Sunday, December 31, 2023

Ravens Balcony Loop CCW - 12/30/23

Southwest view from Ravens Balcony

Ralph descends the Rabbithole

North Bowl appears from the Wash Hike

Twenty-One under the Sun
We had a New Year's bash out at the North Bowl of Fire with twenty-one hikers. The route, Ravens Balcony Loop took us up through the south entrance and down through the rabbithole on the north end. It was all very exciting and fun. We managed to get five HCVs to take us from Northshore Road MM 16 over to the junction of Callville Wash Road and the North Bowl wash. This reduced the hike distance from ~8 miles to ~6.5 miles since the normal route started and ended at MM 18. Callville Wash Road is in fairly good condition right now and we had no trouble using our trucks and Subarus. Ready to go, we made good time hiking up the sandy wash as we pointed out the junction where we would come back into the wash on the way back.

The first Scramble (Piece of Cake)

Nearing the North Bowl south side Entrance

North Bowl south side Entrance

Entrance Slot
We climbed up the wash scramble like we were a bunch of pros. Then we started into the entrance slot and up by the great wall. The hike was slower than a normal hike of ten hikers but we all had a great time. When we reached the large dryfall, we continued climbing up to a go around. The go around put us up higher, then we continued down and up and down and up to the North Bowl plateau. Without skipping a beat, we climbed up onto the first steep ten foot scramble one by one. Next, we entered the nearby slot to complete the scramble up to the balcony. Here, we had our break and waited for the ravens to come and serenade us! They never came. We were probably too many people.

Climbing to the Large Dryfall

Up and above the Large Dryfall

Fun Stuff

Starting the scramble to Ravens Balcony
After the break, we returned to the North Bowl plateau and decided to take the back alleys to find the rabbithole. This route has more daylight and more opportunities to find interesting things. At last, we found the small scramble down to a trail running above the rabbithole canyon. We found Snow White and finished the drop to the rabbithole area. I don't know if anything has changed recently but I thought there was a small tunnel before the rabbithole. As it turned out, everyone went over the top to dive feet first into the rabbithole, itself. Someone has stacked a fairly solid stack of rocks below the hole and we didn't have any problems as each person helped the one behind them.

Scramble slot to Ravens Balcony

Northeast view from Ravens Balcony

Descent from Ravens Balcony Scramble

Eye of the Landmark
Finally, all 21 of us made it through and we started down the Scramble Canyon. By following footsteps in the sand, we went back and forth down the narrow canyon to find the best way to descend. At the bottom of the canyon was the tour de force! Figuring out how to scramble over a huge boulder pile up was, in the end, logical. (Or, you could use the small trail on the north side of the boulders.) We poured out into the large high-walled wash that is the secondary North Bowl of Fire Wash. This wash and the wash in which we entered the bowl, come together to empty out the North Bowl during rainy weather. We hiked at a good pace while we crossed the low lying curves to shorten our journey.

Wandering around North Bowl

Descent to Rabbithole

The Rabbithole viewed from Bottom

The Descent wash Scramble
As always, it seemed like a long exit from the redstone beauty. But, we only regathered one time and that was at the main washes' junction. We did good! It was an adventurous day. Every once in a while, it is nice to bring together so many of our club members for a single hike! They are friendly, happy, patient and skilled. Until next year ....

Happy New Year!

Stats: 6.6 miles; 700' gain; 4.80 hours.

P.S. We noted car tracks in the washes and over the dirt fairly close to the North Bowl base. It is illegal to drive motorized vehicles out of Callville Wash Road. Please don't destroy what cannot be mended.

