Forum Index > Trip Reports > A few days in Mojave National Preserve Dec. 5-7, 2020
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John Morrow
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Location: Roslyn
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PostThu Jan 14, 2021 4:37 pm 
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Mojave National Preserve, CA


Mojave is one of the most underrated National Park Service Units in the nation, in my humble opinion.



After mostly a rest day I arrived on the Aiken Mine Road NW of Baker, CA.  Any SUV can make it down this road with ease, from the North, for the first 8 miles (a spot roughly between Button Mtn and Club Peak).  Jeepers told me getting through to the Lava Beds is very rough.  My plan was for a sunset walk up Button Mtn and then a walk across Joshua tree flats to Club Peak the following day, as well as a search for a noted petroglyph area.



Button Mountain has old cinder mine roads up it a ways which made for easy dusk walking.

Afternoon in the land of Joshua Trees
Afternoon in the land of Joshua Trees
Most expansive Joshua Tree forest on Earth
Most expansive Joshua Tree forest on Earth
Sunset on Button Mtn (a cinder cone) and its shadow
Sunset on Button Mtn (a cinder cone) and its shadow
not oft visited
not oft visited
majesty
majesty
taken from Button Mountain
taken from Button Mountain
darkness sets
darkness sets
edge of day arrives
edge of day arrives

A pleasant walk through Joshua trees and an easy scramble brought me to the top of Club Peak.

first light on Club Peak
first light on Club Peak
through the trees
through the trees
carpet of JTree
carpet of JTree
crescent shaped gully looks passable
crescent shaped gully looks passable
a opportunistic find...walk to the isolated outcrop
a opportunistic find...walk to the isolated outcrop
on the return
on the return
distant Clark Mtn and Mescal Range
distant Clark Mtn and Mescal Range
cactus scene
cactus scene

After a rock art hunt I moved all the way down to the western edge of the park on the east side of Soda Lake following decent dirt roads south of Baker.


Made it for sunset in time to take photos of lovely evening light upon the dry lake.  So many different evaporated salt and cracked earth formations on the lake bed.

Little Cowhole Mtn over Soda Lake
Little Cowhole Mtn over Soda Lake
Soda Lake
Soda Lake
Soda holes
Soda holes
might be my favorite pic of 40 days of travel in the desert
might be my favorite pic of 40 days of travel in the desert
meringe
meringe
Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Wilderness
Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Wilderness
camp sunset
camp sunset

The next day it was a fine couple of scrambles up Little Cowhole and Cowhole Mountains.

Little Cowhole:

Lil Cowhole start
Lil Cowhole start
dryfall starts the scramble
dryfall starts the scramble
classic Class 2
classic Class 2
looking back
looking back
Soda Lake and Zzyzx
Soda Lake and Zzyzx
big dune descent (barefoot!)
big dune descent (barefoot!)
ripple
ripple
the big dune
the big dune

On Cowhole I took a central north rib up, which had some avoidable difficult sections.  I descended the northwest ridge which is more solid and interesting, though requires a bit of routefinding to detour off the ridge crest around a vertical pitch.

To Cowhole Mountain
To Cowhole Mountain
the North Ridge appears
the North Ridge appears
North Ridge splits the face
North Ridge splits the face
ocassionally loose
ocassionally loose
getting steep on the rib
getting steep on the rib
lake peek
lake peek
East Ridge notch
East Ridge notch
East Ridge finish
East Ridge finish
SE
SE
Kelso Dune
Kelso Dune
E
E
NW
NW
NW Ridge descent
NW Ridge descent
looking back at NW Ridge
looking back at NW Ridge
have to leave the ridge prper
have to leave the ridge prper
walking out
walking out

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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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Brian Curtis
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 1594 | TRs
Location: Silverdale, WA
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PostThu Jan 14, 2021 5:05 pm 
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Very nice. That is a beautiful area. We drove through the preserve on 28 November. It was killing me not to be able to go out on a proper hike, but we were just taking a detour on our way home. We cut up from I-40 to I-15 and then went south through the preserve back to I-40. We went though Cima then then cut up the Cedar Canyon Rd and down the Black Canyon Road and stopped at the Hole-in-the-Wall Information Center. It was interesting to see the massive Joshua Tree forest that burned this past September.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Gimpilator
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Location: Edmonds, WA
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PostThu Jan 14, 2021 6:55 pm 
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Good stuff John.   smile.gif   The Cowhole area is a hidden gem.

Cowhole and Little Cowhole behind, as seen from Southeast Cowhole, March 2017
Cowhole and Little Cowhole behind, as seen from Southeast Cowhole, March 2017

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
https://www.summitpost.org/users/gimpilator/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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Snuffy
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Joined: 28 Dec 2012
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Location: Everett, WA
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PostFri Jan 15, 2021 9:10 am 
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I agree, we explored the Kelso Dunes and Teutonia Peak area a few years back, I loved the expansive views. I would love to go back.

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You don't find yourself standing at the top of a mountain without having started out in the valley.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > A few days in Mojave National Preserve Dec. 5-7, 2020
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