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Ascent of Mount Palmer on 2013-10-19

Climber: BMS 914

Others in Party:Joel Brewster
Anji Cerney
Collin Kamholz
James Morehouse -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Thomas Sakowych
John I
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, October 19, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Mount Palmer
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:7958 ft / 2425 m

Ascent Trip Report

Collin and I left Las Vegas on Friday evening, drove through Beatty, NV and soon took a dirt road (Phinney Canyon Rd) heading west. The road was in decent condition and Collin's Subaru had no big problems with it, but we were meeting Jim some 20 miles in and it took over an hour to get to his parked Xterra in the dim night. We set up our tents in the chilly air about 60 yards past Jim's site, by the lights of the Subaru and our headlamps, and quickly went to bed.

Next day we spoke with Jim, and found out that his girlfriend Lorraine had come along but wasn't feeling well and would not be joining us for Mount Palmer, but might go on to Grapevine Peak the next day, which would be from the same trailhead. Not long after Joel arrived, bringing Anji and Thomas with him having left Las Vegas early in the morning. They had also had picked up John at the end of the paved road. He had made the drive down from the northern part of the state where he lives to join us.

The hike starts by heading up the Jeep road. We came to an old mine about a third of a mile above our campsite (well above where my map showed "Phinney Mine"). A rough patch in the road not long after that might have given the Subaru Forester some pause (I suspect Collin could have done it with a spotter), but Joel's Jeep Liberty or the Xterra certainly could have gotten past it. The road is decent thereafter and continues up to a saddle. All told this section was about 1 mile long and 800 vertical feet (one way) that could be shaved off for anyone looking for a shorter outing and with a moderately capable vehicle.

The hike from the saddle follows use and game trails that fade in and out, mostly sticking to ridge tops. The saddle is only about 400 vertical feet below the elevation of Mount Palmer, and the route rolls up and down to the mountain which seems to suddenly be right at your feet. The last part gets a little steep, going up a steep chute that involves some easy Class 3 scrambling. I elected to climb up the exposed rock to the left of this chute to avoid the rockfall hazard a group will encounter in the chute. My route choice added some challenging scrambling with a couple of overhung spots with air beneath, but the rock (limestone) is pretty good and I made it up ahead of the group without incident. Anji took a route between where I went up and the standard chute that was both easier and quicker, though still somewhat exposed.

Photos, food, and signing the register at the summit were all pretty much standard good times, made more interesting by an unusual large spider (Huntsman) I found right at the very top. It looked a bit like a giant recluse, and I was glad it wasn't aggressive as I am sure it was quite capable of a good bite.

The route back to the saddle varied a bit from our outbound one. There was talk of tagging Wahguyhe Peak on the way back, but no one seemed very enthusiastic about it as it became clear that adding it would involve a very steep section of considerable length up what looked like scree or small talus. Also, the hike back to the saddle ascended some steep sections we went down on the way, that proved to be calf burners. Efforts were made to find an easier path, but mostly failed in this. Overall, my impression was that the descent back to the saddle was a good bit more of a workout than the ascent had been, and looking at the stats shows this.

Once at the saddle, we took the easy road down to our campsite. Collin, Jim, Lorraine, and I would be staying for an ascent attempt of Grapevine Peak the next morning, while the others departed. Collin and I had been planning on driving in to Beatty to get dinner, as it is only about ten miles down the highway from Phinney Canyon Rd. But neither of us wanted to endure the two hours (out and back) of dirt road to go into town, which left us with no dinner. Lorraine came to the rescue with a couple of cans of chili, and Jim let us use his stove. It got cold fast and everyone headed into their sleeping bags for the night.

See my trip report on Grapevine Peak for the rest of the details of this trip.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4528 ft / 1379 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4528 ft / 1380 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.5 mi / 18.5 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:1 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Perfect weather, cool in AM
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2823 ft / 860 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1238 ft / 377 m; Extra: 1585 ft / 483m
    Loss on way in:1585 ft / 483 m
    Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:Northwest Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Side of Phinney Canyon Road  6720 ft / 2048 m
    Time:4 Hours 17 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2943 ft / 897 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1238 ft / 377 m; Extra: 1705 ft / 519m
    Gain on way out:1705 ft / 519 m
    Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route:Northwest Ridge
    End Trailhead:Side of Phinney Canyon Road  6720 ft / 2048 m
    Time:4 Hours 51 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by BMS 914
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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