Negotiating a huge boulder in the Wash

Exiting the scramble Wash

Returning to the cars in the North Bowl Washes

The maps below begin the hike from Northshore Road MM 18. On the hike described in this entry, we drove in from MM 16 on Callville Wash Road in HCVs to the North Bowl Wash junction.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Anniversary Narrows Peak O&B - 12/26/23

North & South Bowls of Fire from Anniversary Narrows Peak (Knife Edge to L)

Crack Climb

Pinnacle on South Bowl Upper Plateau

Overland approach to Wash
There were eleven club hikers on this hike that we began at Northshore Road MM 16. We hiked down to Callville Road and turned onto the Anniversary Mine Road. Very soon, we turned right into a wash that is sided by a red wall on only one side. There is a vague trail that runs along this wash and leads hikers out to a much larger wash that runs up between Murphy Peak and a black (& red) ridge. Our trajectory took us all the way to a side wash that drops into the larger wash and we found our way down. Everyone was excited about the hike and the overall pace was moderate. As everyone soon found out, the pace might have been moderate but the hike, itself, was rated as strenuous. After dropping into the large wash, we hiked up and made a decided turn to the right as the wash forks. Following on top of the uneven wash rocks, we were approaching the Crack Climb that can be seen up on the left side. It is black with red rock peeking out from underneath the black.

Drop into Wash

Wash with Crack Climb in Background

View up Crack Climb from Bottom

The group begins the Crack Climb
The crack can be climbed any way you choose. Most of the hikers took my lead and climbed the slabby sticky rock most of the way then sidled over to some looser stuff. We all went very slow and patience was gifted all around. Finally, we were all at the top of the crack and we hiked over to a nearby overlook drop to see how far up we were. We hiked into the redstone that is the upper plateau of the South Bowl of Fire. We passed up many more of those overlooks wanting to get on with the business at hand, climbing Anniversary Narrows Peak. Turning a corner around large outcrops, we found the Pinnacle. This formation is a good landmark to find the trail needed to continue our climb. A few photos later, we began climbing up away from the pinnacle.

Murphy Peak from the Crack

Trail to Pinnacle

Group at the Pinnacle

Trail to Landmark Cairn
The worn trail was vague but became more clear as we went. It circled around to the right on the redstone then crossed a small land bridge up to the left where it connects with an obvious trail leading up into a plated limestone gully. There is a large landmark cairn telling you that you are in the right place. We started up the gully and noticed a cave in the berm on the right side. Follow this berm for the best route. Unfortunately, I forgot to do that and took the left fork when it came. Oh, it's doable! Just more difficult! Anyway, slowly we were all up above the gullies and put the round peak in our focus. A few minutes later, we were on top enjoying the incredible view of South Bowl and the other side of Lovell Ridge. We sat for a break but not too many of the hikers dared to hike out to the sign in box! It is straight down a long way on both sides there!

Almost to Landmark Cairn

Wash climb to final Ascent

First view of other side of Lovell Ridge

South Bowl of Fire from Peak
After the break, we started down but stayed further to the left than our ascent track. This took us to the preferred gully to descend. There is a nice 2' cairn that marks the top of this gully. We found it and began a slow downclimb on slippery stuff. It was still easier this way than if we had gone down the way we came up! We passed the landmark cairn and dropped down to our left in a funnel shaped steep down slope. Our hike was announced as an out and back through the South Bowl. So, when we reached the bottom of the "funnel" at the edge of the South Bowl of Fire, we decided to make the return as straight a route as we could heading back to the top of that large wash we came in on. There is a trail but, we kept losing it!

The group on the Peak

Starting descent of Right Fork

Reaching the landmark cairn on the Descent

Descent into South Bowl
It mattered not since we could see where we wanted to go ... to the right of Murphy Peak and to the left of the South Bowl escarpment. There was a bit of moderate scrambling in the wash as we hiked at a good pace down to find our cairn we had set up at the spur-drop-in wash. Climbing up to the "desert pavement" level, we made a beeline back to where we could see a car parked at our trailhead. It was a long day but it was filled with a bunch of happy hikers! For what more could you ask? Great and beautiful day!

Stats: 6.25 miles; 1550' gain; 5 hours

Finished with the Hard Stuff!

Crossing over to the wash Return

Climbing out of the wash to overland hike Return