Valley of Fire 2972' Peak

Harlan W S
Dec 24, 2012

First, big thanks to Brian D and Ed F for beta on portions of this route, and to Larry D for connecting dots and providing gpx files.  The detours I made were my own decisions, and I am to blame for them!

Traditionally, I do a solo hike on Dec 24, to clear my mind and heal my soul.  I do love conversation and the company of other "hikers," but I am much more focused and methodical while I am alone.  There was some bad karma last time I was in the area, and I needed to exorcise the demons.

The gps track, I won't show the entire route,
 as I think one should contact Brian D for
instructions and appropriate cautions.
The letters A-F are referred to below.
I'm approaching the outer palisade of
peaklets from my car. The summit is to L,
out of this frame.
Climbing to a break in the cliffs...
...and looking back SE...
...and S...
Jabba the Hutt waits at the end of this
DSCN1423 DSCN1425 DSCN1427
Around the bend, one reaches
a flattish area with some neat views.
Soon one must climb up a gully,
site A on the map...
...that gets steeper and narrower.
DSCN1436 DSCN1437 DSCN1440
One has to go R of this obstacle.
DSCN1444_stitch DSCN1448
The normal route to the R side
of the obstacle seems to go through this
easy but very tight slot; I couldn't
fit through with my pack, so I opted
to climb a class 3+/4 wall.
When climbing the wall, you are
advised not to slip.
From the top of the obstacle, one trends
NNW. At this obvious place (B), you are
probably supposed to go straight and
find a class 3 way over the boulders.
Lots of very delicate erosion here.
I was a little too cocky, and opted to
take a shortcut up this steep slot/book.
All too soon I found a deep slot to my L (N).
I continued E till the slot became shallow
at C.
I crossed the slot, and took this view NW
at the bottom.  Note the pile of cheater
rocks at bottom R. The trick now was to
climb nearly vertical crumbly rock to the
top of the white rock (top R, just below
the overhang). Then you shimmy L through
a tight space and emerge on a ledge at L.
Then turn the cornet to R. This is a view
back SW over the slot-- it's essentially
invisible at this angle.
On top! Karma restored!
View NNE
Pano centered roughly NE
Close-up, view NE
Close-up, view E.
View SSW. The picnic tables are
for weddings, with the paticipants
flown in by helicopter.
I was too lazy to search for the self-timer
Virgin Peak in the distance, in partial clouds
and a snowstorm.
Now I'm descending to N. This is
a view E past the N face of the peak.
There are lots of pockets of greenery.
Instead of the route we took 9 days
earlier, I opted to try this slot (D; view
back up (S) after descent). It was
OK for me, but one either has to walk
a narrow sloping ledge, or stem across
a creepy very narrow slot. I wouldn't advise
this route for large or timid groups. It may
be possible to walk off the ridge at L.
At the end of D slot., I turned
sharply R, climbed a slope, then
walked on ledges on the R side of this
verdant valley.  The 2972' peaks
looms above E, the head of the valley.
Now I've passed by the east side of the
peak, and am looking up to N; I think
that is the summit.
View S from same point as last pic.
One walks down a good ramp, till the
grade at L gets dangerous, then cuts R
onto broken rock.
View back N. I just came down the
ramps at R; here I made another mistake;
I went to F, but should have turned
L (E) perhaps 200' sooner, as I
Bobcat track, no claws, classic overprinting
of two footprints.
Next I need to go up there...
...and back down to my car.
From my car, here is a view to the guarding
palisade of peaklets.
I brought lots of emergency stuff with me, as there was occasional rain, and snow falling to the W and E.  On the way out I speculated
that it must have been over 70F -- it was actually about 50F!