More fine and aesthetic desert summits scrambles Dec. 1-3, 2020

John Morrow

Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
606
Nevada:
Valley of Fire State Park
Elbow Range, Desert National Wildlife Refuge
Lake Mead National Recreation Area North Shore

Getting Jerry and Drew to a location where they could begin the exodus north to Seattle was our priority leaving the Sonoran Desert. Neither had been to Valley of Fire State Park. We were a bit tired and the short approach walks, cush campground, and showers sounded pretty good. It was completely the wrong direction for me, since I'd find myself back all the way south along I-10 once again a few days later. But I loved our choices of scrambles.

Dec. 1: VOF

A theme had emerged of scrambling things that Courtney Purcell, Rambles and Scrambles, gave a "4 Star" rating. Not much left for me to do in VoF but the 5-Arch and Gibraltar Rock had eluded me up until then. Great choices we enjoyed thoroughly.


The Five Arch; on right
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Where's a route?
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Class 3 ramp start
by John Morrow, on Flickr


crux exposure
by John Morrow, on Flickr


careful descending
by John Morrow, on Flickr


back to the trailhead
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Gibraltar Rock next.


On Gibraltar Rock
by John Morrow, on Flickr


colors
by John Morrow, on Flickr


descending the awkward
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Dec 2: Leaving camp set up at VoF we headed to the Elbow Range, 35 miles west, to scramble its highpoint. The guidebook and interwebs seem to avoid a long interesting looking curving E/NE Ridge. We liked the looks of it and it turned out awesome. Long and with near continuous scrambling.


First look, in the back
by John Morrow, on Flickr


aesthetic scrambling
by John Morrow, on Flickr


knife-edge walk
by John Morrow, on Flickr


lots more
by John Morrow, on Flickr


great views
by John Morrow, on Flickr


on top!
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Elbow Range HP 4650;
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Dec 3. Lake Mead Northshore, solo again.

Time for Jerry and Drew to depart. I was comfy at the campground so I set out to the northshore for more fun scrambles. I chose a short loop of Polytick Peak and Murphy Peak.
The south face of Polytick looked interesting and I found a nice corner to scramble on the SE side. Then on to Murphy's. The north side of Murphy really sucked, ridiculously friable despite a solid appearance. My descent on the South slope was far superior and I can recommend it.


Polytick Peak next
by John Morrow, on Flickr


rare selfie to show route
by John Morrow, on Flickr


(upper) route visible on left skyline
by John Morrow, on Flickr


NW Face of Murphy, not recommended
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Muddies over Bowl of Fire
by John Morrow, on Flickr


better Murphy route (south ridge)
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Polytick-Murphy
by John Morrow, on Flickr
 

Titans

Member
.
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
1,102
Wow, love all these photos! Super cool views from up high in VoF and Elbow Range.
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
536
VoF is a great place... and there are apparently a number of fun off trail finds if you like cool rock colors.
 
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