have been the best because there was some class 3, minor exposure and a bit of loose rock.

the southeast gully which I used for the descent
the southeast gully which I used for the descent

The top of the peak was crowded with barrel cactus.  I took a few photos and then my memory card became corrupted.  My camera case and camera are both black and I think the heat and sun exposure screwed it up.  I could view my existing photos, but I couldnít delete anything or take any new photos without an error message.  I was hosed.  Damn!

summit
summit
Palen and Granite
Palen and Granite
McCoy
McCoy
Kofa range over in Arizona
Kofa range over in Arizona
Mojave Peak
Mojave Peak
Chuckwalla and Black Butte
Chuckwalla and Black Butte
Chuckwalla Mountain to the west
Chuckwalla Mountain to the west

An extra memory card is one thing I did not bring on the trip since my one card has such a large capacity.  There was still time for one more peak, but I drove fast into Blythe to purchase a new memory card.  There was only one at the store and it was way overpriced, but whatever.

Palo Verde Peak
On the summit of Mule I had looked to the south again and seen an attractive peak there.  On the peakbagger app I discovered it was called Palo Verde.  From Blythe I drove down to Palo Verde Peak.  It was still gnarly hot and I continued along with the wet shirt trick.  This peak and the whole area in general was a lot more rugged.

start here
start here
Palo Verde west face
Palo Verde west face
rugged country
rugged country

The rocks varied in color and it was fun, even hiking in the approach wash.  I climbed a steep loose west facing slope to reach the upper south ridge crest.  From a notch in the ridge I turned north.  I was really hurrying now because daylight hours were short.  The exposure was increasing and I crossed some narrow sections and then there was another gap.  I couldnít go down directly but instead traversed a ledge on the east face to a small cave and then went down some class 3.

looking north from the first gap
looking north from the first gap
looking back at the first gap
looking back at the first gap
heading down to a second gap
heading down to a second gap
looking back at the cave and diagonal ledge system
looking back at the cave and diagonal ledge system
looking back from steep loose ramp
looking back from steep loose ramp
looking back at final false summit from near the summit
looking back at final false summit from near the summit

Beyond the gap I ascended more class 3 to reach a steep loose ramp up to the final false summit.  Between there and the summit is a knife-edge section with extreme exposure.  I did it as quickly as safely possible and then I was at the summit which was marked by a small flag.  The register was just scraps of paper in a cracked Tupperware and no pencil or pen present.

summit flag
summit flag
view north
view north
view south
view south
Picacho Peak down by Yuma
Picacho Peak down by Yuma
3 peaks and satisfied
3 peaks and satisfied
going back to the knife-edge
going back to the knife-edge
summit seen from false summit
summit seen from false summit
back down the steep loose ramp
back down the steep loose ramp
last light on the peak
last light on the peak
hike out
hike out

I retraced my route and barely made it back to the car before dark, also narrowly missing a rattlesnake located surprisingly high on the peak.

Continue to Part 3

--------------
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!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Stefan
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4278 | TRs

Stefan
Member
PostWed Apr 19, 2017 2:53 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
you got yourself a peakbaggin time!

--------------
Art is an adventure.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1155 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostWed May 03, 2017 8:52 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yes sir, indeed.   tongue.gif

--------------
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!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
tekewin
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Jul 2014
Posts: 12 | TRs

tekewin
Member
PostSun Jul 09, 2017 5:52 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I read through this report once when you posted it, but came back to look at some of these peaks more closely. DPS summits are no joke.

Martinez looks really interesting.

Meca Hills is attractive, only because it is rarely climbed. A quick look at google earth didn't make any route look straightforward. I still haven't been out to ladder canyon.

Your trip to Monument Mountain is Joshua Tree brought back memories. I'll probably cross Quail off my to do list based on your report. Thanks for posting all this beta!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > 70 Peaks in 30 Days Ė Part 2 - March 2017
  Happy Birthday walkingstick, silly_traveler, Grannyhiker!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy